Coconut Macaroons, plus variations

macaroons

These are just.. yummyness.  One of the girls in my office brought macaroons in last week.. premade/packaged things.  They were okay, but.. well… incredibly heavy and greasy.  They made me in the mood for the ones I make.   They are just exactly what a macaroon should be – light and fluffy.

This recipe comes from a neighbor I grew up next to back in Nebraska.  She made amazing macaroons and did all sorts of lovely things to them (See the notes below the recipe for additions – some are hers, some are mine, some come from other people, but I don’t know who, as the additions were made to the recipe card over time).  Ruth made these at Christmas, and again in the summer.  Odd times, but when her grandson came to visit, she always made these, and she always had plenty for my brothers and I, too.

Granted, this isn’t a traditional recipe if you don’t live in the US, and even if you do, there are tons and tons of variations.  But one thing is the same – a coconut macaroon is not exactly a cookie.. but not exactly a candy…it’s a kind of cross between both, and that is what makes this particular cookie so good.  It has that sweetness to it a candy should have, but the body and crispness of a cookie.  I don’t know where this fits in exactly – a cookie — or a confection, but I do know that it goes amazingly well with a glass of milk.. with just the right amount of coconut left at the bottom of the glass to scoop out ;)

Enjoy!

Coconut Macaroons

14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large egg whites at room
temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix together  the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl.  

In a second bowl, whip the egg whites and salt on high speed until it makes medium-firm peaks.  I use a hand mixer. Then, GENTLY fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture, and fold together using a spatula, without crushing the egg whites. 

Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet lined with parchment.  You can also use a small ‘ice cream scoop’ – maybe 1-1 1/2 inch, or so scoop.  

Bake  for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Try not to eat them hot (or you’ll burn your mouth), allow to cool and serve.  Allow to cool completely, and cover tightly.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days, or on the counter for 5. 

Notes:

I like to store these in a container in layers separated by parchment.

Variations and Additions:

Add a cup of the mini chocolate chips, or 4 ounces of melted unsweetened chocolate.

Push a chocolate kiss candy or a star candy into the top of the cookie right after you take them from the oven

Add 1 cup of chopped pecans and 2 tablespoons maraschino cherry syrup, and press a maraschino cherry into the top of the cookie before baking.

Dip in chocolate, or just dip part of the cookie in chocolate

Add 1/2 cup crushed macadamia nuts

Add 3/4 cup of raisins and 1 teaspoon rum flavoring

Change the vanilla to 1 1/2 teaspoons of almond extract

Add 3/4 cup of walnuts and 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring

Add 3/4 cup of oats and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

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