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Coconut Macaroons

A crunchy exterior with a soft, chewy interior makes popular coconut macaroons irresistible. Enjoy them on their own or dipped in melted chocolate.

Baked cookies with the bottoms dipped in chocolate, stacked on a white plate.

HOW TO MAKE COCONUT MACAROONS WITHOUT CONDENSED MILK

I love learning about food history. My research tells me that coconut macaroons were not always coconut. Traditionally, they were made with almonds/almond paste. Hence the name macaroon. It comes from the Italian word ammaccare which means to crush, referring to crushed almonds in the traditional recipe.

But where did coconut macaroon originate? It is said that coconut macaroons originated at an Italian monastery in the 8th or 9th century. And later, these small treats were transported to France and quickly became a staple in French cuisine; and a sought-after Passover dessert since coconut macarons don’t contain any flour.

Cookies stacked on a plate with one cookie cut in half.

WHAT INGREDIENTS DO I NEED TO MAKE COCONUT MACAROONS

This easy macaroon recipe doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. You only need 3 main ingredients to make these coconut cookies: egg whites, coconut, and sugar

  • Egg Whites
  • Coconut – I used desiccated coconut in this recipe, check the notes in the recipe card for sweetened shredded coconut measurements
  • Sugar
  • Cream of Tartar – stabilizes egg whites
  • Salt – balances sweetness
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Almond Extract (optional)
  • Melted Dark Chocolate (optional)
Bowls with ingredients.

PREPARE SWISS MERINGUE

In this recipe, I use Swiss meringue to ensure that the coconut batter can withstand some mixing and doesn’t deflate immediately when you start folding the meringue into the coconut; it’s also silkier and smoother than French meringue, and easier to prepare than Italian meringue. Learn more about different meringues (via Cuisine at Home).

I use room-temperature egg whites ( you can use the remaining egg yolks to make the cookie dough for mini tart shells or make cookies with it – they are amazing), granulated sugar, and cream of tartar. If you don’t have the cream of tartar, you can substitute for teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice or white distilled vinegar. Why do I use cream of tartar? It loosens the tight protein chains in the egg whites, allowing more air to be beaten into them, thus, making the meringue with more volume.

A stainless steel bowl with egg whites, sugar, and cream of tarter whisked together.

Using au-bain marie, simmer about 1 inch of water in the pot, and place a larger heat-resistant bowl with the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar on the top of the pot with simmering water. Whisk the egg whites until all of the sugar is dissolved. You can test it by rubbing the mixture between your fingers (step 3). Continue heating the mixture until it reaches 160F-170F (71C-76C).

If you don’t own a candy thermometer, no worries. You can easily make it without. Heat egg whites mixture until it gets too hot to touch, and then continue heating and whisking for 4-5 minutes longer. The whole process takes about 8 minutes.

A pot with boiling water, a stainless steel bowl with egg whites, and sugar sitting on the top.

Using the stand or hand-held mixer, beat the soapy egg white mixture until medium-stiff peaks are formed. Add Vanilla and Almond Extract (if using) and continue beating until stiff peaks are formed (steps 1-5).

A stainless steel bowl with whipped meringue.

COCONUT MACAROON BATTER

To make macaroons, I use unsweetened desiccated coconut with a fine texture. However, you can also use sweetened shredded variety (check the recipe notes for details)

A blue bowl with desiccated coconut.

To balance the sweetness of the cookies, I add salt to the coconut.

A bowl with desiccated coconut.

The trick to the airy coconut-meringue batter is the mixing method – folding.

I fold the meringue into the coconut. It’s important not to add all of the meringue to the coconut simultaneously. Start with just a large dollop of meringue, and once the coconut is moistened, add more meringue and carefully fold it into the coconut (steps 1-5).

A bowl with the mixed cookie batter.

SHAPING THE MACAROONS

Shaping cookies is a breeze. Use a cookie scoop (1.5 inches) and drop mounds of coconut batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone mat. (steps 1-3).

Hand holding a cookie scoop filled with cookie batter.

BAKING THE MACAROONS

Bake coconut macaroons in the preheated oven, at 325F (160C), for 14-15 minutes, until lightly golden.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a minute and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Mounds of coconut batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

HOW TO STORE MACAROONS: CAN I FREEZE MACAROONS?

Store macaroons in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days and in the fridge for 8-10 days. You can safely freeze macarons for up to 3 months.

Baked cookies in a plastic container.

COCONUT MACAROONS DIPPED IN CHOCOLATE

If you wish to dip your cookies in chocolate, you can do that easily by melting the chocolate and dipping the bottom of the cookies in chocolate. I added two teaspoons of shortening to the melted chocolate to avoid having to temper the chocolate. If you are working with a chocolate bar, chop it with a serrated knife and melt it in the microwave (in 10-second increments), stirring between each heating. Or you can melt the chopped chocolate over a pot of simmering water.

Chopped chocolate and shortening in a small bowl on a cutting board.

