March 24, 2013

Chocolate Cranberry Macaroons

I've made these twice the last few weeks...the first time was a request, and the second time because they were so yummy. 

Ever since college, macaroons have been a go-to recipe of mine when there's not much in the kitchen but I still wanted to bake. It's a simple recipe with not too many ingredients and I could always whip it together as long as I had a bag of coconut flakes handy (which I tried to keep stocked).

The first time I made macaroons at home, I was astounded by how much more absolutely delicious they tasted compared to store bought. When they're made at home, they're absolutely perfectly cripsy on the outside and soft on the inside. I often ate one coming out of the oven and had it warm. If you've never had a warm homemade macaroon, make it a priority.

These were requested to emulate a similar creation at Au Bon Pain (or so I've been told). So I took my handy dandy macaroon recipe that I've used from the back of some bag years ago and adapted a bit for this concoction. They're filled with cranberries and topped with chocolate ganache. Don't forget that they're still great warm, crispy, and most importantly homemade with love. 

Chocolate Cranberry Macaroons
Adapted from: I really am not sure.
Makes about 20

For the macaroons
1 bag 15 oz coconut flakes
4 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
6 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
about 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries (go heavy if you like them!)

For the ganache
8 ounce bar semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat your oven to 325. Combine all of your ingredients for the macaroons into one big old bowl and mix well. I find that clean hands work very well! Line your baking sheet with parchment paper as they can get sticky. Ball out 1 heaping tablespoon amounts of macaroon sticky flakes and place about 3/4 inch apart - they don't spread much. They should look like little macaroons on the baking sheet. I usually just lightly press my balls of dough onto the pan to give it a nice flat bottom.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the sides are golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Break your chocolate bar into small squares and place into a heat-proof bowl. Heat your heavy cream over medium high heat until just bubbling on the sides - don't let it boil! Pour your heavy cream over your chocolate squares and gently stir for a few minutes until the heat distributes and you have a shiny, delicious chocolate ganache glaze.

Dip your cooled macaroon tops into the glaze and let set at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Enjoy! The mix of cranberry and chocolate is fabulous!


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