Sometimes I can be judgmental. But only when the situation calls for it.
Chances are, I won't think condescending thoughts about you if you have toilet paper stuck to your shoe when you leave the washroom, if like to die your hair crazy colours, or if act like a jerk when you are drunk.
However, I WILL judge your bakery based on how good your macaroons are.
I'm sorry, but that's just the way it goes.
The first thing I ever look to order when visiting a new bakery is a coconut macaroon. It's a test. If you put care and effort into your macaroons, everything else will follow. Probably, this is not how things really work in the world of baking, but this how it works in my head. I am practically exuberant when I bite into a delicious macaroon. There is nothing not to love about it's simplicity. Take for example, the macaroon in the picture below:
This macaroon is from Tartine, in San Francisco. It was a few months ago already, but I remember delighting in this little guy as much (if not more) than my mother did in her massive frangipane croissant. Delicious.
If you love these guys the way I love them, I'm willing to hand off my recipe to you. They are simple, sweet, and slightly gooey in the center. Also, they are practically guilt free (woo!). That is, until I drizzle them with dark chocolate ganache (but chocolate is good for you, right?)...
As per usual, I like to reduce the amount of sugar in my macaroons. I end up using just over half a cup, in the end. I've found anywhere from ½ cup to ¾ cup of sugar will do the trick!
For the Macaroons:
3 cups (lightly packed) sweetened shredded coconut
½ - ¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup egg whites (about 5 or 6 large)
1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
For the Ganache:
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
¾ cup heavy cream
Place the first three ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan, and stir to combine well. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring regularly, about 10-12 minutes, until the mixture is pasty looking but not dry. (The uncooked mixture will look sort of granular at first, then creamy as it heats, ad then it will slowly get drier and drier. You want to stop cooking when it no longer looks creamy but is still quite gluey and sticky, not dry.) Remove from heat. Mix in vanilla and almond extracts. Spread out the coconut mixture on a large baking sheet. Refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat. Using a 1/4-cup measuring scoop, scoop and pack the coconut mixture into domes, and place them on the baking sheet. You should wind up with about a dozen. Bake the macaroons until golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool.
Set macaroons on rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until it is very hot and steamy but not boiling. Remove from the heat, and pour it over the chocolate. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is thoroughly melted. Spoon the glaze over the macaroons, covering them almost completely and allowing the chocolate to drip down the sides. Refrigerate the macaroons until the glaze sets, at least 2 hours. Transfer macaroons to an airtight container, and refrigerate or freeze.
Note: You will have leftover ganache, which can be refrigerated or frozen.