The highlight of my walk into work each morning is the front window of Wuollet Bakery. There's a lineup of two or three seasonally-decorated cakes that changes a couple times a week: school buses filled with children in the fall, dancing gingerbread men in the winter, cherry blossoms in the spring, an homage to the Minnesota State Fair in the summer. The cakes are frosting masterpieces, thick swirls of dozens of colors applied with a skilled hand. As lovely as they are, I think I would feel unworthy of actually eating them.
I don't have that problem with the other fixture of Wuollet's window display: a glass jar heaped with macaroons (for awhile, after I wrote my City Pages article on the best snacks in the SkyWay, there was a little sign propped against the the jar reading "CityPages vote for best snack in the SkyWay". It made me feel like a trendsetter for the first and only time in my life). Wuollet's macaroons are amazing--dense mounds of coconut nearly the size of your fist with a crispy, caramelized crust. The problem is that I can't stop eating at the few bites that would constitute a portion, and end up consuming more coconut macaroon than one should eat in one sitting.
Enter these homemade, more sensibly-sized macaroons adapted from the Splendid Table. I thought that macaroons would be difficult to prepare, but this recipe comes together quickly with only five ingredients. I did get a bit obsessive about shaping my macaroons, using a teaspoon measuring spoon to make each one a perfectly portioned little clump, but if you aren't as particular you can just drop them onto a baking sheet using a couple spoons. If you want to make medium-sized or Wuollet-inspired giant macaroons, just keep in mind you'll need to bake them longer. Also, I recommend skipping your oven's convection setting for this recipe--use the regular bake function so that the macaroons don't get too crispy on the outside.
Adapted from the recipe by Lynne Rosetto Kasper and Sally Swift
Yield: about 3 1/2 dozen teaspoon-sized macaroons
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- pinch salt
- 3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat well. Add the sugar, almond extract, and salt and beat until smooth. Stir in the coconut and mix until the coconut is evenly coated with the egg mixture.
Drop teaspoonfuls of the prepared coconut onto the parchment-lined baking sheets.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until macaroons are golden brown and crispy at the edges. Cool completely and store in an airtight container at room temperature.