15 December 2011

Marzipan and coconut macaroons - 'Kokosmakronen'

I have eaten these macaroons every year around Christmas time for more than three decades. This is my mother’s favourite recipe and, although I am particularly partial to biscuits made with buttery pastry, I have to admit that these are pretty special. The recipe does not contain flour or butter so their consistency is different from a lot of the other biscuits I have baked. The main ingredients are marzipan and coconut and the macaroons are dried in the oven rather than baked. As a result, they are juicy and chewy - decorated with good dark chocolate they taste amazing. 

They are relatively quick to make and they keep fresh in a tin for several weeks. This year I made the macaroons for the first time with marzipan I bought in the UK and not with original raw marzipan paste (Marzipanrohmasse) imported from Germany. Raw marzipan paste is excellent for using in cake batters and cookies, as it contains less sugar and is softer. If marzipan paste is used for cake decoration it needs to be mixed first with additional icing sugar to make it rollable. Luckily, the result I got with the British ‘ready-to roll’ marzipan is absolutely fine. I cut down the amount of sugar used in the original recipe and I cannot tell a difference in terms of consistency or flavour. The recipe makes about 70 macaroons, depending on their size.

5 egg whites
200 g unsweetened desiccated coconut
200 g icing sugar
400 g marzipan
1 tablespoon rum

Some granulated sugar for sprinkling and dark chocolate to decorate

Spread the desiccated coconut on a baking sheet and dry in the oven at a very low heat (100 degrees) for about 20 minutes. Leave the oven door open a gap and make sure the coconut does not change its colour. Remove from the oven and cool.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Add 100 g grams of the icing sugar and continue mixing (an electric whisk works best). Then add the marzipan torn into small pieces and keep whisking. Add the rest of the sugar, the rum and the coconut. Whisk until everything is well combined. I usually leave the batter to sit for about 20 minutes or so. If the batter is too runny after this resting period I add a bit more coconut.

Cover a few baking sheets with baking paper. Place walnut-sized lumps of batter on the baking sheet. I use a piping bag as this is the fastest way of doing it. But you can also use a wet spoon to do this and then shape the lumps with wet fingers. Sprinkle the macaroons with a small amount of granulated sugar and bake in the oven at 150 degrees for about 15 minutes. The macaroons' ‘feet’ and their tips should turn a light golden colour. Leave to cool and decorate with melted chocolate. 

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