What is there to say about coconut macaroons?
This was a cookie I feared/didn’t understand as a child. (But really, anything that wasn’t a gooey chocolate chip cookie just seemed inferior when I was 10.) Thank goodness my tastes have grown up, because coconut? It’s awesome.
Normally when I have extra egg whites lying around, I make French macarons. But honestly, sometimes I just don’t have the energy to make cookies that take hours of effort and leave a pile of dirty dishes in their wake.
The answer, obviously, is coconut macaroons! Delicious and simple from start to finish!
Plus (and please don’t think of these as dirty words) these cookies are not only gluten free, but also dairy free! Yes, even with the chocolate. Perfect storm.
I love how easy coconut macaroons are. The best advice I can give, though, is to start with a fresh bag of shredded coconut. You know, where the coconut is still all moist and juicy and sticky? Dried out coconut will ultimately produce very chewy macaroons, which is just not as awesome.
Then, eventually, you will start to discern the individual coconut shreds again. When this happens, while it still looks wet and sticky and before the mixture becomes dried out, remove it from the heat.
When the batter (is that the right word here?) is cooled, stir in the vanilla.
Grab a very large cookie scoop. Mine probably holds 1½ tbsp., maybe 2. Scoop the coconut mixture onto a lined cookie sheet. Press any wayward coconut strands back into a dome shape. This is a slightly sticky operation, but just keep at it. If you absolutely must, you can dip your cookie scoop (or your fingers) in warm water to clean them somewhat.
I got exactly 18 cookies out of this. If you decide to go smaller (but why would you? a delicious mountain of coconut meringue awaits), don’t forget that you will need to decrease your baking time, as well!
Now comes the fun part: decorating! I was making these cookies to share with my mom, who has several food intolerances, so I used these fabulous allergy-friendly chocolate chips called Enjoy Life. I can find them at Target, but I don’t see them in my regular grocery store. Go figure. Obviously you can also buy them online…. Anyway, these chocolate chips are fabulous. Nothing about them implies that they are dairy free, from their flavor to their texture. They are perfect. And they melt like a dream!
Just combine the chocolate chips with a splash of very hot full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream. (If you don’t tend to stock fancy schmancy ingredients like these, feel free to use regular chocolate chips and heavy cream! But if you love someone who can’t eat dairy, they will be over the moon when you give them dairy-free chocolate ganache.) Wait for the chips to warm up, then whisk until smooth.
Dip the bottoms of the baked macaroons into the ganache and set them back onto the lined cookie sheet. If you have any extra ganache (I did), you can also drizzle the tops with chocolate!
Let the chocolate set in the fridge. I also recommend storing these in the fridge in an airtight container, as coconut milk will spoil if left out too long (plus, this ganache doesn’t set as solid as its dairy-based counterparts, so chilling will prevent sticky mess).
lightly adapted from A Homemade Life
3 cups lightly packed sweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup sugar
5 egg whites (about ¾ cup total)
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. (about ⅔ cup) Enjoy Life allergy-friendly chocolate chips (or regular semisweet chips)
¼–½ cup full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream (or heavy cream)
Combine the coconut, sugar, and egg whites in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, about 10–15 minutes, until the mixture looses its creamy appearance and begins to look like a clump of wet coconut. Do not allow the mixture to dry out completely.
Remove from heat and transfer the coconut mixture to a pie plate or small baking dish. Chill for 30 minutes, or until completely cool.
Heat the oven to 300°. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment.
Remove the cooled coconut mixture from the fridge and stir in the vanilla. Scoop in large, firmly packed domes (about 2 tbsp. each) onto the prepared baking sheet. Leave at least 1½″ between each dome so the outsides of all the macaroons can brown evenly.
Bake for 30 minutes, until golden and set. Cool completely on the pan.
Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl. Heat the coconut milk in the microwave about 30 seconds, until steamy. Pour the coconut milk over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. If necessary, heat the ganache in the microwave for 15 seconds to help the chocolate chips melt completely.
Dip the bottoms of the macaroons in the chocolate and return each to the lined cookie sheet. If there is any extra ganache, drizzle over the tops of the macaroons.
Chill in the fridge until completely set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.