I’d never made macaroons before, but when I saw this recipe with a little orange peel added, it made me curious. Curious enough to make 45 of them. (It says right on the recipe how much it makes, but it never registered until I had two sheet pans full of them.)
I found the recipe in this month’s Bon Appétit, and the author’s comments about the recipe caught my attention:
“We southerners love ambrosia, a mélange of sliced juicy-sweet oranges and grated coconut. The sweet salad has been a part of southern Christmas traditions for the better part of two centuries, and I thought it would be fun to use the coconut-orange combo in a new way.”
I grew up in Idaho, but I was raised by a southern woman. (No, not much of an accent left. It only comes out when she’s mad or when she’s talking to my grandma.) Between her and my grandparents, I had a lot of exposure to Southern traditions, food, and lingo. I’d like to think of myself as at least half-southern. Or at least adopted. Anyway, I think I missed out on ambrosia somehow. The closest thing I had was an orange-marshmallow-cottage cheese salad my grandma makes that we so affectionately named “Orange Death”. (We love the salad, though, so the connotation doesn’t really make sense.) However, she did use a lot of coconut in other desserts.
Because I made so many of these little morsels, and they’re kind of rich, I gave most of them away. They got a lot of great reviews, so it wasn’t just Mr. Perry and I who liked them. I gave away too many, though. I wish I had a few more to nosh on.
From Bon Appétit Dec 2008
1/2 c unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 c sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp finely grated orange peel
3 large eggs
24 oz sweetened flaked coconut (about 6 cups firmly packed)
6 oz chocolate, melted
Preheat oven to 325 and line 2 or 3 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat butter in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add sugar and salt, and beat until well blended. Add orange peel, then eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Blend in coconut.
Drop onto prepared sheets by tablespoonfuls, spacing 1 1/2-inches apart. Bake, one sheet at a time, until golden on the bottom and browned in spots, 25-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely on sheets. Drizzle chocolate over macaroons with a fork. Chill on sheets until chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes.
1. I don’t usually use parchment paper because I think it’s fussy (and expensive), but in this case, I wish I’d have used it. I sprayed my pans with nonstick spray, but they were still pretty hard to get off.