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Coconut macaroons. I need your best recipe!

  • maabso Aug 26, 2012 01:21 PM
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I have been obsessed with store-bought coconut macaroons for the last little while. I've never made them myself and would like to try. Any recipes?

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  1. Although I generally detest sweetened condensed milk, I think it makes the best macaroons. Here's Ina Garten's recipe which I have made a million times.
    http://www.food.com/recipe/inas-cocon...

    1 Reply
    1. re: magiesmom

      Look online for the king David hotels coconut macaroon recipe. I make it annually. Super easy non-dairy.

    2. There are, as I understand it, 2 types. One uses egg whites like the French almond macaro(o)ns. The other uses sweetened condensed milk as the binder. Most of us in the USA are more familiar with the milk version.

      Ina's uses both.

      1. Mark Bittman's recipe is the easiest. I never use another one. It's cited in many threads on Chowhound. Ina Garten's recipe has too much liquid.

        2 Replies
        1. re: maria lorraine

          I second this. I used to make the CI version, and the end result was good, but it was involved and I was always annoyed making them. The Bittman recipe is fast and good.

          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

            The Bittman recipe is here: http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...

        2. i, too, am a coconut macaroon whore. i have tried no fewer than 15 recipes. although not the easiest recipe, joann chang's, of flour bakery in boston, is by far my favorite. you have to make a pastry cream in lieu of sweetened condensed milk, but i promise you that the end result is WELL worth it!
          i would recommend getting a hold of her cookbook. i have made a lot of the recipes and they have all been great!

          1. Wow, so many good suggestions. I'm going to have to try all of these, from the sweetened condensed milk version to the egg white version and even the difficult but well worth it version! Do you guys pipe it out to give it that nice shape?

            1 Reply
            1. re: maabso

              The almond macaro(o)n batter is wet enough to pipe, but I think the coconut one is better spooned. It's stiffer and the flakes could block the nozzle. Bittman says to shape balls with wet hands.

            2. I have been making this Martha Stewart version for years for Passover. We just roll them in balls and put them on the baking sheet. They stay together better then when we try to get the triangle-ish shape. They also freeze really, really well.

              http://www.marthastewart.com/314385/c...

              1. The ATK version uses both unsweetened dried coconut and sweetened flaked. Also cream of coconut (the sweet piana colada stuff). They claim the use of 3 forms of coconut increases the coconut flavor.

                1. Ok so I finally made them using this recipe which is a combination of a couple you posted here and ones I found online.
                  Coconut Macaroons with Salted Chocolate Drizzle
                  3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
                  5-5.5 cups flaked coconut (I used unsweetened)
                  1/4 teaspoon salt
                  1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
                  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                  1 teaspoon almond extract

                  Directions

                  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminium foil. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, coconut and salt. Stir the vanilla and almond extracts into the can of sweetened condensed milk, Then combine with the coconut mixture with hands until well blended. I used the two spoon method to form a 3 sided egg shape then placed onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until coconut is toasted. I drizzled with salted chocolate sauce (salted butter melted into dark chocolate).

                  The sweetened condensed milk flavour really helped me to achieve the flavour I was craving. Thank you guys for all of your help!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: maabso

                    Try it sometime without the flour; I think you might like them even better..

                    1. re: magiesmom

                      I am eating one now, and now that you mention it, I can feel the slight grittiness of the flour in my mouth. I am going to try it without flour next time, thanks for the tip! I have almost finished these single-handedly. I'll give myself until Monday to stop. Or Tuesday, Monday is a holiday here :)

                  2. Ok, I don't know how I dare, but I beg to differ - with all of you. The best, easiest most delicious macaroons are my mom's recipe. She always did it when she had leftover whites, but people beg me for them.
                    Beat 2 egg whites with 1 tsp vanilla and a dash of salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar beating until stiff. With a spatula fold in 2 Tbsp flour and 1 7 oz package of angel flake coconut. (about 2 cups) Drop by spoon 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until done.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: dianne0712

                      Is angel flake coconut a brand or a type of coconut? I'm a sucker for the sweetened condensed milk flavour in coconut macaroons but I'd be willing to try that recipe in a pinch! It does look easy!

                      1. re: maabso

                        Angel flake is the way they cut it. Usually you see shredded, but angel flake is wider. Either would do. I just like the appearance and texture of angel flake better and my mom never used anything else. Isn't mom's cooking always what we crave? Usually the shredded is much sweeter too, more coconut taste in the other.

                    2. Coconut macaroons have been a source of confusion for me. Can frozen shredded coconut be substituted for the preservative-laden room temperature shredded coconut? Does anyone here actually prefer sweetened coconut to unsweetened? I still can't figure out if/how dessicated coconut is different. Specifically, when would you use one over the other? Also, would anyone care to share their favorite brands? I have been unable to find Bob's Red Mill flaked coconut in my area: http://www.amazon.com/Bobs-Red-Mill-C...

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: bmorecupcake

                        I wrote earlier that Cooks Illustrated settled on a mix - unsweetened as found in natural foods and Asian groceries (for better texture), sweetened for better flavor, and cream of coconut for even more flavor.

