No, these are not the French “macarons” that everyone is so nuts over. These are old fashioned coconut macaroons like I had when I was a kid. I remember the flavor and texture distinctly, which is why, when I went to a coffee shop with Millie, and we shared a “macaroon” that was drizzled with some lemony icing, and it had large gratings of coconut in it, and was all gooey and falling apart, I felt disappointed. Definitely not the macaroon of my childhood.
So I had to get home and look at every recipe I could find. I made a couple of different recipes that seemed popular, but I should know by now, that if I get that strange feeling that something isn’t right with a recipe upon reading it, I need to pay attention to that feeling. The first recipe I made was American, and it was made with whipped egg whites, so the macaroons ended up being light and fluffy and airy; kind of like little poof balls of airy sweetness. Like a coconut meringue. And they had a bad color, kind of a tan beige blah. Not at all what I was looking for. And because I know you want to see a picture of this, here you go.
I also made a French recipe (yes, it was in French!), that called for whole eggs. I wondered to myself how the egg yolk would behave, and found that the flavor was completely off. And they were a yellowish color that I did not like. The texture was better, but everything else was a big NO.
Finally, I somehow tripped over a recipe that was created by an American chef living in Paris… ahhhhh, what a dream. His name is David Lebovitz, and I am pretty excited that I found his macaroon recipe. It was thoroughly accidental, because before this whole macaroon obsession started, I made some mint straciatella ice cream, and used his recipe.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remembered seeing on his ice cream page: recipes that use extra egg whites. And then I remembered that one of those recipes was for Coconut Chocolate Macaroons. I had completely ignored the recipe, because I imagined the macaroons being all chocolate-y, which was not was I was after, but when I looked again, it was macaroons that had been dipped in chocolate. And they were exactly what I was looking for! The outside a golden brown from caramelized sugar, with teeny tiny bits of shredded coconut poking out. Crispy chewy on the outside, and slightly gooey on the inside.
(Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Coconut Chocolate Macaroon Recipe)
- 4 large egg whites (should measure 1/2 cup)
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 hearty Tablespoon honey
- 2 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut (see tips below)
- 1/4 cup (1.1 ounces) flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (optional)
- In a 10 inch skillet, mix together the egg whites, sugar, salt, and honey.
- Over low heat on stovetop, stir the mixture until tepid, but not warm or hot. You just want to take the chill off.
- In a separate bowl, mix the coconut, flour, and drizzle the vanilla on top.
- Add the coconut/flour mixture to the egg white/sugar mixture, and stir together over medium heat for about 5 minutes. You want the mixture to thicken just bit. It will be like thick oatmeal.
- Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
- When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Form dough into 1 1/2 Tablespoon rounds (I use a cookie scoop for this) and place on cookie sheet evenly spaced. Bake on center rack in oven until macaroons are a deep golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely.
- To dip the macaroons in chocolate (optional), slowly melt the chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave, or in a saucepan on your stovetop, and dip the bottom of each cookie into the melted chocolate. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes, until the chocolate is set.
Pictures with tips:
You really want to use the right kind of coconut. Do NOT use flaked coconut. The flakes are too big and will ruin the consistency. I use Bob’s Red Mill Shredded Unsweetened Coconut, and the size and texture is perfect.
And if you are unable to find Bob’s Red Mill brand, here is a picture of what the unsweetened shredded coconut looks like (on the left), compared to the flakes of sweetened on the right that we are all familiar with. Just in case you don’t believe me about there being a big difference. The shredded unsweetened is much smaller, and that is what you want.
I think it is worth it to measure the egg whites. You should have a hearty 1/2 cup of egg whites, and 4 large egg whites should do it, but just to be sure…
Using the right sized pan is essential. The first time I made these, I used a pan that was too large, and I dried out the egg mixture. This is a 10″ pan, which works well.
Here is the thickened egg/sugar/coconut mixture. This is about right. Don’t dry it out! The mixture will firm up once it has cooled down to room temperature.
If you let the dough cool to room temp, the cookies keep their shape better.
I use a cookie scoop (1 1/2 Tablespoon size) to scoop these cookies. It works like a charm. In fact, it works like a charm for all cookies, so if you don’t have one yet, put it on your want list.
Leave about two inches space between cookies. They spread a little, and they will bake more evenly with plenty of space. And only bake one cookie sheet at a time.
You can even get fancy and drizzle melted chocolate on top of the macaroons, as well as dipping them.
With or without the chocolate, these macaroons are chewy, gooey, and just how I remembered them!