christmas goodies

and so it has begun, the mad dash to cram every single waking moment (when i'm not working) with all things Christmas. i normally don't start my candied apples until a few days later in the month, but i had a package to send out to my buddy charles (he who sends me the odd gifts), so this weekend i started out small and made just 4. two went to charles, one to MA and Ken, and i've one left in the fridge to whomever wants it (speak now or forever hold your peace). i've got a list from the boy of all his Chosen Ones, so i'll be making about 10 to 15 more in the next couple of weeks.

also in charles' package was a big tin full of coconut macaroons (not to be confused with macarons; i'll one day attempt), which i dipped in chocolate and topped with macadamia nuts. the thing about macadamia nuts is that nobody turns them down. they are so decadent and buttery (and kind of pricey), so they're perfect for this time of year when you're willing to be decadent and buttery yourself. i split up the rest of the cookies which didn't make it into charles' box and sent half with the boy to his workplace and half with me to mine. the boy said he set them out and came back a few minutes later to find them all gone and people scrounging for the macadamia bits out of the bottom of the container. and this is the reason i bake. i don't bake for me; i bake for other people. i don't have a huge sweet tooth, so when i do want something sweet i make a ton, eat one, and give the rest away. the visual i have of a bunch of guys fighting for the last crumbs of macadamia delights me to no end.

the recipe comes from Day 1 of the Twelve Days of Cookies newsletter from the Food Network. i signed up for it a few years ago and they automatically renew it every year. not all of the cookie recipes they send out appeal to me; i'd say maybe one or two every year if i'm lucky. i nicknamed these Evil Good because they really are that. just you see for yourself.

it totally pays to have a scale for this recipe, so break yours out when you start measuring out ingredients. don't eyeball anything.

alton brown's paradise macarooons (aka Evil Good)

2 (7 to 8 ounce) packages sweetened shredded coconut (or one big package)
2 ounces sweetened condensed milk
Pinch kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg whites at room temperature
5 ounces granulated sugar
12 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate chips
a couple of squirts of canola/vegetable oil
finely chopped dry-roasted macadamia nuts

preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine the coconut with the sweetened condensed milk, salt and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to whip the whites until medium peaks form, 6 to 7 minutes.

Gently fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture. Scoop tablespoon-sized mounds onto a parchment-lined half sheet pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. with a spatula, immediately transfer the macaroons to a cooling rack. if you don't get them off the sheet as soon as possible, they will harden and never ever come off. cool completely before topping.

melt the chocolate with a couple of squirts of the oil by however method works best for you (either microwave or melted in a Pyrex-type bowl over simmering water). Dip the cooled cookies in the chocolate mixture, sprinkle with the chopped macadamia nuts and return to the cooling racks to set. devour, or ship to whomever you want. macaroons ship particularly well if you package them correctly.


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