Dip the bottom of each cookie in melted chocolate and place it onto a tray lined with wax paper. Chill cookies in the fridge for 10 minutes until the chocolate sets. Store cookies in an airtight container.

A tray lined with wax paper with cookies dipped in chocolate on the top.
Hand holding a cookie, dipping it in melted chocolate

Once chocolate sets, carefully remove cookies from the tray and store them in an airtight container.

Cookies dipped in chocolate on a tray lined with wax paper.

COCONUT MACAROONS SUCCESS TIPS

  • Can I use sweetened shredded coconut in place of desiccated in this recipe? Yes, you can use sweetened shredded coconut. Use these measurements: 2/3 cup sugar, and 200 grams of sweetened shredded coconut, pulsed in the food processor, or chop it with a knife, to break up large shreds. Cookies may take a little longer to bake and you can let them get lightly golden.
  • Why are my cookies dry?  Don’t flatten the mounds of coconut batter. Add a piece of bread to the container where you store your cookies to soften the cookies this.
  • Don’t overbake. Overbaked cookies will most likely be dry and crumbly. Don’t let the cookies get too dark. They should be pale in color.
  • Folding, not mixing the cookie batter. Fold meringue into the coconut gently, don’t stir it. Stirring will deflate the meringue. You are looking for fluffy, airy batter.
A close-up of sliced cookie on a plate.

MORE DELICIOUS RECIPES WITH COCONUT

Baked cookies stacked on a white plate.

Coconut macaroons

The recipe makes 26-30 cookies, Bake at 325F/160C for 12-14 minutes.
Serving size: 2 cookies
Course Cake, Candy, Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine French, Italian
Keyword chewy coconut macaroons, coconut macaroons
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 15 servings
Author Hani

Ingredients

COCONUT MACAROONS

Coconut Batter

  • 4 egg whites (120 grams)
  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar (250grams)
  • 3 cups desiccated coconut (255 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/8 tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Almond Extract optional

Dipping Chocolate

  • 1/2 lb half pound (226 grams), chocolate chips or chopped chocolate bar
  • 2 teaspoons Crisco or another shortening

Instructions

COCONUT MACAROONS

    Coconut Batter

    • In a bowl, stir desiccated coconut (3 cups, 250grams) and a table salt (1/8 teaspoon).
    • In a grease-free heat-safe bowl, combine 4 egg whites (120 grams), granulated sugar (1 ¼ cup, 250 grams), and cream of tartar (1/2 teaspoon).
    • Place the bowl over a pot with simmering water, constantly stirring, until all of the sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes. If you are unsure if sugar is dissolved, you can do a simple test. Rub the soapy-looking mixture between your fingers. Sugar is dissolved if the mixture is smooth and you don’t feel any graininess. If you feel sugar crystals, continue heating for a few more minutes. Heat the mixture until it reaches 160F-170F.
    • Remove the mixing bowl from the heat and beat the egg white mixture on low speed until soft peaks are formed. Increase speed to medium-high, and beat in Vanilla Extract (1 teaspoon) until meringue can hold a stiff peak.
    • Gradually fold the meringue into desiccated coconut.
    • With a 1.5-inch cookie scoop, measure the coconut batter and divide it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, spacing it about one inch apart.
    • Bake coconut macaroons in the preheated oven at 325F(160C) for 12-14 minutes until they have just a touch of color. If you bake them for too long, they will dry out.
    • Remove from the oven. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, and then transfer onto the cooling rack, and let cool completely.

    Chocolate for Dipping

    • Melt Chocolate in the Microwave
    • Into a microwave-safe bowl, pour chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (1/2lb, 226 grams). Add shortening (2 teaspoons). Heat chocolate in the microwave for 40 seconds at 50% power. Stir well and heat chocolate in 15-second intervals, stirring vigorously for 15-30 seconds between each heating, until the chocolate is melted.
    • Melt Chocolate on the Stove
    • Into stainless steel bowl, pour chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (1/2lb, 226 grams). Add shortening (2 teaspoons) Place the bowl with chocolate on top of the pot with simmering water. Don’t let the simmering water touch the bottom of the bowl with the chocolate. Stirring frequently, let the steam melt chocolate. Stir well with a spoon until chocolate and shortening are combined.

    Dip Coconut Macaroons

    • Allow the melted chocolate to cool slightly, about 5-10 minutes, until it nicely coats the back of the spoon.
    • Line a tray with wax paper. Dip the bottom of each cooled coconut macaroon in chocolate. Place chocolate-dipped macaroons onto the tray lined with wax paper. Refrigerate until the chocolate sets—store macaroons in an airtight container at room temperature for three days and in the fridge for 8-10 days. You can safely freeze macarons for up to 3 months.

    Notes

    Can I use sweetened shredded coconut in place of desiccated in this recipe? Yes, you can use sweetened shredded coconut. Use these measurements: 1/2 cup sugar, and 300 grams of sweetened shredded coconut, pulsed in the food processor, or chop it with a knife, to break up large shreds. Cookies may take a little longer to bake, about 20 minutes. Bake until golden brown.

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