This week's SMS was chosen by Ellen of Blue Tree Green Heart: chocolate orange macaroons. After having spent two glorious weeks house sitting for my in-laws, I returned home on Friday and these macaroons had the honor of being the first thing I baked in my own kitchen. As I mentioned the other day, my in-laws have a wonderful kitchen with lots of counter space so it wasn't tough being there, but there's just something so comforting and familiar about being back in the place I know so well.
These macaroons were a terrific recipe to ease me back into the swing of things at home. With an ingredient list containing only 5 items and instructions that didn't call for any equipment besides a bowl and my hands, it was almost perfect. The one exception was the dreaded "finely chop the chocolate" instruction, the one thing I detest more than just about anything else when it comes to baking. Once I got past that hurdle, though, it was smooth sailing.
I wonder though if I was the only one who was concerned just a bit about mixing the entire recipe by hand. The final step calls for adding egg whites to the finely chopped chocolate, sugar, orange zest and coconut and using your hands to distribute them evenly. I had visions of unevenly mixed dough that wouldn't hold together because of my inability to coat everything with the egg whites. My fears seemed unfounded at first as I found it surprisingly easy to distribute the egg whites. As I began to scoop the dough, however, I noticed the cookies weren't staying together as well as I'd have liked. I reshaped several of them, trying to pack the dough as best I could with my VERY sticky hands. A few of my cookies fell apart in the oven so I guess I didn't pack them well enough! Most of them did stay together though so I can't complain too much.
I made half of this recipe (weighing the egg whites and using 45 g as the total weight) and wound up with 12 macaroons. I used the zest of an entire orange instead of halving it so my macaroons would have lots of orange flavor. As for the chocolate, I used a 60% bittersweet - it was the closest I had on hand to the 58% semisweet called for in the recipe. Though I do like coconut, I have to confess that I'm not much of a macaroon person. I'll be sharing these with my mom on Monday, but in the interest of having something to say about the macaroons in this post, I took a few bites of one of them. They were chewy and quite sweet, though the sweetness was tempered a bit by the bittersweet chocolate. The orange flavor was really prominent in mine, but since I used double the amount of orange zest, that wasn't terribly shocking nor was it a bad thing. Citrus zest is yummy! I'll reserve judgment as to whether the recipe is worthy of a repeat until I get some feedback from my mom, hopefully she'll enjoy them!
Many thanks to Ellen for hosting this week! She will have the recipe on her blog, or you can find it on page 74 of The Sweet Melissa Baking Book.