Coconut Macaroons

I’ve never been a huge fan of those coconut macaroons that are a staple of every Seder dessert table. Then again, I’ve only ever had the Manischewitz variety from the can. Today, I made some from scratch! I found the recipe in Stacey Ballis‘ book, Out to Lunch. Here it is – in her words (reprinted with permission):

These unusual cookies use larger dried flaked coconut instead of the usual shredded sweetened coconut for a much more sophisticated and less cloyingly sweet dessert. Adapted from Alice Medrich.

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3 1/2 cups unsweeteened, dried flaked, not shredded, coconut (also known as coconut chips)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Slightly rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients in a large heatproof mixing bowl. Set the bowl directly in a wide skillet of barely simmering water (if your bowl bobs in the water, simply pour some out). Stir the mixture with a silicone spatula, scraping the bottom to prevent burning, until the mixture is very hot to the touch and egg whites have thickened slightly and turned from translucent to opaque, about 5 to 7 minutes. Set the batter aside for at least an hour to let the coconut absorb more of the goop. (You can also make it to this stage and store in the fridge for up to three days before baking).

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Using 2 tablespoons of batter (While Stacey uses 2 tablespoons, I think the cookies turned out better at a little more than half that per cookie), make heaps 2 inches apart on the lined cookie sheets. It is okay if some of the goop is left over in the bowl, but try not to have the goop puddle at the base of the cookies. Bake for about 5 minutes, just until the coconut tips begin to color, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.

Lower the temperature to 325° F and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cookies are a beautiful cream and gold with deeper brown edges, again rotating from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time. If the coconut tips are browning too fast, lower the heat to 300° F. Set the pans or just the liners on racks to cool. Let cool completely before peeling the parchment away from each cookie. If they are sticking, place them in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes and try again.

04-14-14 Coconut Macaroons

The cookies are best on the day they are baked – the exterior is crisp and chewy and the interior soft and moist. Although the crispy edges will soften, the cookies remain delicious stored in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days.