I have to confess…I lied. In my earlier blog post/homage to Ina Garten’s Coconut Macaroons titled “The Perfect Cookie,” I wrote that I hardly dared to deviate from Ina’s perfect recipe. And this was true when I wrote it. But, as I was baking into the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, I did just that.
You have to understand–this is something I rarely do, and the main reason why I prefer baking over cooking. With baking, if you have a good recipe, buy the best-quality ingredients and follow the instructions to the letter, you’re nearly guaranteed to get a good result.
I had already started down the path toward deviance with a batch of Chocolate Mint Buttermilk Brownies. Buttermilk Brownies are a staple in my baking repertoire, but I wanted to make them extra special for our 12th Anniversary Celebration at Sarello’s. So, I added some peppermint extract to the frosting, and was planning to sprinkle the top with crushed candy canes.
I was waiting for them to finish baking when I realized I still had half a bag of coconut in pantry just waiting to be used. I decided to make a quick half-batch of macaroons which could bake while I cleaned up the kitchen.
But, instead of following the recipe as I usually do, I decided to experiment, again. I don’t know what came over me to cause such reckless abandon to my baking protocol, but it was way past my bedtime and I’d been baking for hours already. My guard was down, and I needed a reason to stay up to clean the kitchen instead of heading to bed.
So, I went to my pantry and took out the cocoa powder. I added one tablespoon to the coconut mixture before folding in the egg whites, and prepared 25 cookies for baking. After I popped them in the oven, I waited with bated breath to see how they turned out. What if I’d ruined Ina’s perfect recipe? Worse yet, what if Ina found out?
25-30 minutes later, I was pleased to see that my “daring” addition of cocoa powder had not altered the outcome of this perfect cookie. And when I had my focus group test them in the morning, they received two thumbs up.
On Friday, I followed up my experiment by baking a full batch of Chocolate Macaroons, and this time I added one and a half tablespoons. Again, they turned out beautifully, but I think I might bump the cocoa powder up to two tablespoons the next time I experiment. Just to see what happens.
Are you a protocol baker, or a renegade in the kitchen? I’ve always thought of myself as the former, but I enjoyed my little excursion into the unknown more than I expected. I may have to reconsider the label. It might just be time to get a little crazy in the kitchen.
Click the link for the recipe to Ina Garten’s Coconut Macaroons.