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.
About This Recipe
- 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.