These treats are phenomenal, versatile and bordering on healthy. An impressive gourmet dessert and brilliant trail snack. Leave out the chocolate for lower calories (and less flair).

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Inspired by The New York Times recipe for Lemon-Almond Macaroons (Almendrados). Below is a teaser forPlum Thumbprint Macaroonsto be debuted in my eventual cookbook! (Fingers crossed and dreaming high.)

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Chocolate-Lemon Macaroons

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2 dozen (24) macaroons

Ingredients

  • Almond flour - 3 cups almond flour
  • Coconut - 1 cup shredded coconut
  • Eggs - 2 eggs, beaten
  • Cane sugar - 3/4 cup
  • Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
  • Lemons - Lemon zest from 2 lemons
  • Extra virgin olive oil - 1 tablespoon
  • Candied lemon peels or Chocolate chips (optional) - one dozen candied lemon peels, or chocolate chips
  • Bittersweet chocolate chips (optional) - 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Put all the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly into a sticky, brown and grainy-looking dough. (If you have a food processor, add all of the ingredients to the food processor and pulse until you have an even dough).
  3. Grease two baking sheets with butter, or line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Pinch off about 2 tablespoons of dough, and roll into a ball. Gently press the balls down on the baking sheet to flatten slightly. Repeat with the remaining dough, arranging the macaroons 1 inch apart (they won't melt and touch, don't worry!).
  5. Press one or two pieces of candied lemon peel into the center (or whole almonds if you have any left). Or, substitute with one chocolate chip in the center.
  6. Bake the macaroons for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until they have no hint of color but still remain soft to the touch. They will harden as they cool.
  7. If you are using chocolate, melt the chocolate in a small saucepan. It is best to use a double boiler if you have one, or just place a small sauce pan inside a larger saucepan that has 1 inch of water. Heat the water and stir the chocolate as it melts over the heated water. (Quick tips and pictures about this technique).
  8. When the macaroons are cool, dip each one into the chocolate, halfway or whole! Lay on a sheet of parchment paper, a plate, or foil and cool in the refrigerator for a couple hours.
  9. Store your macaroons in an airtight container - they won't last long!
  10. Note: You can use other adornments, like cashews or walnuts. You can also roll the macaroons in more coconut shreds.
  11. Note: You can store half or all of your dough in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours, and in the freezer for a couple months. Just thaw on the counter top and bake as instructed above.
  12. Note: You can also crush rose petals or lavender into the olive oil for a richer infusion.
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