Amazing Sweets, Food Musings
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Coconut Macaroons

coconut macaroons and black cat

Coconut macaroons and a sneaky kitchen cat

Coconut macaroons and macarons. Take away a vowel and you end up with an entirely different treat. In recent years consumers have been fixated on the fussy, creme-filled macaron with one “o.” However, long before the macaron craze there were the sweet, domed cookies known as macaroons.

cat-shaped macarons

Macaroons are often confused with macarons. These are macarons from Macaron Parlour, NYC

First appearing in print in the 17th century, early macaroons consisted of chopped almonds, sugar and egg whites. Sound a bit like the crispy yet chewy, sweetly bitter amaretti? Depending on the food historian with whom you speak, they’re believed to be the inspiration for this Italian cookie or vice versa.

coconut macaroons and a glass of liqueur

Old style way of eating macaroons, with a glass of liqueur

In the early days macaroons were served alongside wine and liqueurs and eaten as a light snack. As time passed, they became part of dessert offerings. They also began to feature ingredients and flavors beyond almonds, including chocolate, cinnamon, lemon and coconut.

Who first replaced the chopped almonds with shredded coconut—the French, Eastern Europeans, Americans—is up for debate. Why they substituted coconut for nuts is no mystery. Crumbly almond meringue cookies don’t travel or keep as well as chewy, pliable coconut ones do. It’s a sensible reason for the creation of a wonderful sweet.

Since these cookies lack a leavening agent, they are a nice Passover treat for Jewish friends. They likewise will be enjoyed by any coconut-loving friends or family.
Makes 3 dozen cookies

1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 1/3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 egg whites

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl mix together the sugar, coconut and salt. Pour the melted butter over the coconut and stir until coated.

egg whites whisked until foamy

Foamy egg whites

In a separate bowl whisk the eggs whites until foamy, about 1 minute. Add them to the coconut and stir until well combined.

unbaked macaroons on a baking sheet

Using a small, OXO Good Grips disher to make evenly sized coconut macaroons.

Using a tablespoon or a small disher, form equal-sized balls and place them in rows on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the pans and cooling them completely on wire racks.

macaroons cooling on a wire rack

Cooling the macaroons

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