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These macaroons blush under silky chocolate robe

Macaroons put me in a romantic mood. That’s ever since my sweetheart expressed his interest, and they became the first treat I made with him in mind.

My recipe is fairly classic with hints of orange and almond extract, the latter a flavor that he and I agree makes just about any baked good better. I’d add a splash to this variation with fresh raspberries, which impart a gorgeous blush under the macaroons’ robe of melted chocolate .

Good travelers and good keepers, macaroons are an ideal choice for making in advance, packaging and even shipping to your Valentine.

Raspberry Macaroons in Chocolate Shells

2 cups dried, sweetened, flaked coconut

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 large egg white

Pinch of coarse salt

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons coconut oil (or corn syrup if not observing Passover)

Toasted walnuts, toasted coconut, sanding sugar, colored sugar, fleur de sel, etc., for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In bowl of a food processor, combine the coconut, granulated sugar, egg white and salt; pulse until just combined, scraping down sides of bowl if necessary. Add the raspberries and pulse until just incorporated (do not overprocess).

Scoop mounds of coconut mixture 1 inch apart onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, using a 1/2-ounce (11/4-inch) ice cream scoop or a tablespoon to form small mounds.

Bake in preheated oven until macaroons are lightly golden, for 28 to 30 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through cooking. Transfer macaroons to a wire rack and let cool.

Place the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until melted. Add coconut oil or corn syrup, stirring until combined, then remove from heat.

Dip bottoms of macaroons in chocolate or completely cover with chocolate (a flexible spatula will help with this), transferring as dipped to a wax-paper-lined baking sheet. Garnish as desired while still warm, then refrigerate until firm, for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day. Serve chilled.

Makes 16 pieces.

Recipe by Martha Stewart, courtesy of Tribune News Service.

Tribune News Service photo