A simple recipe for easy coconut macaroons made with sweetened condensed milk and finely shredded coconut. The perfect gluten-free cookie for entertaining!
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So here’s the deal with coconut macaroons: They can be really good, or they can be really bad. Which conjures the question, “What is it that makes a good macaroon?” We’ll cover this and more, but alas, I’ll leave you in suspense no longer. The macaroons you’ll find here? No worries. They’re the really good ones.
In fact, I’m not even a coconut lover, but these cookies are nothing if not addictive. The last time I served these, every single guest went back for seconds. All of them. And, who could blame them? They’re perfectly moist, full of flavor, dipped in chocolate, and completely legit.
The first couple of macaroon recipes I tested left something to be desired. They mainly consisted of shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped egg whites. And, while I realize short and simple can be a time-saver, I would have to argue that we can add way more flavor to a macaroon, with little effort and just a couple of extra ingredients.
Before we get into how to make them better, let’s first touch on what they are.
WHAT ARE COCONUT MACAROONS
When I first hear the word macaroon, I immediately envision a stack, light as air, of French pastel sandwich cookies. This is not the same cookie as a coconut macaroon. Coconut macaroons aren’t necessarily dense, but they certainly aren’t light as air. Coconut macaroons bake up golden brown on the outside and offer up a pleasingly chewy interior.
HOW TO MAKE COCONUT MACAROONS
Coconut macaroons begin the same as their airy cousin, the French macaroon, with egg whites. It’s important to note here that the eggs white are beaten to stiff peaks, which means if you were to take the beaters and point them toward the ceiling, the egg whites would stand stiffly on the beaters, without drooping down. For a tutorial on whipping up eggs white and their various “peak” stages, see the video below:
Whipping egg whites can certainly be done by hand, but this is one of those tasks I’ll gladly hand over to technology. I typically use my stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and let that beauty do all the work for me.
If you don’t have a stand mixer, you could always use a handheld mixer (see Cuisinart’s Hand Held Mixer on Amazon.com), which is almost as efficient as using the stand mixer. And, if you’re really set on doing things the old-fashioned way, pull out your best whisk (see Oxo Good Grip’s Better Balloon Whisk on Amazon.com), and get to work.
I don’t use condensed milk very often, but I seriously love the flavor it adds to coconut macaroons, almost reminiscent of vanilla pudding. Vanilla extract and salt are added to the condensed milk, and while this next ingredient isn’t necessarily the norm for coconut macaroons, go ahead and add in those leftover eggs yolks as well. People, you would not believe the difference it makes. The yolks not only add more moisture to the macaroons, they add a lovely richness as well.
Another important ingredient to this macaroon recipe is the use of finely shredded coconut. I used Bob’s Red Mill Fine Macaroon Coconut for this recipe, and it is the only coconut I have ever used for my macaroons. The finely shredded coconut makes for a much more pleasing bite, and I just adore the way the cookie shapes up because of it.
The finely shredded coconut is mixed with the condensed milk mixture and it’s back to the egg white — they’re kind of important.
Coconut macaroons are gluten-free and contain no flour. Flour is a binder, meaning it holds other ingredients together, among other things. However, with no flour being present in the recipe, we now look to the egg whites to not only bind the ingredients together but also add a little volume to the cookie. And, if we want this cookie to have any “umph” at all, we are going to have to take it easy on the egg whites.
The egg whites were beaten to stiff peaks, and we want to do our best to maintain the integrity of those stiffly beaten egg whites. Therefore, we DO NOT STIR in the eggs — we fold. The macaroons are then baked on either a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, and let me tell you, the bottoms can be a bit sticky when they first come out of the oven, so no skipping that step. When they are finished, they come out a perfectly beautiful golden-brown, and are ready for their final reveal…or are they?
TO DIP OR NOT TO DIP…IN CHOCOLATE
Are we sure that’s even a real question? Of course you should dip your coconut macaroons in chocolate. It’s delicious and extremely easy. The only product I use these days for dipping just about anything in chocolate are Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Melting Wafers. It’s the next best thing to chopped and melted down chocolate, and you don’t have to worry about all the tempering, seizing, and blooming. Yes, please.
However, if you’re in a time pinch or, dare I say aloud, you don’t like chocolate [insert cringing face, here] you could easily skip this step and move right along to enjoying your chocolate-free macaroons [still cringing].
Chocolate-dipped, gluten-free, chewy cookie paradise, these easy coconut macaroons are in a word — heavenly. And, now for a legitimate question, not like all that crazy chocolate business from before: To share? Or not to share. Now that, my friends, is the question. Please, enjoy.
A simple recipe for easy coconut macaroons made with sweetened condensed milk and finely shredded coconut.
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 (12 ounce) package of Bob's Red Mill Macaroon Unsweetened Coconut
- 1 (10 ounce) package Ghirardelli's Dark Melting Wafers
Preheat the oven to 325° and have ready a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
Add the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. If you do not have a stand mixer, use a medium-sized mixing bowl, and a hand-held mixer or balloon whisk.
Beat the eggs on high speed until they have reached stiff peaks. Set aside until ready to use.
Add the egg yolks to a large mixing bowl, followed by the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Whisk to combine. Stir in the coconut.
Add the egg whites one scoop at a time, gently folding into the coconut mixture after each addition. Once all of the egg whites have been incorporated into the coconut mixture, scoop heaping tablespoons of batter onto the baking mat, spacing each dough round about 1" apart.
Bake the cookies for 24-26 minutes, or until golden-brown in color. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Have ready a work surface lined with wax paper. Melt the chocolates according to package directions. Dip the bottom of each cookie into the melted chocolate, and allow for the excess to drip away. Transfer to the wax paper, and allow the chocolate to set up completely, about 30-45 minutes at room temperature. Serve and enjoy.
Add an additional 30-45 minutes to your time if dipping the macaroons in chocolate so they may have time to set up and harden.
Makes about 30-32 coconut macaroons.