I've long since had a fond affection for Almond Joy candy bars. I rank the almond-coconut-chocolate combination right up there with peanut butter and jelly. I generally don't let myself buy candy bars anymore because I will eat them all embarrassingly quickly. So, instead of the store-bought, who-knows-what-they're-filled-with candy bars, I decided to incorporate these lovely flavors into sweet, airy French macaron cookies that I could share . . . not hoard all for myself.
After (finally) successfully making macarons with my friend, Becky, a year ago, I finally felt confident enough in my abilities to make them for a baby shower I attended last week . . . and they were a big hit! They're not the easiest or quickest little cookies to make, but very VERY worth it.
Chocolate Coconut French Macarons
Makes about 2 dozen sandwich cookies
4 egg whites, aged overnight
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup fine granulated sugar (caster sugar)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup almond meal
1/4 cup unsweetened flake coconut
one recipe coconut filling (recipe follows)
1 cup dark chocolate pieces/chips
1 tablespoon cannola oil
1 tablespoon corn syrup (optional)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats (preferable) or parchment paper laid over guides for sizing the cookies (or, if you're very confident, you can eye ball it, as I did this time around).
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat aged egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peals form. Turn the mixture to low and slowly incorporate the sugar.
In a separate bowl, stir together ground almonds and powdered sugar. Turn off the mixer with the egg whites and slowly fold them into the almond mixture.
Place the mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip. Following the guide, pipe circles onto the silicone mat or parchment paper laid over the guide. Sprinkle the top of the cookies with a bit of the flaked coconut. Let rest about 30 minutes, until the top of the macaron is dry. Remove guide before placing pans in the oven.
Bake macarons for about 15 minutes, until the macarons are set and have some nice feet on them. Cool before CAREFULLY removing from the baking sheet.
Make the coconut filling:
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup prepared and cooled coconut pudding
1/2 cup unsweetened flake coconut
Cream together butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Add pudding and coconut and mix just until combined.
Make the chocolate filling: In a double boiler, melt chocolate, stirring often. Remove from the hear. Stir in oil and corn syrup (corn syrup just makes it shiny. Feel free to omit it).
To assemble the cookie, spread a bit of the filling on one cookie. Place another cookie over the top. Dip half of the cookie in the melted chocolate. Place on a sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the refrigerator to cool and set.