Important note: these are the North American coconut macaroons, not the swanky French meringue- and almond-based macarons. (The extra ‘O’ makes all the difference…)
Macaroons are incredibly easy to make. They’re one of those recipes where you read the instructions and think to yourself “That’s it?” I really don’t understand why these aren’t sold at every bake sale or in every Christmas cookie tin. The boys in my family are always so excited about them that I’ve taken to making a double batch every time.
2 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 egg whites
splash of vanilla
Preheat your oven to 350 F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Definitely use parchment paper (or a silicon mat) because these guys have a tendency to stick!
Double check that you got unsweetened coconut – sometimes grocery stores only stock the sweetened stuff and that would make these waaaay too sweet. Seeing I usually need tons of it (for the double recipe), I usually go to a hippie-esque bulk store to get it – they always have unsweetened!
After you’re certain you have the right coconut, put it in your bowl with the sugar and salt and give a quick stir to mix.
Add the egg whites and a splash of vanilla.
Give them a thorough mix, it’ll be quick with a mixer but a tad slower by hand since the egg whites sometimes scoot around before mixing in. (The mixture would look prettier with the clear vanilla, but I’m not concerned… they’ll go golden in the oven anyway!)
Now the fun part… if you like repetitive tasks, that is! (Really, it’s not that bad – plus, the recipe’s been ridiculously simple so far!) Set yourself up a little bowl of water beside the parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Scoop out about 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture onto the cookie sheet (I usually use a measuring spoon or a coffee measure for this). The nicer the heaps you make using the spoon, the less work you’ll make for yourself – since now you shape them into little haystacks using your fingers. In between cookies, dip your fingers in the bowl of water to avoid sticking to them/avoid pulling them apart with your sticky fingers. When you’re done, they’ll look something like this:
Pop them in the oven and wait for them to be golden brown. Martha says that’s 15-20 minutes, but really, I just watch for the right tinge of toasty coconut.
When you pull them out, let them cool for at least 5 minutes before trying to move them. I know, I know… most cookie recipes say that but this is one of those cases where you’ll a) hurt yourself on the hot sugar and/or b) break the macaroons into pieces.
Remove to a cooling rack and hide them from your family!!
I will never understand why the boys love these so much, but they do! Oh and if you somehow broke them (ahem, I warned you about letting them cool!) any disasters can be covered up with a dip in or a drizzle of dark chocolate. Enjoy!