                        But if you really want to avoid preserved stuff (with chemicals or cold), why not process your own coconut? When I was a kid we did this when shredded coconut was not available. It's a lot of work but not difficult. Just open a whole coconut, pry out the meat (that was my job), grate it (we used a rotary grater mounted on the kitchenaid), then dry and toast (till lightly brown) in the oven.

                        1. re: paulj

                          Unfortunately, either the fresh coconut available in my area is seriously poor quality or I just don't know how to pick good coconut at the grocery store (more likely). I follow all the tips online, and getting out the coconut is quite a chore for me, but it never has any flavor.

                          1. re: bmorecupcake

                            Maybe the sweetened stuff has given us a false expectation about what fresh coconut should taste like.

                            1. re: paulj

                              I buy unsweetened frozen coconut that tastes much better. Also, I've had amazing fresh coconut in Florida. I couldn't stop eating coconut there.

                      2. Here is a ***great*** previous Coconut Macaroon thread with many recipes listed:
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/620159

                        And THIS thread has the great tip on heading to an Indian grocery store to obtain unsweetened and shredded coconut there. Then, you can add the sweetener of your choice. Also, good recipe tips
                        in this thread, too.
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4375...

                        Recipes to consider:
                        Bittman's****
                        Alton Brown's ****
                        David Lebowitz's*****
                        Ina Garten's
                        Martha Stewart's

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: maria lorraine

                          Until very recently, I purchased frozen unsweetened shredded coconut from my local Indian store, but the flavor was just okay. Recently, I've switched to frozen shredded coconut from Thailand at my local Asian grocer (H Mart) and find it a little better. I can't remember what country the coconut at the Indian store was from.

                          maria lorraine, have you used frozen shredded coconut in all five recipes you listed? If I know someone has had acceptable results with frozen coconut I'll be encouraged to try the recipes. Last time I went on a coconut macaroon marathon, I could never get the right texture and I wasn't sure if it was because of I was using frozen coconut when the recipe was designed for dried coconut or vice versa.

                          1. re: bmorecupcake

                            I have not used frozen shredded coconut in those recipes, sorry. The biggest issue I can think of would be the moisture the frozen coconut would throw, thereby making too soggy a texture.

                            I have lately been buying the unsweetened flaked coconut (comes in both large and small flakes) from the Whole Foods or health food stores bulk bins, since it's easier for me than hitting an Indian or Asian grocery.

                            I like to adjust the amount of sugar (or use none) when I bake, though most recipes call for sweetened, flaked coconut.

                            1. re: maria lorraine

                              Do you remember making any of the recipes with the Whole Foods unsweetened flaked coconut? If so, was that with the large or small flakes?

                              1. re: bmorecupcake

                                Since the amount of liquid is small, and the baking time is short, the texture of the coconut won't change much when made in to macaroons. So regardless of what the recipe calls for, it's your preference regarding texture that matters.

                                1. re: bmorecupcake

                                  Yes, I used a combo of both kinds. The small flake to provide bulk and structure, the large to get that coconut shavings kind of look. I also ground some of the small flake coconut into a flour (using my coffee grinder).

                            2. re: maria lorraine

                              +1 on David Lebovitz's!

                            3. I've made Ina's recipe several times and LOVE them ~ fresh baked. I don't care for them the next day when they've lost their outer crunch.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Scoutmaster

                                I am picky about that outer crunch, too. My local bakery has started refrigerating their coconut macaroons and thus their macaroons lose that outer crunch almost immediately. I have to camp out these days to get them fresh out the oven.

                              2. These are my favorite coconut macaroons on earth!!!!!!!

                                Just cooked sugar and egg whites and coconut, and after baking, you can add the decadence of a chocolate dip on top. These are wonderfully chewy, tasting only of slightly sweet coconut with nothing to diminsh them like milk or flour. They stay nice and chewy for a few days (if they last that long), and they freeze beautifully. Really. You MUST try these!

                                http://orangette.blogspot.com/2005/01...

                                1. http://singaporelocalfavourites.blogs...

                                  Pulut Inti is a Singapore answer to macaroons.

                                  Basically it is sweet glutenous rice prepared the usual way (soak followed by steaming, aromatized with pandan leaves). Desiccated coconut is sweetened with a palm sugar syrup. The rice is formed into single servings or one big layer, and topped with the sweetened coconut.

                                  1. i too love macaroons and have been making them weekly this summer using a recipe i found on Skinny Taste. They are chewy and delicious and best of all are less calories than those made with condensed milk. I think they are as close to store bought ones as you can make. Honestly try these, they won't disappoint!!

                                    http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/04/co...

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: sdprice

                                      Given that the coconut is sweetened, and there is added sugar, I wouldn't count on them being lower in calories than sweetened condensed milk ones.

                                      1. re: sdprice

                                        I use unsweetened coconut and TJ's Stevia. Wonderful, and very low calorie. Similar to yours, sdprice, but even, um, skinnier.

                                        1. re: sdprice

                                          Isn't the whole idea that the macaroons be better than store bought ones? You must have some amazing stores where you live, sdprice.