I recently moved to London with my wife and haven’t really had the chance yet get a full kitchen set up. I’ve got baking tools scattered about all over the place, in boxes and suitcases. Plus there’s so many more kitchen essentials that I need to buy. It was sad to leave all of my baking pans behind in the move, but at least I found them good homes. So when I was heading to the in-laws this Christmas, I needed a simple and stunning recipe to make. Everyone in the family knows that I’m an avid baker, so I couldn’t show up without bringing something sweet from my kitchen.
When I was growing up, coconut macaroons were a sign of Passover, where they were a staple of the leavening-free desserts available. I remember tucking into the tins of vanilla and chocolate-flavored macaroons every year. While I’ll always remember those manufactured macaroons fondly, given the chance I’ll always choose to munch down on these homemade ones instead.
This is a great beginner recipe, with just a handful of ingredients needed and very simple instructions. These are so easy and fast to make that you’ll start keeping a stockpile of shredded coconut in your pantry at all times. If you don’t fashion yourself as much of a baker, this recipe is a great way to dip your toes into the wonderful world of baking. The most likely problem you’ll run into is that they crumble on you when forming the haystack shape. If this happens, just press and pinch the mixture firmly and it should hold together better. Overbaking and burning is easy to avoid, since the white coconut shows the smallest traces of browning. Let them get some nice color on the top and edges, just not so much that they become charcoal haystacks.
I took a little extra time this go around and made a time-lapse video of the entire process. In case you’re not already convinced that they’re easy to make, give it a watch and you’ll see just how to turn a pile of ingredients into the most wonderful little coconut mounds. That’s right, in just two minutes and twenty seconds you too can make three dozen beautiful chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons… Well it might take you a little bit longer, but not much.
When it comes to adding the chocolate in this recipe, there’s really no strict rule. I like to dip the bottoms in chocolate, though nice chocolate stripes across the top of the macaroon is another excellent way to go. I usually keep a few chocolate-free macaroons in case anyone doesn’t like chocolate (gasp!). One thing I would recommend against is completely coating the macaroons in chocolate. I accidentally dropped one in the chocolate when making them last month and the chocolate overpowered that great toasted coconut flavor. Or should I be spelling that ‘flavour’ now that I’m in the UK? Ha, well I’m sticking to my American English habits for the moment, but keep on the lookout for extra u’s slipping into my writing. Enjoy!
- 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 2 3/4 cups (260 g) unsweetened shredded or desiccated coconut
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 8 ounces (225 g) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 °F (175 °C) with a rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar, coconut, egg whites, vanilla, and salt. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together thoroughly.
- Dampen your hands with cold water. Take about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mixture and form it into a haystack shape in your hands. Press firmly to compact the mixture so that it doesn't fall apart. Place the haystack on the prepared baking sheet. Continue with the remaining mixture, rewetting your hands if the mixture starts to stick to them. Place the haystacks about 1-inch (2 cm) apart on the baking sheet.
- Bake until golden brown, about 10-20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once slightly cool, the macaroons can be removed from the baking pan.
- Place a clean piece of parchment paper on a cool baking tray and set aside.
- Place 3/4 of the chopped chocolate over a double boiler and stir until melted. Remove the chocolate bowl from the double boiler and stir in the remaining chopped chocolate until smooth.
- Dip the bottom of a cooled macaroon into the chocolate and twist until the bottom edge is coated all around. Lift out of the chocolate and gently shake off the excess chocolate. Place onto the clean parchment paper until cool. Repeat with the remaining macaroons.
- To cool the chocolate-dipped macaroons faster, place the tray in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes.
- The macaroons can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.