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Cookies: Coconut Macaroons

The very first Passover Seder I ever went to was a somewhat hastily thrown together potluck hosted my my friend Jessica in college. I remember that we were all sitting together in a large circle on the floor of one of the houses one of our friends was living in off campus that semester. I also remember that I made risotto as my contribution to the potluck and someone else brought a huge container of Manischewitz coconut macaroons. Thus was my first exposure to both a Seder and coconut macaroons.

Fast forward, more years than I care to think about, and Adam and I are getting ready to host our 10th Passover Seder together. I’ve learned a lot in the intervening years, like how to pick out a terrible Haggadah that none of the Jewish people present really like, how to make some kick-ass matzo ball soup, and now, recently, how to make coconut macaroons that leave the pre-packaged mass marketed product in the dust. (I’m trying to make up for the repeated Haggadah failures with the food!)

I found this recipe in, of all places a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that I lifted from my mom years ago that was published in 1953. Yes, it has the requisite “strange” recipes like “Chopstick Tuna”  and “Dried-beef Log” but it also is my most reliable in kitchen source of basic recipes and cooking tables for meat, poultry, and fish. Its chapter on canning is perfect and it has some lost favorites like “Gooseberry Pie” and “Tapioca Pudding”. This one is going to get passed down to my children and grandchildren, just as I suspect it had been to my mother.

*UPDATE 4/14/11: I made another batch and the proportion of coconut was all off. I think it had to do with the density of the coconut shreds. While the weight was the same it resulted in a far greater volume of coconut in the cookies. What makes these cookies special is that they are essentially meringues. When you add the coconut do it slowly and in batches and if the batter appears to be more dense than the picture above stop adding the coconut.

Coconut Macaroons

Adapted slightly from The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (C) 1953

Ingredients

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 pinch salt (I use kosher)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract (my addition)
  • 2/3 cup sugar (I use evaporated cane juice)
  • 3 oz shredded unsweetened coconut

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a stand mixer beat the egg whites and salt with the extracts until sot peaks form.
  3. While beating slowly add in the sugar beating until stiff peaks form.
  4. Using a soft spatula fold in the coconut.
  5. Using a teaspoon measuring spoon drop rounded spoonfuls onto a baking pan lined with a silpat sheet, 12 to a pan.
  6. Bake for 13 minutes.
  7. Makes 24-28 cookies.
  8. Once cooled store in an airtight container for up to 4 days. They will be best the day they are baked.

Cooking time (duration):10

Diet type: Vegetarian

Meal type: dessert