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Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons
Susan Russo for NPR /

My mom's coconut macaroons are some of the least fussy and most flavorful cookies you'll find. All of the ingredients are simply mixed by hand, then baked. A crisp exterior gives way to a soft, chewy interior that is deliciously rich and nutty. You can eat them without the chocolate coating (though you won't want to do that), or for a variation, you can place a whole almond or maraschino cherry in the center of each cookie before baking.

Makes 26 to 28 cookies

4 egg whites

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

1 (14-ounce) bag sweetened, shredded coconut

2/3 cup sugar

6 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

12 ounces chocolate of your choice (I use semi-sweet)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and position a rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine egg whites and almond extract.

In a large bowl, mix coconut, sugar, flour and salt. Mix by hand until well-blended. Stir the egg mixture into the coconut mixture until it becomes thick and sticky.

To form cookies, use a tablespoon (coated with cooking spray) to scoop up the cookie mixture. Using your hands, shape the cookie into an oval. Place on the parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops are light golden brown. They should be crisp on the outside, yet soft on the inside. Place on a rack and cool completely before dipping in the chocolate.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler. If you don't have a double boiler, fill a small, deep pan with water and bring to a low boil. Place a glass bowl over the simmering water, but not touching it. Place the chocolate in the bowl. As soon as it begins to melt, remove the pan from the heat and stir with a spoon until the chocolate becomes smooth and silky.

(If the heat is too high or you leave the chocolate on the heat too long, it will become thick like frosting.)

For easy cleanup, place a sheet of parchment paper under a cookie rack before icing cookies. Dip half of the cookie in the melted chocolate, place on a rack and cool completely before serving or storing in an airtight container. The macaroons are best eaten within five to seven days.

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