Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Salted caramel and dark chocolate macaroons

One day, perusing twitter I saw a tweet proclaiming that 'today is the last day to sign up to the Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap'. I was hooked at the word cookies and quickly signed up before the deadline could pass me by.

The basic premise of the swap is that you register your interest, get sent three names and addresses of other bloggers and send them cookies. In return 3 different bloggers send cookies to you. You pay a small fee to enter ($4, £2.50) and this money goes to charity, the money raised is also matched by companies so lots of money is raised. So lots money for charity and lots of cookies for me, everyone is a winner.
The cookies had to be robust enough to stand up to transport and also keep well. I initially considered biscotti, one of the toughest of biscuits. You're not allowed to send a recipe already featured on your blog but are able to send a variation. I have a few biscotti recipes already, and although I could have tweaked one I had another think.

After trawling the internet I found some European biscuits that for some reason made me think of English coconut macaroons. And that was that. English macaroons fit the bill perfectly, the keep very well and are robust enough to send.

The basic English macaroon is coconut, flour and condensed milk, shaped into mounds and baked until golden.

I decided I would jazz up my macaroons and make them a little less sweet and more sophisticated. I made salted caramel macaroons and dipped the base in dark chocolate.

Salted caramel and dark chocolate coconut macaroons

makes 40-45

225g caramel (from a tin or make your own)
sea salt to taste
one tin of condensed milk (390g)
500g coconut
120g plain flour
100g dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 160C/140C FAN and line a baking sheet or sheets with baking parchment.

First gently warm the caramel and add sea salt to taste stir till dissolved. I salted a little more than I usually would, almost too salty. I wanted it to be able to stand up to the sweetness of the condensed milk and coconut.

Mix the condensed milk with the salted caramel. Add in the flour and the coconut and mix well until everything is thoroughly combined.

Using a tablespoon put heaped mounds onto the prepared baking sheets. Leave a few centimetres between each one, you will need to bake these in a few batches!

Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden. Leave to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. They will firm up as they cool.

Once the macaroons are completely cold melt the dark chocolate and dip the base of each macaroon. Leave the macaroons upside down for the chocolate to set then devour!

Thankfully I had a few spare macaroons, so I could sample some, for quality control you understand! I really liked the texture of these, caramelised on the outside, soft in the middle, and the caramel chocolate combination helped temper the sweetness.  I hope that my recipients enjoyed them as much as we did here.

I would like to express my thanks to Merunnisa from Come.Con.Ella. for her delicious brownie roll out cookies. Pat from Pat's Kitchen for her seriously moreish Chocolate frostbite cookies. And finally Victoria from Victoria Sponge, Pease Pudding for her lovely festive Brandy soaked cranberry, Golden pecan and Dark chocolate Christmas cookies.


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