I love giving presents. I love seeing a person light up when you give them a pretty package bound together with a gorgeous ribbon, and find something special inside. Lately, I’ve found that people get even more excited when that ‘something special’ is food or baked goods. Usually I’m a fan of cookies or brownie bites since they have a longer shelf life, can fit into a tin so well, and are pretty easy to bake up… but this time I thought I’d give coconut macaroons a try. Good decision.
I used to swear by the Cook’s Illustrated / America’s Test Kitchen. That is until I tried these simple coconut macaroons by Culinary Institute of America (CIA). No condensed milk or sweetened shredded coconut or cream of coconut (yes that’s a real product). Just a few simple ingredients – egg whites, sugar, a bit of flour, vanilla extract, and the true star, unsweetened shredded coconut.
A batch comes together easily enough for a present, a hostess gift, or just for yourself paired with a cup of tea. I’m serious. Try them out and let me know what you think. Another thing that’s great is that this is just the base. They are just barely sweet, and have a warm hearty sort of feeling. You can add chocolate chips, nuts, cranberries… whatever your little heart desires. Hah, I know I sound like a sales(wo)man right now, but this is by far one of the easiest things to make that will wow just about anyone.
Coconut Macaroons from Culinary Institute of America
1 cup sugar (divided use 1/3 + 2/3)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (either one package of Red Mill or you can use the open bins at Whole Foods)
6 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 – 8 ounces of melted chocolate (optional – for dipping)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine 1/3 cup of the sugar with the flour and set aside.
- Combine the remaining 2/3 cup sugar, the coconut, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Heat over simmering water, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and holds together, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Fold in the flour mixture and vanilla extract.
- Drop tablespoonfuls of batter onto the prepared cookie sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart and shaping into neat mounds as needed. The mixture is sticky so wet your fingertips before doing this.
- Bake until the macaroons are a light golden brown on the outside but still soft enough to give slightly when you press them lightly with your fingertip, 22 to 25 minutes.
- Transfer the macaroons, still on the parchment paper, to a wire rack to cool completely. When cool, they will lift off easily.
- Dip in or drizzle on chocolate if you’d like. Personally it’s my favorite combo