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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod@mainetoday.com On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: December 2, 2012

Maine Macaroon Mountains: People’s Choice Award

Written by: Susan Axelrod

Submitted by Karen Watterson

9 1/4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
4 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
5 egg whites
8 ounces sugar (about 1 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon vanilla
14-ounce pkg. sweetened, shredded coconut
8 ounces good quality white chocolate
Sprinkles, or similar edible decorations

Combine the semisweet and unsweetened chocolates in a large metal or glass bowl, or top of a double boiler. Place the bowl over a saucepan of about 1 inch of barely simmering water (don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water).

Melt the chocolate, stirring frequently. Remove bowl from over the water and set aside, allowing it to cool slightly.

In a large clean bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Slowly add the sugar and keep beating until the mixture has the consistency of melted marshmallow. Using a firm rubber spatula, mix in the vanilla, melted chocolate and coconut until well combined. The dough will be thick.

Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper (or use a Silpat). Make sure the sheets will fit in your freezer.* Using wet hands, form dough into balls, about 1 1/2 tablespoons each. Pinch each ball gently to create a slightly tapered shape. Place on prepared cookie sheet, and repeat until all the dough has been used.

Place the cookie sheet in freezer for at least 2 hours, or until cookies are frozen and firm.**

When you’re ready to bake, heat the oven to 350.

Bake the frozen macaroons for 16-20 minutes, until the outsides have developed a thin crust and the tops look dry and set. Slide the parchment paper, with macaroons on it, off the cookie sheet and onto a wire rack to cool.

When cookies have cooled completely, they are ready to be dipped.

Melt the white chocolate in a shallow bowl. Dip the top of each cookie into the white chocolate, letting excess drip off. Place back on rack, and allow chocolate to dry completely. Sprinkle with edible decorations.

* I couldn’t possibly fit all those cookie sheets in my freezer, so I ended up placing balls of cookies on plates, and putting those in the freezer. When it was time to bake them, I just transferred them to cookie sheets.

** Once the cookies are frozen, you can store them on the freezer for up to 3 months, in a plastic freezer bag or container.

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