Macaroons have found themselves in the history of several cultures. Italian Jews like their version because they can make a Passover-friendly version without flour or a leavening agent.
Americans have such a love for them they've created a very popular candy bar, the Almond Joy, which is constructed of a coconut macaroon-like center and a milk chocolate coating (I'm hoping you've heard of it). Turkish sweet teeth enjoy a cookie made from ground bitter almonds and egg whites. Unlike the American version, they are light-as-a-feather and very crispy, similar to a one of my all-time favorites, the Italian amaretti cookie.
For this holiday baking season, I've decided to create a collision of cultures with this recipe for a soft and chewy coconut macaroon, made even better by adding one of the greatest ingredients ever—almond paste! The result is a not-too-sweet confection that has an intense coconut and almond flavor, with a slight hint of caramel.
So no matter what holiday you'll be celebrating this season, give this recipe a try. It's super-easy, requires not a single fancy kitchen gadget (unless you consider your hands fancy), and would be a perfect recipe to make with kids.
But be warned: these cookies are highly-addictive. After making a batch at home, I proceeded to eat about a dozen of my 18, leaving very little for others. You may want to consider a double-batch yourself.
About the author: Jenny McCoy is the pastry chef at A Voce in New York City. When she's not covered in flour or frying bomboloni, you can find her strolling the streets of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, with her little dog Olive.
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 7-ounce bag of sweetened shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup grated almond paste
- One pinch of sea salt
Preheat over to 325°F.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until very frothy. Add the remaining ingredients and mix by hand until well-combined.
Form little haystacks, about a heaping teaspoon in size, using your fingertips and palm. (Have a bowl of water nearby for dipping sticky fingers while shaping.)
Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until a nice golden brown and set. Let cookies sit at room temperature until cool.
Eat immediately or store in an airtight container to keep moist.