The weeks following February 22nd were the lemoniest weeks of my life. On that Friday, a box of two dozen child-picked Meyer lemons landed on my doorstep. (Thanks Jo!).
And just over a month later, I used up the last of these thin-skinned, almost sweet lemons. It was Passover and I zested the final five into macaroons.
I was actually relieved to be done with all of those lemons. Which is strange. Or at least strange for me.
See, lemons and I have a funny relationship. There’s always at least one rolling around in my fridge or perched in a bowl on my counter. But instead of reaching for one when a recipe calls for its juice, I pause.
So, I pause.
And then today’s salad gets dressed with a mild vinegar. One made from rice or maybe apple cider.
The first week I had the Meyers, I meted them out. I made some scones with fresh cranberries and another batch with blueberries and then hoarded the rest.
Soon the irrational fear that I wouldn’t have a lemon when I needed it was replaced with a slightly more rational one.
What if those lemons go bad?
So there I was, struggling to use up all the lemons.
I scoured cookbook index after cookbook index for recipes that needed lemons.
I found recipes that feature lemons.
I added lemons to recipes that don’t call for them. And that’s how I came up with Meyer lemon coconut macaroons.
Before we get to the recipe, here are a few links I’ve been meaning to share.
And while you’re at it, listen to the Tedx talk that Penny de los Santos, the photographer who accompanied Gabrielle down South: “Yeah, I photograph food. I’m a a food photographer. But really what I do is capture human moments.”
Jonathan Safran Foer’s opinion piece in the New York Times about the negative impact technology is having on our ability to provide undivided attention. “Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life.”
The Huffington Post on Sushi Yasusa’s recent decision to not accept tips.
Meyer lemon coconut macaroons
Adapted from Jess at Sweet Amandine who adapted it from Molly at Orangette who adapted it from Bon Appetit. The genius in Jess’s recipe is that it uses unsweetened coconut so you can control the level of sugar. Next time I’ll use even less sugar.
Makes 40 small macaroons
– 3 C (9 ounces) lightly packed unsweetened shredded coconut
– 1 1/2 C granulated sugar
– 3/4 C egg whites (about 5 or 6 large)
– 1-2 pinches kosher salt
– 5 Meyer lemons (or 3 regular lemons) for zest
Preheat oven to 300ºF.
Heat. In a medium heavy-bottom pan, mix the coconut, sugar, egg whites, and kosher salt. Stir in zest. Cook over medium-low heat stirring frequently, for 10-12 minutes. It will start out looking sticky and creamy. As the mix heats, it will become drier and pastier. It’s ready when the mixture is still somewhat moist and still very sticky. Refrigerate the mix until cold, approximately 30 minutes.
Scoop. Line two cookie sheets with parchment. Once the mixture is cooled, scoop level tablespoons of it onto the parchment, leaving about an inch between (they won’t spread). If you want your macaroons to be smooth, you can roll the spoonfuls into balls, but I prefer to leave them a little shaggy.
Bake. Bake for 30 minutes until the coconut toasts and browns slightly. They should still be a little soft. As they cool, they’ll harden a bit.
Store. Keep the macaroons in an airtight container. They’ll soften a bit by the next day.