Sunday, December 15, 2013

Salted Caramel Coconut Macaroons

Salted Caramel Coconut Macaroons 1

When my brother and I were kids, a popular summer outing for our family was a day trip to Hamilton for a picnic at the lake.  Although the drive between Auckland and Hamilton these days is pretty much motorway all the way, and probably takes about 45 minutes, back in the day it was mostly a single lane (in each direction) highway and the journey took the best part of an hour and a half.

Now any of you who are parents will know that 90 minutes in a hot car (there was no air-con in cars back then) with a couple of kids in the back (who are either intent on murdering each other before reaching the destination, or driving you insane with the incessant "are we nearly there yet?" whine), is no fun ... no fun at all.

As luck would have it though, round about the half-way point in the journey (that stage where tempers are running so high, I suspect that if my brother and I hadn't killed each other first, one of our parents might have been tempted to finish the job), Shands Bakery would appear on the horizon.  Without hesitation, Dad would swerve off the highway into the bakery car park, whereupon we would all pile out of the car and collect fresh bread for the picnic and a large bag of coconut macaroons.

Now we would never normally be allowed to indulge in such a treat so close to lunchtime, but parents are wise creatures ... those coconut macaroons were so moist and chewy, and so big (each one about the size of a small child's fist) that one of those babies could be guaranteed to keep an annoying child quiet for the remaining 45 minutes of the journey!!  Of course, there were always a couple kept in reserve for the return journey.

In adult years, I often think of those macaroons (not to be confused with macarons) - little mounds of egg white, coconut and sugar, baked until golden on the outside but still moist and chewy on the inside - and thought I'd like to make them.  So when our theme this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs turned out to be "Fill The Tins" (baked treats to fill the tins for the holiday season or to give as gifts), I was reminded of those macaroons and felt sure that Donna Hay would be able to help me out.  In Fast, Fresh, Simple I came across Donna's recipe for Coconut Macroon Ice Cream Sandwiches.  The macaroons sounded like they would fit the bill, but filled with ice cream probably wasn't going to work in the biscuit tin!  That was when I got to thinking that a salted caramel filling would be perfect with the chewy coconut biscuits, and would make a delightfully indulgent treat.

I hope you enjoy these as a treat to spoil yourself with a decent cup of coffee, or as gift to spoil someone else.

Salted Caramel Coconut Macaroons 4

Salted Caramel Coconut Macaroons Recipe
Adapted from a recipe by Donna Hay
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

For coconut macaroons:
2 egg whites
2 cups dessicated coconut
1/2 cup sugar

For salted caramel filling:
1/2 cup sugar
70g (2-1/2 oz) butter
1/4 cup cream
generous pinch flaky sea salt

Begin by making the macaroons.  Preheat oven to 160 degrees C (320 degrees F).

In a medium sized bowl, very lightly whisk egg whites just until slightly "loosened".  Stir in coconut and sugar, and mix well until everything is thoroughly combined.

Scoop up heaped tablespoons of the mixture, and using your hands press the mixture together into a small disc.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, and once all the mixture has been used, place baking sheet in the preheated oven.

Bake until golden, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before filling.

Now to make the filling.  Place sugar in a medium-sized heavy bottomed saucepan, set over medium heat, and without stirring allow the sugar to dissolve and take on a caramel colour.  Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cream - it will bubble up vigorously, so be careful.  Return pan to the heat and keep stirring for about a minute, until completely smooth.  Add the butter and salt, turn off heat, and keep stirring for another minute again until completely smooth and butter is fully integrated.  Pour into a small bowl or jug and refrigerate until cold and spreadable.

To assemble, spread a spoonful of caramel on the underside of one macaroon, and press another macaroon on top.

If you would like to get to know Donna Hay a little better, and to see all the wonderful treats my friends have been filling the tins with, then do go visit I Heart Cooking Clubs and check out the links.

IHCC Donna Hay Badge resized

I will also be submitting this post to Sweet New Zealand.  Inspired by Alessandra Zecchini, Sweet New Zealand is an event for all Kiwi bloggers (whether living at home or abroad), or all foreign bloggers living in New Zealand, to link up their sweet treats.  This month, Sweet New Zealand is hosted by Alice at Alice in Bakingland.

Sweet New Zealand Badge A

I'll also be sharing this post this week at See Ya In the Gumbo hosted by the lovely Michelle at Ms. enPlace, Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth at Beth Fish Reads, at Cook Your Books hosted by Joyce at Kitchen Flavours, and at Foodie Fridays hosted by Designs by Gollam.

See Ya in The Gumbo Badge     Weekend Cooking Badge     Cook Your Books Badge     Foodie Friday Badge





36 comments:

  1. I love old-school macaroons - we used to make them with eggwhites and condensed milk. The salt caramel filling is such a good idea!

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    1. Oh my gosh, Alicia, macaroons made with egg whites and condensed milk - I want some of those!!

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  2. I loved that story -- and yes, I remember those hot summer car trips stuck in the backseat with my brothers. I love macaroons but haven't made them in years. Filled with salted caramel? yes please!

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    1. Miraculously, Beth, my brother is still alive :-)

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  3. I would love these! I especially like the macaroon recipe, no milk, thanks!

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    1. Thanks, Melynda - yes, this is a great recipe for those who need to be dairy intolerant (if you forgo the caramel) and gluten free.

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  4. Thanks for enlightening me, did not know there was a difference between macaroons and macarons. These do sound simpler to make than the macarons. The salted caramel sounds yum.

