This particular concoction, courtesy of Naomi at Bakers Royale, turns the simple macaroon into a real work of art. Now, if you wanted to make it really, really simple, you could purchase the main components and cobble them all together. The cookies might not turn out quite so deliciously, but they'll still knock everybody's socks at least halfway off!
You can also fiddle with the recipe a bit -- perhaps jam instead of caramel? -- and make it your own. But all hats off to Naomi for sharing her expertise with us!
Salted Caramel Macaroon Thumbprint Cookies
Makes 28 cookies
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 14 oz. packaged flaked coconut
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites, vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold in coconut.
Using an ice cream scoop with 2-inch bowl (or scant 1/4-cup measure), drop coconut mixture in mounds on prepared cookie sheets. To flatten out the cookies as seen in the picture, drop the dough onto a bake sheet, then lightly cover the bottom of a glass with non-stick bake spray and press it lightly onto the dropped dough to flatten.
Place on separate racks in oven. Bake 20 minutes. Turn off oven; let cookies dry in oven 30 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
In a small saucepan heat cream and 2 Tbsp. water until steaming hot; remove from heat; set aside.
Place the 1/2 cup water in a 2-quart saucepan; pour sugar and salt in a thin stream in center of pan to form a low mound. Don't stir; use your fingers to pat the sugar mound down until it is entirely moistened. Any sugar touching edges of pan should be below the water line. Cover and cook over medium heat without stirring until sugar is dissolved and syrup looks clear.
Uncover and continue to cook without stirring until syrup begins to color slightly. Swirl pan gently (rather than stirring) if syrup is coloring unevenly. If syrup gets too dark, it will taste bitter. Use a skewer to drop a bead of syrup on a plate from time to time. When a drop of syrup looks amber (about 13 minutes), remove pan from heat. Holding pan away from you, gradually pour in the hot cream mixture. Stir over low heat to blend the caramel into the cream mixture. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Let cool until slightly thickened (220 degrees F-222 degrees F).
Once baked, create a slight well at the center of the macaroon cookie and fill it with caramel sauce and then finish with a sprinkle of fleur de sel or drizzle with some melted chocolate on top of the caramel first, then with fleur de sel.
Want recipes and food news emailed directly to you? Sign up for the new Food newsletter here!