Coconut macaroons


It’s been a rainy weekend. The kind of slow and persistent rain that I take as permission to stay in my loungewear for the better part of the day and ignore the more productive tasks on my to-do list. After all, nature has already made sure that my car gets a good rinsing and my plants get a good watering.

After a good amount of reading and laying around with our dog, I finally roamed into the kitchen to make something decidedly unfussy. I landed on these coconut macaroons, probably because the smell of coconut makes me nostalgic for beach days and the mix of salty air and sweet suntan lotion. Summer is here and these light, sweet coconut mounds are a perfect reminder. Based on Claire Ptak’s recipe in The Violet Bakery Cookbook (with just a few tweaks), they are simple and delightful—toasty and crisp on the outside with an irresistible chewy texture.

I’ve added a bit more coconut and salt and introduced vanilla bean in addition to extract—not just because vanilla does such a brilliant job of amplifying the tropical notes of coconut, but also because I love seeing those tiny black specks suspended in their coconut pillows.

Best of all, this one-pot recipe comes together so quickly you’ll ask yourself why you ever opted for the store-bought stuff.

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  • This recipe calls for caster sugar, which is a superfine sugar often used in baking. You can find it at Whole Foods and other grocers, or order it online. You can also substitute granulated sugar, it’ll just take a bit longer to dissolve.

  • While I love these coconut macaroons on their own, I often serve them dipped in 72% bittersweet or dark chocolate to balance their sweetness. I’ve added instructions for that option below.

  • Keep your hands wet while forming your macaroons to prevent sticking. Rolling the macaroons into balls is easiest, but if you’re crazy crafty like me, you can also hand shape them into pyramids for extra crispy edges. Both versions are delicious.
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Coconut Macaroons

adapted from The Violet Bakery Cookbook

makes about 20 medium-sized macaroons

1/3 vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg whites
250 grams (1 1/4 cups) caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon of your favorite honey
240 grams (2 3/4 cups) unsweetened finely shredded coconut

Heat oven to 355°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Split and scrape your vanilla bean to remove the seeds and add to a medium-sized, heavy-bottom saucepan. Measure out and add the remaining ingredients into the pan and mix together.

Place the pan over medium-low heat and stir continuously for about 7 minutes, until the sugar has melted and the mixture has thickened into a thick, hot coconut dough. Take the pot off the heat and rest until the mixture is cool enough to handle.

Scoop the coconut mass into medium-sized balls (about 30 grams each) or hand shape into pyramids and place on your baking sheet, leaving enough room for them to puff up a bit as they bake. Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until the outside of the macaroons are golden, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking for even toasting.

Let the macaroons cool completely before serving.

For chocolate-dipped macaroons: Melt bittersweet or dark chocolate in a double boiler or heat in the microwave for 20 seconds at a time, mixing in between to prevent the chocolate from burning. Dip the macaroons halfway into the chocolate and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet or plate. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 15 minutes.

Plain or chocolate-dipped macaroons will keep well in an airtight container for up to one week.

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