(I did not take any photos, sorry)
I began with a basic macaroon recipe with carrot-coconut substitution.
3 large egg whites beaten to stiff peaks with ½ c white sugar and 4 tbs brown sugar
2 1/2 c shredded carrots or beets folded into egg whites.
Baked for 30 min at 350 F.
I did not introduce any dairy (e.g. Condensed milk), but I can’t imagine it would have solved the problems I’ll describe below.
1. Fresh veggies:
Using freshly grated veggies in the recipe was a disaster. The batter was too wet and collapsed into flat cookies that burned on the bottom. Reducing the amount of sugar or slower cooking at lower temperature to prevent burning didn’t help; the result was a flat wet cookie without any structure or (if I baked long enough) a black burnt wafer (no Jews accepting communion jokes please – that’ll be a story for another day).
In one batch, I added raisins and under-baked. The molten lumps (eaten with a spoon) tasted like a good tsimis; the beet version had a well-balanced (perhaps toward savory) sweetness, so at least the test helped me decide how much sugar was needed in the recipe.
2. Resourcing dried veggies:
I thought the problem was excess moisture, so I decided to switch to dried veggies. After several failed attempts to oven dry my root vegetables, I found an online source for carrots. The company’s origin story is inspiring (see below*), but the product is only kosher, not kosher for Passover.
There is no commercial source of dried beets, only dried beet pulp (DBP). DBP is the residual beet fiber after sugar extraction and is used for horse feed. I was also tempted by sites offering other “freeze dried” vegetables in shredded or powdered form (eg. Mushroom, tomato), but decided that they wouldn’t do for two reasons. The powdered form would not have the consistency of coconut or almond paste and result in a flavored meringue rather than a macaroon. The freeze dried veggies are not pre-cooked which could lead to diminished flavor and suboptimal rehydration from the moisture of the egg and brown sugar as the macaroon cooks.
If you want to do the experiment, find a friend with a dehydrator (or use an oven-based dehydration recipe) and dehydrate carrots that are freshly grated and carrots that have been “par-boiled” for 2 minutes and then “shocked” in ice water. The cooking dentures the enzymes that degrade the carrot so that the pre-cooked version will be more orange. They also rehydrate faster because the cooking breaks down their cell walls. Adding a small amount of baking soda to the cooking water (high pH) will enhance this effect and give you softer carrots after rehydration.
3. Dried carrot recipe:
Substituting dried carrots into the basic recipe stiffened up the macaroons and they kept their shape, but perhaps because of the size and shape of the shreds, the veggies clumped. This happened even when I partly rehydrated the carrots in the microwave (2 tbps water to 2 ½ cups carrots for 90 sec, covered).
The result was an egg-white shell around clumped partly dried carrots and uneven cooking. So the center remained raw while the bottom burned and the top dried out to a leathery consistency. They were neither a meringue nor a macaroon. I tried lower temperature with longer baking and browning under the broiler and a convection oven.
In all attempts, the taste and texture were odd. It was like sprinkling sugar on an old woody carrot. The fresh baked (sweet potato pie) feeling of the first attempt was gone.
With the taste of burnt sugar lingering in my mouth and died carrot shreds stuck in my teeth, I’m ready to accept defeat. I think the concept was off.
The best compromise ma be less sweet traditional macaroon, perhaps even with an additional of a paste of cooked carrots and raisins (akin to the almond paste in almond flavored macaroons)
Lowell Sherratt Sr. had a good head for business. Along his journey of life Sherratt forged many great friendships with kindness and fairness. Sherratt worked as a seed salesman in Southern California in the late 30’s and early 40’s. During which World War II was in full swing, but no one could prepare the United States for what would happen on December 7, 1941. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in a vicious sneak attack that effectively neutralized the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The United States promptly entered the war on December 8, 1941. The attack on Pearl Harbor led many to believe that Japan was planning a full-scale attack on the West Coast of the United States. Authorities questioned the loyalty of ethnic Japanese living on the U.S. West Coast and called for action. Franklin D Roosevelt responded with Executive Order 9066, which allowed military commanders to designate restricted military areas at their discretion. These areas started out with critical areas on the west coast but soon spread to cover much of the east and west coasts of the country, a full 1/3 of U.S. soil.
Some Japanese-Americans were given the opportunity to move inland, away from the designated restricted areas. Many decided to stay, often times to show their loyalty to the United States, and were grouped into internment camps across the country. Family lore has it that Earl Warren, California Attorney General and later U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, asked Sherratt to sponsor some Japanese Americans in an effort to get them out of California. Lowell Sherratt, Sr. had built his success by developing a relationship of trust with each of his customers. His desire to serve, and his personal relationship with each of them was put to the test. The response was immediate, and the answer was “Yes!”
Sherratt sold his home, took his family, and helped his Japanese-American friends in their desperate move to Southern Utah. His friends raced to beat a March 1942 deadline to leave the restricted area or face arrest and detainment. He led the convoy of more than 10 families from Los Angeles to Page’s Ranch, an isolated ranch, 30 miles west of Cedar City. Vehicles that broke down were left behind. Taunts were common when they stopped for gas. Feelings were so bitter, as a result of the war, that merchants would only trade with the farmers under the cover of night.
The families stayed on at Page’s Ranch for a year or two before moving on to Idaho and Colorado to farm. Lowell Sherratt, Sr. stayed in Utah. In the 1950’s he bought a mill in Parowan to crack grain for a feed company in Southern California. He eventually moved his company to the small town of Honeyville, Utah, taking the name for his company, Honeyville Grain. In 1973 he continued to expand, bringing his company back to Southern California. The California facility has added technology and moved around the greater Los Angeles area before settling in Rancho Cucamonga, CA in 1988. In the fall of 1981 a warehouse and distribution facility was added in North Salt Lake City, Utah. That facility has grown and now resides near the Salt Lake City airport.