I scoured through my cookbook library looking for the simplest way to make coconut macaroons, and found this easy recipe in the book: "The American Test Kitchen Family Cookbook". On my last day of our student-placement orientation, we were required to bring something in for a pot-luck lunch. I knew I wanted to offer something sweet, but I didn't have a lot of time to make it. These cookies were exactly what I was looking for.
Some of my earliest childhood memories involved hot sand beaches, palm trees, air-boats, hunting alligators and eating fresh cut coconuts. Some people have issues with the texture of coconut, but I happen to love it. And of course, everything is better with chocolate! Although I didn't do it for the macaroons pictured, one way to remedy the stringy texture often associated with macaroons, is to first pulse the shredded or flaked coconut in a food processor. Than way it ends up more like a coconut meal. To make sure that they are nice and moist, just cover the final mixture with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for a while. The longer the coconut has to soak up the egg whites, the softer the end product. As far as the egg whites are concerned, I found it much easier to just buy a carton of liquid egg whites. Why waste all that yolk?
These were a big hit with my coworkers, as well as with my partner's. I even had people tell me that they don't like coconut, but loved eating these. It just goes to show you, it's all about quality and presentation. Coconut lovers beware, these are seriously habit forming. I've given most of them away, just so I don't eat them all myself!
- 5 cups (20 ounces) sweetened shredded or flaked coconut
- 8 large egg whites (or 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. pure almond extract (or vanilla)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- chocolate morsels (make sure they're GF)
- Put all the coconut into a large bowl.
- Place the egg whites, sugar, salt, and almond extract into a mixer on medium high until light and foamy.
- Stir the egg mixture into the bowl of coconut and combine well. Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator for at least 1/2 an hour.
- Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly coat with vegetable oil spray.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Either use a 1-inch ice cream scoop, or wet your hands and roll the coconut mixture into tablespoon-sized balls. Space the coconut balls about 1 inch apart.
- Bake the macaroons for 8 minutes, and then switch and rotate them in the oven. Bake for another 8 minutes, or until they are a light golden brown. You may have to cook them longer. If you under-cook these, they'll fall apart when you try to handle them (and especially when dipping them in chocolate).
- Let the macaroons cool completely on the baking sheet (about 30 minutes).
- Once the macaroons are cool, place sheets of wax paper on a table. Fill a microwavable bowl with chocolate morsels and microwave for bursts of 30 seconds at a time, being sure to stir often.
- When your bowl of liquid chocolate is ready, simply dip the bottoms of the macaroons in the chocolate and place on the sheets of wax paper to cool. It may take a while for the chocolate to solidify on the bottom of the macaroons, so cover them with plastic wrap while cooling to keep their insides moist.
- Eat and be merry!