I’ve been trying to stay away from sweets leading up to Christmas but…you know how it is? Sometimes you just have to go to the pantry and see what’s there. Or not there.
In my case, there was no chocolate, no biscuits, no sweets of any kind except for some dried dates. Yeah, me too.
The trip to the pantry wasn’t a complete waste of time though because I did find some shredded coconut, and that gave me an idea. Diving into my trusty photo album-recipe book(1), I flicked through a stack of recipes I’d found online, or in magazines [back when we still bought them], until I found a recipe for Arabian Macaroons. And wonder of wonders, I had all the ingredients!
- 1 1/3 cup coconut [I used dessicated, shredded coconut],
- 1/2 cup finely chopped dates [hah! I used dried, pitted dates],
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts [I used hazelnuts because I didn’t have walnuts],
- 1/2 cup sugar [I used caster sugar but next time I’ll reduce the quantity to 1/4 of a cup],
- 1/8 teaspoon salt [I used a very small ‘pinch’],
- 1 egg, well beaten,
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Original instructions that came with the recipe:
- Combine coconut, dates, walnuts, sugar and salt; mix well. Blend in egg and vailla extract. Let stand 5 minutes.
- Drop from teaspoon onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove at once from baking sheet.
- Pre-heat oven to 350f or 170c [fan bake(2)],
- Line a large baking sheet with baking paper [parchment paper]. No need to grease.
- Finely chop the dates and hazelnuts [separately!] until they look like large ‘crumbs’,
- Beat 1 whole egg with the sugar, vanilla extract, and a tiny bit of salt until the mixture forms ‘the ribbon’. In other words, the egg mixture becomes thick enough to hold its shape for a few seconds when dribbled on top of the mix.
- Fold all the dried ingredients into the egg mixture and allow to stand at room temperature for 5 minutes.
- Use two spoons to take small quantities of the ‘dough’ and scrape it onto the baking paper. The mix is quite sticky and won’t just ‘drop’. It needs to be scraped out of the spoon.
- Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven, and set the timer for about 12 minutes. If your oven is old and temperamental like mine, you will need to check the macaroons at that 12 minute mark to make sure they bake evenly and don’t burn. If you oven is fine, leave for 15 minutes.
- When golden brown, take the macaroons out of the oven and gently lift them onto a cooling rack. At this point they are still a little soft but they will firm up as they cool.
- Store in an air-tight container…if you can wait that long. 😉
The finished macaroons will be crunchy on the outside and a little bit chewy on the inside. Honestly, they really are delicious.
(1) I use those old fashioned photo albums with clear plastic sheets covering each page. I pull the sheet back, stick the recipe on the page and cover with the clear sheet again. Keeps the recipes relatively clean. 😉
(2) Fan bake or fan forced is always a little hotter than the standard oven temperature so if you use those setting, you should drop the temperature a little to compensate.