20190415_DISCO_CLARE_02

Clare's chocolate macaroons.

I know exactly why these moist, chocolate powerhouse cookies mean springtime to me. I see it in the inscription in the book that inspired them — one that Jeff gave to me for my birthday 27 years ago.

In the years that followed, I inevitably consulted “Rosie’s All-Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed No-Holds-Barred Baking Book” whenever the need for something sweet grabbed me. And “no-holds-barred” is the way I roll in the kitchen.

These little wonders made their first appearance during spring, when I was called to observe Passover. Having been brought up as an Episcopalian, I was clueless as to what to cook. Being something of a food aficionado, I threw myself into researching Passover foods. I learned and practiced all sorts of dishes, from brisket to haroset (the fruit and nut paste that symbolizes the mortar used by slaves in Egypt).

But all these years later, the one recipe that remains untampered with is the one for these chocolate macaroons. Suitable for Passover because they are leavened with egg whites, these delectable cookies — with a thin outer layer surrounding a pillow of sweet coconut — are completely irresistible, whatever your religion.

The only change I’ve made through the years is that I’ve upped my chocolate game: I use the very best I can buy — chocolate that wasn’t even available nearly three decades ago. The basic idea remains the same, however: six ingredients and very little effort.

Holly’s Citrus Cake Mix Cookies also are simple and fit with the season (and her celebration of Easter). As my thoughts turn to Passover, I make my first macaroons of the year right around now – but it’s never my only batch of the year. Spring just whets my appetite for them.

I promise that they are equally compelling in summer, autumn or winter. Try them and see if you don’t agree!

***

CLARE'S CHOCOLATE MACAROONS

Makes 24 cookies

8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

4 large egg whites

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons real vanilla extract

4 cups sweetened, shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place parchment paper on cookie sheets. Place both chocolates in a microwavable dish and cook until just melted. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites in a stand mixer until frothy, about 30 seconds. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is the consistency of thick cream, about 30 seconds more.

Mix in the vanilla and then fold in the melted chocolate, then the coconut.

Using a small scoop, drop rounded tablespoonfuls about 1½ inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake macaroons until a light crust forms on the outside, about 13 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on a rack. Keep in an airtight container.

— Adapted from “Rosie’s All-Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed No-Holds-Barred Baking Book” by Judy Rosenberg (Workman Publishing, New York)

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