December 18, 2013

People’s Choice and finalist recipes

Maine Macaroon Mountains by Karen Watterson of Yarmouth were the favorite for the People’s Choice award.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE

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Maine Macaroon Mountains by Karen Watterson of Yarmouth.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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People's Choice winner Karen Watterson of Yarmouth.

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Maine Macaroon Mountains by Karen Watterson, Yarmouth

These popular cookies are the product of a blended family. Macaroons are a traditional Jewish dessert (Watterson’s family is Jewish), but dressing them up like snow-capped mountains makes them a perfect Christmas cookie (her husband’s side).

Watterson, a 53-year-old bookseller who writes the food blog Mignardise, said the cookies can be made in advance, frozen and baked off as you want.

“You have to plan, because they have to be in the freezer for several hours before you bake them,” she said. “I think that’s how you get the crispy shell on the outside and the moistness on the inside.”

Makes 4 dozen

91/4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)

41/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)

5 egg whites

8 ounces sugar (about 1 cup plus 21/2 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon vanilla

14-oz. package 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 with 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 11/2 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 to 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.

* Watterson says, “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 in the freezer for up to three months, in a plastic freezer bag or container.

 

FINALIST

Christmas Stars, by Valerie Stone, Falmouth

As a child, Stone and her siblings would travel from Delaware to Vermont to spend the holidays with her “Mum.” One of the highlights of the trip was always her grandmother’s Christmas Stars, which Stone describes as “filled with soft light meringue, delicate lemon oil and ambrosial chewy insides.”

“She made them every year,” said Stone, who is a 54-year-old fiber artist. “She was an artist, so she just somehow had an understanding of what would be the right combination to make something taste good.”

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Christmas Stars by Valarie Stone of Falmouth.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Finalist Valarie Stone of Falmouth

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Auntie Anna’s Sugar Cookies with Orange Frosting by Donna Speirs of Kennebunk.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Finalist Donna Speirs of Kennebunk

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

  


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