Coconut macaroons have been my favorite cookie from childhood on. I am a huge fan of coconut and I love the crispy meringue with the chewy coconut combination. I have two recipes to share for coconut macaroons, one with the egg whites whipped into meringue and the other with most of the ingredients mixed together and heated before baking. The coconut meringue macaroons are best served the same day because the meringue tends to dry out and crumble in the next couple days, but the other kind stay moist for a few days. Either recipe is sure to please!
The non-meringue cookies can easily be made sugar-free and gluten-free, while the meringue ones are naturally gluten-free.
The meringue recipe comes from my old Pillsbury Kitchen Cookbook that I have had since high school. It is hard to find a coconut macaroon recipe that calls for whipping the egg whites until stiff, but that is how to make them so amazing. The second recipe comes from Baking At Home with The Culinary Institute of America and I love how quickly it comes together.
COCONUT MERINGUE MACAROONS
- 2 egg whites
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract, optional
- 1 1/2 cups flaked coconut (Baker’s brand is best) or sweetened macaroon coconut
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two large cookie sheets. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt until frothy. Gradually add sugar (about one tablespoon at a time), beating continually until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold in extracts and coconut by hand until completely incorporated. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets, two inches apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool one minute and then move to cooling racks.
Makes about 24 cookies. Recipe may be doubled or tripled. Store airtight at room temperature.
CHEWY COCONUT MACAROONS
- 1 cup sugar, divided use
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch or all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 cups shredded coconut
- 6 large egg whites
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest or 1/8 teaspoon orange oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon almond or coconut extract
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Combine 1/3 cup of the sugar with the tapioca starch or flour. Set aside.
In the top of a double boiler, combine the remaining 2/3 cup sugar, coconut, and egg whites. Stir constantly while heating over simmering water until it thickens and holds together, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and fold in the sugar mixture, orange zest or oil, and extracts.
Drop by tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets about two inches apart and shape into neat mounds. Bake until light golden brown but still soft enough to give slightly when pressed lightly, 20-25 minutes. Transfer the cookies while still on parchment paper to a wire cooling rack. They will lift off the paper easily when completely cool.
Makes about 32 cookies. Store airtight a few days at room temperature. Delicious with the bottoms dipped in melted chocolate.
NOTE: To make these sugar-free, I substituted the first 1/3 cup sugar with date sugar and the 2/3 cup sugar with 1/3 cup honey. To only use honey, simply use 1/2 cup honey mixed in with the coconut and egg whites, and then fold in the tapioca starch or flour after heating the egg white mixture.