A phone call this morning with invitation to a Seder celebration makes me think to look up this recipe from long ago, from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts, which I modified a bit many Passovers ago. Some of my favorite childhood memories at the beach include the best ever chocolate macaroon cookies from Seaside Bakery. I was so sad they quit using the same fabulous recipe when the bakery was sold years ago. The magic of those macaroons was that they were made without either flour or sugar, were instead sweetened and moistened by chopped dates… as are these macaroons too.
- 5 oz Trader Joe’s 72% dark chocolate plus 1T butter. (She calls for 4 oz Baker’s German’s Sweet chocolate plus1 oz unsweetened chocolate)
- 3 egg whites, from grade large or extra large, at room temperature
- pinch of salt
- 10-12 dates, chopped very fine (use food processor to turn to paste, a generous 1/4 cup of date paste (she calls for 1/2 c granulated sugar)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract- or 2 if needed to adjust moisture. Or plus
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 7 oz (or about 2 to 2 and 1/4 cups, loosely packed) shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350F with two racks adjusted to divide oven into thirds for even baking. Break up chocolate and melt it with 1T butter in top of double boiler over moderate heat, covering until partially melted. Then uncover and stir until completely melted and smooth– but do not overcook. Remove the top of the double boiler and set aside uncovered to cool to room temp.
In a small bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until they hold a firm peak when the beaters are raised. Add the vanilla and finely chopped dates, beat until the meringue is stiff but only just so. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and efficiently beat in the cooled chocolate, softly only until mixed. Then using only the spatula, gently mix or fold in the coconut. Batter will be rather crumbly, a little dry as you are mixing all together well. But it shouldn’t be too dry, so add the coconut judiciously.
Using a moderately rounded teaspoonful of the mixture for each cookie, form 12-16 small ball cookies on each parchment covered cookie sheet. This is when you could top each with a single almond sliver if you’re so inclined. Bake for about 10-12 min, reversing the sheets top to bottom and front to back once mid-way to ensure even baking. When the macaroons are done they should look just-edge-of-dry on the outsides, but remain soft in the centers! With a wide spatula transfer the macaroons to raised racks to cool so the bottoms will cool to be firm and dry, but the cookies will be still moist inside.