Sunday, 9 February 2014

Recipe: Coconut Macaroons

A while ago I posted a recipe for Fifteens, a Northern Irish tray-bake which requires a dusting of desiccated coconut around the outside. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), the only bag I could get was 500g, and therefore I ended up with nearly half a kilo in my cupboard and no idea what to do with it. In an attempt to cut down the contents of my tiny kitchen in anticipation of a revamp, I have been trying to use up all of the random tins and packages. The desiccated coconut, however, baffled me somewhat, and so I did what everyone does nowadays when they are not sure about something. I googled.

Macaroons! Marvellous! 

Most of the recipes I found were American. Apparently they are particularly favoured by the Jewish community as Passover treats, because they don't contain a raising agent or any of the forbidden grains - essentially they are a type of enriched meringue. I'm not sure which came first - these ones or the French ones which are on their way out of being in vogue.

There are four reasons I love this recipe. 
1. It's really easy.
2. It only needs 3 ingredients.
3. It's the ultimate go-to for friends with allergies or intolerances: gluten free, dairy free, and low fat. 
4. The low fat bit means you can eat twice as many. Super. 
Makes about 30.

2 eggs, separated.
125g caster sugar
250g dessicated coconut 
(Optional - 1tsp vanilla extract)

Separate the eggs - you only need the whites. You could use the eggs for custard or mayonnaise. 
Whisk the whites in a large bowl, adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time, until they form "stiff peaks" (or, until they go from see-through to white and firm).
Whisk in the coconut.
If you leave the mix on the side for half an hour, then the coconut will soften slightly, but you don't need to if you're impatient or tight for time.
Using two teaspoons, scoop the mixture into balls, about the size of a walnut, and pop them onto a non-stick baking tray. I found that my metal one, lined with parchment, cooked them better than a silicone one.
Bake at 180C for 8-10 minutes, until they start to turn golden. They will still feel soft to touch when you take them out of the oven but they'll crisp up, so don't put them back or they will dry out. 
Allow to cool on the tray before storing in an airtight tupperware. 

These go really well with hot chocolate or coffee - if you're a fan of glacé cherries then press half a cherry into the top of each ball prior to baking. Alternatively, drizzling them with melted chocolate while they are cooling is always an excellent idea.


  1. Definitely making these. Nearly all our baking uses dessicated coconut as S and I are obsessed with coconut. Particularly good addition to banana bread or crumble topping!


    1. Ooh, excellent suggestions for the rest of the bag - will have to give those a go!

  2. baking is the ultimate form of procrastination so I may just give it a go this week:)

    1. Excellent plan. Sustenance for revision and all that!

  3. Right. These need to be made. And you can use dessicated coconut to coat lovely little chocolate truffles if you maybe wanted to make some for you or Mr Foodie Historian for V-Day x

  4. I had no idea these were so easy to make, will definitely need to give them a try! When I think of macaroons I think first of the almond ones I got as a childhood treat from the bakers, then these ones and then last of all the French ones - which have always been a baking disaster for me!

    1. They are really easy, it feels a bit like cheating at baking! I suspect they are a variation on the childhood almond ones - I'd forgotten how tasty they are!

  5. Hmm... I so should not be reading this before having breakfast! Now definitely want something like this instead of boring old porridge!

  6. I love macaroons! Ooooh these will have to be made pretty immediately!