There are many different ways to make a macaroon. Some are almost meringues, ethereally light with minimal amounts of coconut. Others are dense and sticky, rich with ingredients like coconut cream or sweetened condensed milk. They can be cooked until just barely firm enough to hold together or until crisp and brown on the outside, with a hint of crunch from caramelized sugar.
I’m a fan of coconut macaroons, but I rarely eat them since I’m a bit picky about how I like them to taste. I like macaroons that are crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle. The main ingredients should be sugar, coconut and egg whites; I don’t like them to be heavy or overly moist. And, I like them to be well browned, since I feel it gives them a homemade look that pale, storebought macaroons never manage to have. These Bite-Sized Coconut Macaroons fit the bill perfectly.
I was inspired by a photo of some tiny macaroons in Donna Hay’s Modern Classics 2, where the macaroons were appealingly golden. In the photo in the book, no large shreds of coconut were visible in the finished cookies. I began to work with the basic recipe. My first batch was lumpy and all shreds (delicious, but far from perfect), but the cookies improved from there. I ended up adding a bit of cornstarch to help the cookies hold together and shredding the pre-shredded coconut more finely by pulsing it in my food processor before mixing all the ingredients together. A splash of rum (vanilla extract would be a fine substitute) was my finishing touch and the macaroons were in the oven, baking up perfectly. Like Donna Hay’s originals, I kept these small and used an actual teaspoon to measure out heaping spoonfuls to produce round, crisp-on-the-outside-chewy-in-the-middle macaroons – just as I like them.
As a variation, you could dip these in chocolate or add a bit of citrus zest to the batter, as well.
4 cups shredded, sweetened coconut (unsweetened is fine, too)
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp rum (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Place shredded coconut into a food processor bowl and pulse several times until coconut is finely chopped (not into coconut flour, but into approx. small, rice-sized bits).
In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites, sugar and salt until smooth. Whisk in cornstarch and rum. Stir in coconut, making sure the entire mixture is an even consistency.
Drop by rounded teaspoons (so roughly 2 tsp balls, if using a standard measure) onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden on the bottom and top.
Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 3 – 3 1/2 dozen