Cardamom and Saffron Macaroons

This recipe is from Monica Bhide's cookbook, Modern Spice. These macaroons are remarkably fragrant and sweet.

Yields 35-38 small macaroons (I made about 20 larger ones)

1 (14-ounce) package sweetened shredded coconut

10 ounces sweetened condensed milk such as Eagle brand, from a 14-ounce can

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom

1 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed

1/4 teaspoon table salt

2 small egg whites, whipped to peaks

 

1 Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper and lightly spraying with nonstick spray.

2. Combine the coconut, condensed milk, cardamom, saffron, and salt in bowl. (It will form a mixture that is not like typical cookie dough, but once the egg whites are folded in, the mixture will hold together.

3. To whip egg whites, start with room temperature eggs. I like to add a touch of lemon juice, salt, or cream of tartar to help the eggs get to the peaks. Once you begin to whisk them and they reach the soft peak stage, stop. If you continue to beat them, the proteins will break down and you will have a soft mess on your hands. Gently fold in the whipped egg whites to the mixture.

4. Using a spoon, mold the mixture into tablespoon-size balls and place 1 inch apart on prepared pan.

5. Bake for 14-16 minutes, until exterior is very slightly brown, the middle is still soft, and the bottoms are beginning to turn golden brown.

6. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes on a wire rack.

7. Serve at room temperature. These can be stored in an air-tight container for up to one week.