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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Key Lime Pie Macaroons

I absolutely fell in love with Smitten Kitchen's raspberry coconut macaroon recipe about a month ago. I made them for my sister's bridal shower and have been dreaming up variations on the recipe ever since. My dad, a true macaroon lover, declared that these luscious treats were as close to macaroon perfection as we'll get this side of heaven. High praise, indeed.

SK's recipe has you process the sweetened flaked coconut in the food processor several times before shaping the cookie into a ball and baking it. The processed coconut provides a light and fluffy texture that even non-coconut lovers will find hard to resist. If you don't have a food processor, you could probably use a blender instead. However, I suggest you go out and buy one now because they are so versatile and fun to use! Even Nick has fun using ours.

Key Lime Pie Macaroons came to mind since lime and coconut pair so well together. I created the crust by dipping the macaroons in white chocolate and then in crushed graham crackers before the chocolate had set. My macaroons had a more delicate lime flavor, but you could use more zest and juice if you want to kick them up a notch. Make these for dessert after a dinner of Kathy's Waikiki Meatballs, and you'll find yourself with a case of island fever!

First step is to process the sweetened flaked coconut for about a minute.

Add the sugar and process again.

Then, add in the lime juice, salt, almond extract and egg whites. Process yet again!

Add in the lime zest and pulse a few times to incorporate.

I highly recommend you get a mini ice cream scoop or melon baller to make the macaroons. It makes the macaroons more uniform in size, and you won't get your fingers all sticky. Use parchment paper or Silpat-lined baking sheets.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Let them cool slightly and then you can dip them in the white chocolate and graham cracker crumbs. I just bought some white chocolate chips and microwaved them for about 45 seconds. After stirring the heated chips, I microwaved them for another 15 seconds or so until completely melted. Dip immediately in finely crushed graham cracker crumbs, and then let them set on wax paper.

These cookies will remind you of those coconut lime patties sold at the airport gift stores in Florida - yum!

Key Lime Pie Macaroons
Makes 40-50 small cookies

  • 1 14-ounce bag sweetened flaked coconut
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • Juice of half a large lime (add more juice if you feel the mixture could handle more liquid)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips, melted (I melted my chips in the microwave. Microwave the chips for about 45 seconds, stir and reheat for 15 seconds, stir again. Keep up with the process until the chips are entirely melted. Be careful not to burn the chips.)
  • 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.

In a food processor, blend the coconut for a minute. Add sugar, blend another minute. Add egg whites, lime juice, salt, almond extract and blend for another minute. Add lime zest and pulse machine a few times to incorporate.

With a tablespoon measure or small cookie scoop, scoop batter into 1-inch mounds. You can arrange the cookies fairly close together as they don’t spread, just puff a bit.

Bake cookies for 25 to 30 minutes, until they look a little toasted on top. Let them rest on the tray for 10 minutes after baking and then place them on a cooling rack for another 10-15 minutes. Once cool and firm, dip them in the melted white chocolate followed by the graham cracker crumbs.

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