I know that I am not alone when I say that I love parsnips because when I posted the bouquet of them that I happily carried home from the grocery store yesterday, I got quite the response. Ok, a percentage of those responses were from a certain family member of mine (hi mom!), but still, Parsnip Lovers Unite! With cookies! I know it sounds a little bizarre to bake with something usually used in savory preparations but I find that if you choose the right specimens, parsnips are just as sweet as carrots with a more complex flavor profile. The inspiration to bake them into macaroons came from Alice Medrich and her Spicy Carrot Macaroons that I've been meaning to try for ages. With a few substitutions they baked up into little golden haystacks perfect for teatime. The parsnip flavor is subtle, like a spice note in the background that pairs really nicely with sweet maple syrup, crunchy almond and chewy coconut.
inspired by Alice Medrich's Spicy Carrot Macaroons
yield 18-20 cookies
2 egg whites
3.5oz unrefined cane sugar
2oz maple syrup
1t vanilla extract
1/4t lemon zest
3oz unsweetened shredded coconut
4oz finely chopped almonds
4oz peeled and finely shredded parsnip (or carrot) make sure to choose small, slender parsnips as they are sweeter than their larger counterparts.
Preheat oven to 350º
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, lemon zest and salt until frothy.
2. Add in the coconut, almonds and shredded parsnip and stir well to combine. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes to allow the sugar to melt and soften the coconut.
3. Set the bowl over a double boiler or in a skillet of simmering water and stir the mixture, making sure to get down to the bottom of the bowl. Cook until the mixture is very hot and the liquid in the bottom of the bowl has thickened and turned slightly opaque, 5-7min.
4. Using firm pressure, form the mixture into heaping tablespoon sized pyramids and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. The mixture will be quite loose and it helps to wet your hands to form the cookies OR just use a cookie scoop. Slide the sheets into the oven and bake the cookies until they are deep golden brown on the edges, 20-25min. Make sure to bake them thoroughly, mine may have been a bit underdone.
5. Let the cookies cool completely on the parchment sheets, peel them off carefully and store at room temp, covered loosely for 3-4 days. As they age they will become softer and the lemon zest flavor more pronounced.