The Sweet Melissa Baking Book
By now, you all should realise that I am forever, and ever on the hunt for new recipes, good recipes, recipes that work. Not every cookbook can be opened and the recipe executed perfectly. There are some cookbook writers that I have come to inherently trust, Hi Ina(!), and others whose recipes must be tested before executing them with 30 or 40 unsuspecting pre-teens - yea, I'm looking at you Nigella, mistress of flung together recipes.
When Viking Studio offered to send me a copy of their latest, The Sweet Melissa Baking Book I jumped at the chance.
A nicely designed and very nicely written cookbook with very easy to follow recipes, this new book contains recipes by Melissa Murphy the owner of Sweet Melissa Pâtisseries in Brooklyn.
I flicked through all of the recipes and considered my limitations of number of burners, number of students, nut allergies, oven space, time, difficulty of execution, and chose her recipe for Chocolate Orange Macaroons.
I had one of our resident pastry chefs B test out the recipe and she gave it a hearty approval so we put it on the curriculum for this past week and I can assure you that it was a huge hit.
Rather than having the kids chopping the chocolate off of the Callebaut that we get in 11-pound blocks we used a high quality chocolate chip made by Callebaut that we get from our supplier, if I were to make these at home I would definitely choose a really good high quality chocolate. A recipe with so few ingredients relies upon each of them being of high quality. Also, don't try to sub out the dessicated coconut that you find in Whole Foods for the sweetened coconut called for here it will not work in this recipe. You need the sticky, moist, sweetened coconut to make this work. Macaroons by their very nature are a sweet cookie, I suppose you could cut back a bit on the sugar, but it is a sweet people, not a food to live on! Also, take the ingredient of 'zest of 1 orange' with a grain of salt, one man's tangerine sized orange is another man's grapefruit sized one so zest wisely. The household Brit gives these a big two thumbs up not to mention my peeps!
Next week we're making Bear's Peach Cobbler, I shall report back.
Chocolate Orange Macaroons
Recipe from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy
6 ounces best-quality solid semisweet (58%) chocolate
14 ounces sweetened coconut
zest of 1 orange
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large egg whites
1) Before you start Position the rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
2) Using a serrated bread knife, finely chop the chocolate and set aside.
3) In a large bowl, combine the coconut and zest, rub together with your hands. (This will break up the coconut and release the orange oils).
4) Stir in the sugar and chocolate to the coconut and mix to combine.
5) Add the egg whites (we whisked them a bit to lighten them up).
6) Use your hands to mix until everything is coated and the egg whites are distributed evenly.
7) Using a 1-ounce cookie scoop, firmly pack the dough in the scoop and unmold, 2-inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
One of the benefits of this dough is that you can make the cookie base up to 1 week ahead and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge and just the bake the cookies when desired. They keep well in an airtight container at room temp for 3 days. If you want to keep them longer, wrap in plastic and then aluminum foil and freeze them for up to 3 weeks.