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    1. Sunita, these are way easier to make than macarons, which I don't think I will ever be brave enough to attempt.

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  5. Oh! What a beautiful twist on macaroons! Love the food memory connected with these sweet little treats! I am amzed at how simple these macaroons are to make! They look so elegant !

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    1. Thanks, Susan - I seem to recall you made these a little while ago sandwiched together with chocolate ganache didn't you? That would be another fantastic way to have them. Actually, I almost made a white chocolate ganache flavoured with mango powder to fill them with - think that might have to be the next batch.

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  6. I love coconut macaroons but have never made them since I'm surrounded by coconut "haters", but I suspect that that luscious salted caramel filling would make converts of them! Beautiful!

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    1. Really, coconut haters?! Can't imagine - I would say, all the more for you :-)

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  7. Oh, those cookies look lovely! All of that caramel just oozing out the sides... mmm!

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    1. Thanks, Cecelia - I have a particular weakness for gooey caramel :-)

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  8. That looks as though it would be excellent with a cup or two of tea ;)

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  9. Sue - I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story about you and your brother in the back seat of the car and I can totally relate. We didn't have air-con in our car either and I was always allowed to fill a brown paper bag with penny candy from the store before a long car trip. It was one of the only times I was allowed to have a "free for all" with candy and I would happily sit in the back seat and go to town. Good memories for sure!

    I think you idea for a salted caramel filling was genius! When I think of coconut I immediately think of caramel. They are a match made in heaven.

    P.S. Still putting my feet up on the wall at least once a day and I love it! I should mention that no one has died and the house has not burned down yet!

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    1. A whole bag full of penny candy on a car trip--you were lucky!

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    2. Wow, Kim, a whole bag on candy - that would have really kept us quiet on a road trip!!

      Caramel and coconut are really great together - don't know why I've never done it before, but it's got me thinking now about experimenting with a coconut ice cream with a salted caramel ripple.

      So glad you're enjoying putting your legs up the wall each day - it is totally one of the greatest things you can do for yourself.

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  10. Salted-Caramel in just about anything makes me happy but sandwiched between two chewy macaroons is pretty near perfect. These look fabulous. Loved your story--very wise parents indeed! ;-)

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    1. You're so right, Deb - salted caramel in just about anything makes the world a brighter place :-)

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  11. Hi Sue,
    Charming story about your childhood. I know how it is like with two kids in the back seat, making the parents go crazy in the front! I always "warned" my kids before we even get into the car, but of course, they only listen for a minute, and forget as soon as they get into the car!
    I love coconut macaroons, one of my favourite cookies! Salted caramel sounds really delicious! Wish I could grab some right now!
    And thanks so much for linking with CYB!

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    1. Joyce, I don't know how parents survive travelling with kids, no matter what the mode of transport - anyone who can pull it off deserves a medal in my book.

      Wish you were here to share some of these macaroons and a cup of coffee with me :-)

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  12. Sue, your childhood-memory stories are fabulous, so real. No air-con and no seatbelts in those days. It's amazing we all survived.
    Your caramel-filled macaroons look amazing.

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    1. Gosh, Clare, I had completely forgotten about the no seat belts - neither front nor back. As you say, it's amazing we survived, though I guess cars travelled at a slightly more sedate pace back then too. Cars were definitely not as powerful as they are today.

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  13. Fun to read about your memories (this time of year that seems to happen often and I always love hearing people talk about their memories, it makes them who they are)...I have never made a cookie like this and I think it is time I tried as your photo looks fabulous. Bookmarking this one, thanks.

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    1. Thanks, Kayte - it's definitely the time of year for reminiscing isn't it. I guess also for me because it's summer, and so many of my happy memories are associated with the summers of my childhood.

      Kayte, these are really easy cookies to make, and I'm sure you would love them. They are actually even great on their own without any filling at all, or simply dip the bottoms in melted chocolate - that's delicious toon.

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  14. Coconut and caramel...I can't think of a better combo of flavours for a holiday treat.

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  15. Thank goodness for that bakery. Honestly my brothers and I were such monsters on car trips I don't know why my parents took us anywhere. I love your idea of a salted caramel filling for these macaroons. They look so dainty on the plate, but I just know that filling packs a lot of flavor.

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    1. Michelle, I'm not sure why my parents took my brother and I anywhere either - there's only so many games of "I Spy" you can play before the whining starts, which would inevitably lead to prodding, poking and hair pulling. Sooner or later there would be tears!

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  16. Sue, I think these could be my ultimate macaro(o)n. I actually love the coconutty things just as much as a good macaron. Only they aren't particularly versatile. Until you came up with these. Yum yum.

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  17. These are inspired and beautiful, Sue! I especially love the gooey salted caramel...perfect for a holiday treat.

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  18. I have been completely besotted by salted caramel lately. Actually, it's been a year long love affair and I am still seeking out ways to enjoy that combo of tastes. What a great story from your childhood - reminds me of our family trips!

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  19. LOVE coconut macaroons but never thought to slap them together with a filling. Especially a lovely salted caramel. Yes, Please.

    Great story. Yes, I remember those days of travel with no AC. The dog would get temperamental, too.

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  20. Love macaroons so much more than macarons....they never disappoint like those little brightly coloured macarons that tempt you & then I find more often than not don't live up to all the hype :) Add to that salted caramel...no more to be said really :) Delicious!

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