Chocolate Almond Bliss Macaroons


Before I start talking about these delicious chocolate almond bliss macaroons, I must talk about something extremely important... It's something I don't joke about, it makes my whole body cringe and I want to point my finger and yell "YOU UNCULTURED SWINE!" when I hear the two words used improperly.. (don't worry, I don't actually do that.. pointing is rude.) Sometimes, I see packaged cookies on the shelves of retailers WITH THE WRONG NAME. Omg how can people market their own product under the wrong title? It actually drives me nuts.

If you already know the difference between the two cookies, then scroll on down to the recipe and get baking! But if you don't, you are about to get schooled regarding the difference between macaroons and macarons.

The word macaron is derived from the Italian word, "maccherone", meaning fine dough. Macarons were born in Italy, and brought to France in the early 1500s by an Italian woman who was to marry the future king of France. The first macarons were flourless, unleavened cookies that didn't have any filling inside. They were only made with sugar, almond flour (or paste) and egg whites. Overtime, different regions in France adapted this recipe, but it was in the late 1800s that the macaron we know and love today was developed at the Parisian confectioner La Maison LadurĂ©e, which is still most popular spot for macarons in the world! 

It is hard to know exactly when the coconut macaroon was born, but during the same time as the almond macaron was evolving from being a single cookie to the sandwich cookie we know today, creatives bakers experimented with swapping out the almond flour out for shredded coconut and this created the coconut macaroon. The coconut macaroon ended up being very popular amongst the European Jewish community as it was the perfect unleavened cookie for passover. 

The exact history and timeline of these two cookies is a little difficult to understand, but it is the evolution and change of the ingredients used in the very similar recipe that makes the big difference between these two cookies really clear (to me anyways). While the macaron and macroon have very similar ingredients (egg whites, sugar, and either almond flour or shredded coconut), the one ingredient change yields two very different cookies when you bake and compare them.

 Biting into a macaron should be an experience and the skill required to bake a perfect macaron should be appreciated. You go for the bite, and as quickly as the paper-thin crust of the two cookies is broken, you bite into a soft and chewy almond cookie with a jam, buttercream or ganache filled center. Biting into a macaroon should be less of an experience, but rather an explosion of coconut-y bliss. It is crumbly and the natural fats in the coconut coat your mouth leaving a gentle and smooth mouth feel. When accompanied by chocolate, OH MA GAWD it is heaven. 

If all of this is boring to you and you still can't really remember, think of this:
The word macaroon doesn't sound very fancy and literally all it is is a pile of baked coconut, while even the word macaron sounds fancy (it really helps when you say it in a thick French accent) and is a delicate and pretty little cookie that just LOOKS like it comes from France. 

More information you probably don't care about:
International macaron day is March 20th
International macaroon day is May 31st



Okay so really quickly about this recipe.
These chocolate almond bliss macaroons are pretty different compared to the original coconut macaroon recipe. They're vegan, so they are made without egg whites, and influenced by the French macaron recipe with the addition of almonds and almond extract. Perfect to satisfy your sweet tooth, for an allergen friendly snack for kids or serve at your next holiday gathering!



Ingredients:

2 C unsweetened shredded coconut
1 195ml can (7oz) condensed coconut milk * see recipe notes
1/4-1/2 tsp almond extract (or vanilla extract) ** see recipe notes
1/4 C sliced almonds
1/4 C mini chocolate chips

Chocolate drizzle garnish: 
3 tbsp chocolate chips
1 tsp coconut oil

Recipe notes:
* If you don't need this recipe to be dairy free, you can substitute the condensed coconut milk with regular condensed milk. 
** Sometimes almond extract can be a bit too strong, so start by adding 1/4 tsp and then adding the other 1/4 tsp afterwards if you want a stronger flavour.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper

In a small bowl, mix together shredded coconut, almond extract and condensed milk until it is incorporated. Fold in sliced almonds and mini chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, tightly compact the macaroon dough and scoop onto the parchment paper. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the edges are lightly toasted.

** If the macaroons spread out too much during baking, just take a butter knife or spoon, and gently bring the edges back in to the cookie. It did this when I used the condensed coconut milk. 

Wait for macaroons to cool before garnishing.
To garnish with chocolate drizzle, melt the chocolate chip in a pan on low heat and add coconut oil. Give the chocolate and oil a good stir to combine and use a spoon to drizzle chocolate over top of macaroons. 

Makes about 15 (depending on the size of your scoop).

Store loosely in a breathable container.

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