The French macaron has become trendy in the past few years (my favorite flavors are earl grey, rose, and pistachio), leading to an occasional need for clarification between that cookie and the coconut macaroon. The similarity is in more than just the name; the two cookies are derived from a common almond-based ancestor, and both are based on a flourless mixture of nuts and whipped egg whites. The chocolate or chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons that come in a can were one of my favorite things as a kid, but were too expensive to buy often. Or at least, price was the explanation my parents typically gave for why I couldn’t just eat cookies all day. Anyway I wish I’d known how simple they are to make.
My favorite recipe for macaroons is Alton Brown’s, (because it only has five ingredients, and because it involves toasting the coconut) with some slight modifications: I prefer to use unsweetened coconut, which makes a lighter, crunchier cookie (if you want them like the ones that come in the can, use sweetened coconut), and to drizzle them with chocolate. I’ve also used extracts other than vanilla in the past, since I have a large collection of flavor extracts. Pandan was a pretty good choice since it is usually paired with coconut. Since I have two bags of unsweetened coconut (they’re 8 oz, so I went ahead and used both; a little over the 14 oz called for and I’m ok with that) I’d been thinking about making these for a while; I just didn’t have enough eggs to spare. I have 25 eggs now, and i’m considering making an angel food cake.
First I toasted my coconut for about 10 min, stirring it about every 3, rather than the 20 minutes recommended, because it got brown pretty fast. My oven may run hotter than Alton Brown’s, or maybe sugar keeps the coconut from burning. The coconut is going to be baked again so it’s especially important not to burn it.
The recipe uses the whites of four eggs. They get whipped with the sugar until stiff peaks form, then I folded in the coconut, vanilla (my mom sent me a bottle of vanilla for my birthday) and salt.
I baked them for about twelve minutes (4 pans, 2 at a time).
Then I moved the macaroons to a rack with a pan underneath, melted some semisweet chocolate chips (the chocolate has bloomed; this is fine) by microwaving them for 15 seconds, then stirring, and repeating until melted (heating for longer can burn the chocolate) and drizzled on top. Once fully cooled, the chocolate will harden.