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Coconut Macaroons-Where Did I Go Wrong?

I was very excited about making coconut macaroons for the first time tonight. I had visions of those like at Foster's Market in Durham, NC---insanely huge, very crispy, just enough coconut in the batter but not overwhelmingly so. I used Ina Garten's recipe which happens to be the EXACT same as that posted on Epicurious.com. Basically, it is two large egg whites beaten to medium firm peaks w/ 1/4 tspn of salt; in separate bowl, mix 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 tspn vanilla, 1 bag of sweetened coconut flakes. Fold the beaten egg whites into the batter, bake at 325 degrees.

The cookies immediately started to spread and puddle when I put them into the oven. Also, it seemed to take almost double the 25-30 min it should have taken to bake the cookies. My oven tends to run a little hot and not under the stated temperature. They also stuck horribly to my silpat and also did not brown properly around the edges. They were still okay in taste but definitely not what I was hoping to eat.

Two questions:
1) Why did the cookies puddle? I've read lots of reviews for different macaroon recipes where half state this same thing happened to them.
2) How can I get my cookies to have a great coconut flavor, have a nice height to them, but have the same shine and chewy tenderness that a parisian macaroon has? I've seen some recipes that use flour or angel food cake mix. Could that solve my problem?

Thanks in advance!
Gina

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  1. i'm sure others will chime in to give you other ideas, but it sounds to me like you overbeat your egg whites, altering the proteins, and the puddling resulted from the resulting separation.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Emme

      I made the exact recipe a few weeks ago and experience some spreading even after chiling the dough for a few hours in the fridge as directed. It was okay in taste (actually quite good especially aftr drizzled with dark chocolate) and I enjoyed eating the trimmings. They did take much longer to cook and stuck to my parchment paper if I tried to remove them before they were completely cool. Someone told me to add a tablespoon of fine flour or cornstarch to next batch. I probably won't make them again until Christmas

    2. I'm no expert on macaroons or anything but it could have been the humidity. Humidity often affects how a meringue turns out so it could be affecting your cookies. Another tip would be to maybe let the cookies dry out a little before baking them. Drying works for french macarons but I'm not sure about coconut ones.

      1. I made coconut macaroons two weeks ago. I wasn't thrilled with them, but they definitely didn't puddle. It was a recipe I'd cut out of New York Magazine. (Please don't ask me why I was trusting a recipe from New York Magazine. I think it was because they were described as "gooey." But they weren't gooey enough for me.) They tasted okay, did have great coconut flavor, didn't flatten, and didn't stick. I just didn't like the texture very much. No shine, and not enough of the "chewy tenderness" both of us seem to be searching for. Would you settle for three out of five? Just kidding, of course. But if you're interested in fiddling with it, here's a link to the recipe: http://nymag.com/restaurants/recipes/...

        1. I live in Alabama and it did rain some yesterday afternoon. It was a little humid yesterday and I suspect that probably did affect the beaten egg whites.

          From doing some research last night, I have a feeling that I am looking for more cake-like macaroons w/finer bits of coconuts rather than the big flakes. I'm going to play around w/it tonight and I will post back.

          Thanks everyone!

          3 Replies
          1. re: gyp7318

            When you are beating the egg whites add about 1/8 tsp to them to help stablize them so the will be less prone to deflating from any fat in the condensed milk.

              1. re: MMRuth

                Yeah, no more is needed or just a few drops of lemon juice. The same goes for making souffles. If you get too much in the souffle of macroons will be bitter.

          2. If it's a crisp, tall macaroon you want, you simply won't get it with a recipe with condensed milk. You'll get moist and chewy--it's the nature of the ingredient.

            A recipe with just egg whites, sugar, coconut and flavorings should give you a result more like what you're after.

            3 Replies
            1. re: sfmiller

              I made the recipe from David Lebovitz' book last month-- they were wonderful. I'm not sure what a Parisian macaroon is like, but these are very crisp and tall--

              8 egg whites
              2 1/2 cups sugar
              1/2 tsp salt
              2 T honey
              5 cups unsw. coconut
              1/2 cup flour
              1 tsp vanilla
              (he calls for dipping them in melted bittersweet choc. afterwards; I didn't bother)

              (paraphrased)
              In a heavy pan, warm the egg whites, sugar, salt, and honey-- till warm to the touch--stirring over medium heat.

              Stir in coconut, flour and vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly until it's slightly dry and starts to sizzle on the bottom of the pot.

              When cool enough to handle, form into mounds with your fingers and space on parchment lined cookie sheets.

              My husband, who is a real lover of macaroons, went nuts over these.

              Bake 18-20 minutes, rotating and switching racks so that they cook evenly.

              1. re: DGresh

                Interesting recipe. It's really close to the one I used, except I didn't cook the whole batter in the pan on the stove. BTW, I wonder if I can use sweetened coconut. Did you have any problems w/the cookies "weeping" in the oven and spreading out?