Coconut Macaroons, Two Easy Ways

Make a candylike version with all coconut and an egg white, or use a whole egg and almond flour for a more cakelike result.

Credit…Melissa Clark

Coconut macaroons might just be the easiest and most forgiving of all cookies. You don’t need a mixer. You don’t need flour. The amounts are just suggestions. And you can flavor them any way you like. Plus, the fluffy little morsels are perfect for both Passover and Easter.

This year, I experimented with two different versions, and both were fantastic, albeit strikingly different. One was traditional, made up of egg white, sugar and shredded coconut. The other used a whole egg (I didn’t feel like separating it), and a combination of coconut and ground almonds.

The all-coconut and egg white cookies were slightly sweeter and more candylike, with a crunchy shell and soft interior, while the almond-coconut-whole-egg version was softer through and through, and more cakelike.

Here’s how to make them: In a bowl, whisk the egg (white or whole) until frothy. Add 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut to the egg white, or a half-cup each coconut and ground almonds to the whole egg. You can use almond flour, or you can grind the nuts yourself; if grinding yourself, you can make the whole thing in the food processor, so you don’t have to dirty a bowl. And if you have sweetened coconut, just use less sugar.

Mix in 1/4 cup sugar (2 tablespoons, if you used sweetened coconut), a pinch of salt and a flavoring. I used a dash of orange blossom water, but an extract — vanilla, almond, coconut, lemon, orange — would work. Some grated citrus zest is a good choice, too.

I let the mixtures sit for 30 minutes, so the coconut could absorb all the liquid. (Otherwise the egg sometimes pools at the bottom of the macaroons while they bake.) Then, I wet my hands to keep the mix from sticking and rolled them into balls. I placed some on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and some in mini-muffin tins. (You can grease the tins or line with paper holders.)

Then I baked them at 350 degrees for 13 minutes. My macaroons were small. If yours are large, it could take up to 20 minutes. Keep checking: They are done when the tops are firm and the edges golden.

Each batch yielded about 10 small macaroons, but you could double or triple the recipe, depending on your self-isolating situation. They are festive and cute, and you can embellish them by folding the likes of chocolate chips, pistachio nuts, candied ginger or chopped dried fruit into the batter. They don’t keep long, maybe a day or two before getting hard and crusty. But eating them quickly shouldn’t be a problem.

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