Making macaroons? Why not use the leftover yolks for pecan cookies?
By Susan Oppenheim
I love macaroons, especially in summer—no dairy, no flour, and low-calorie egg whites.
Here are two recipes—one for the whites, one for the yolks. Both recipes go into the oven at 325 degrees fahrenheit, and use parchment paper to line the cookie sheets. I find the paper wonderful as nothing sticks, my cookies cool better, and the paper can be used over and over again.
When buying eggs, choose recyclable cardboard boxes. In many countries, eggs are not refrigerated but I prefer to put mine in the fridge to avoid salmonella. Large or extra large eggs are always better in baking. Separate whites from yolks when eggs are cold, but use them at room temperature—especially for meringues or stiff whites.
Carefully separate them into individual bowls, one at a time, to avoid any yolk getting into the whites as it will not whip if compromised.If you separate them unsuccessfully into one bowl, you will have to toss it all and start over.
An extra egg yolk with a few tablespoons of water makes a warm golden egg wash to brush over otherwise bland whitish products like breads and cookies. That extra yolk can also find its way into your shampoo, your dog’s dish, an omelette or quiche, and any cake, pancake or muffin recipe. To use up an extra egg white, just make a great face mask. Paint it on and let it dry. Whites work great on blackheads and oily skin.
A cloudy egg white is a sign of freshness, not age: the cloudiness is from the high carbon dioxide content when the egg is laid. In a fresh egg, the yolk sits up high, and the white is thick and closely surrounds the yolk. An older egg has a flat yolk that breaks easily and a thin, watery white. The Best Before Date is an ideal way to determine the freshness of an egg. This indicates that the eggs are Grade A quality, as long as they have been properly handled and the date has not passed.
If you think you do not have access to farm eggs (obviously the best ones), more and more local produce markets and shops have ample fresh free-range eggs. Though they are more expensive, they are still very affordable.
Coconut macaroons, for the whites
3/4 cup white sugar
2 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
2 large egg whites*
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients well. Next, dampen your hands with water, and take 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough, and place in mounds on sheet, about one inch apart. Bake in centre of oven about 16 to 17 minutes, cool completely before removing.
There are variations. Substitute almond extract for vanilla; place a piece of dry fruit, like pineapple, cherry or apricot, into centre before baking; or, dip tops in melted chocolate when cooled. You can also add a few tablespoons of chocolate powder to recipe, or stir in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, or nuts.
Buttery Pecan Rounds, for the yolks
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup sweet butter-room temperature
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg yolk*
2/3 cup toasted chopped pecans**
Preheat the oven to 325, and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Process or sift flour and salt. With a hand beater, blend butter and brown sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg yolk, and reduce the beater speed while gradually adding in flour. Stir in, by hand, the chopped pecans.
Place the batter—about 4 tablespoons per cookie—three inches apart on cookie sheet. Place a pecan half on top of each. Bake on the centre rack of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool completely before removing from tray.
For variety, swap in walnuts, peanuts, or macadamia nuts instead of pecans.
*Eggs measured by weight not size
**To toast nuts (brings out flavour), spread on a cookie sheet at 300 degrees for 7 minutes in centre of oven.