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Bite-Sized Coconut Macaroons

coconut macaroons

 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.

Coconut Macaroons
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

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  • JEP
    August 6, 2007

    Oh my—these sound so good! I have been hankering something made with coconut—and yes, dipped or drizzled with dark chocolate! Your macaroon preferences sound exactly like mine–thanks for the recipe.

  • Debra
    August 7, 2007

    I love your recipes because I too enjoy cookies that have a chewy center & a bit of a crisp on the outside. I also find your entries very helpful because you’re always describing the texture & I know what to expect…plus you actually share the recipes, which some fail to do. Can’t wait to try these…cause I LOVE coconut, thank you for all you do! 🙂

  • mooncrazy
    August 16, 2007

    I’ve seen something called “decicated” coconut. It has a finer texture. Could that be used?

  • Jennifer
    November 8, 2009

    I made these yesturday for my friend as an extra gift for her birthday. They are so yummy and i love that they are bite sized! I drizzled chocolate over them and instantly found them addicting! wonderful recipe and really easy!

  • Stephanie
    June 24, 2011

    Amazingly simple to make! The balls I had made melted a little in the oven but they do taste delicious and still look cute! I will try the cooking with the convection mode next time to accentuate the browning and keep the chewy inside.

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