Freeze dried fruit is something that I see a lot in stores (Trader Joe’s carries a big variety), mostly because it is being marketed as a healthy snack food. I do not like eating freeze dried fruit on its own, but it can be good in cereal and is a great way to add a lot of flavor to baked goods that you couldn’t otherwise get fresh berries into easily. These Raspberry Coconut Macaroons are a perfect example of a recipe that gets a huge flavor boost from freeze dried fruit where you couldn’t easily use fresh raspberries.
Coconut macaroons are simple cookies, usually made with just coconut, egg whites and sugar. They have a crisp exterior and a moist, chewy interior, a great balance of flavor and texture. They are moist, but they are not “wet” inside and whole berries – such as fresh raspberries – will just add too much moisture to your typical macaroon. Freeze dried fruit has a lot of flavor but doesn’t add any moisture and will not take up much space in each cookie, so you can still have bite sized cookies that deliver a lot of raspberry flavor in a perfect macaroon package. The combination seems very spring-like to me, with the zesty raspberry and sweet coconut. The cookies are light and make a great snack any time of day.
If you can’t find freeze dried raspberries, try checking the healthy snack section of your local market. You might be surprised at what is lurking there! Other freeze dried fruits – mango, strawberry, etc. – will also work in these. In a pinch, you could opt for regular dried fruit instead, but that won’t give you the hint of pink that makes these macaroons look oh-so-tasty.
Raspberry Coconut Macaroons
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (6oz) shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 cup freeze dried raspberries
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg whites, sugar and vanilla until well blended and slightly foamy. Stir in shredded coconut.
Coarsely chop freeze dried raspberries and stir into coconut mixture.
Drop 2 tbsp balls of the coconut mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Pack the macaroons together with your fingers to tuck in any stray pieces of coconut.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until macaroons are golden brown around the edges (time will vary slightly by size of the cookies). Cool completely on a wire rack.
Makes 16-20 macaroons.