Tag Archives: macaroons

Chocolate and Coconut Macaroons

I’m a great believer in having a few recipes up my sleeve to produce at short notice. And this is one of them. Pillowy coconut macaroons, finished with dark chocolate.

ChocolateCoconutMacaroons2

If you have tried making French macarons, chances are that you’ll know that they can be time-consuming and very fickle – there is a lot that can go wrong, so making them is a technique the requires precision, patience and practice.

British macaroons, made with coconut, are an altogether different beast. They are much easier to make, and part of their charm is their more “rustic” appearance. Not for them the smooth shells of their French cousins. They share a slightly crisp surface, that’s true, but underneath they have a soft, fluffy centre that is a little like a home-made Bounty bar. With that in mind, I decided to make these little guys, and finish them off by dipping the bottom in dark chocolate, and drizzling more chocolate on the top. The result was absolutely delicious and they have a great visual impact too. I took them along to a birthday party, and they seemed to vanish in a shot. Children and adults were seen sneaking off with two or three at a time, which I take as a compliment.

I mentioned these are easy to make – the mixture can be made, chilled and baked in an hour, and the dipping in chocolate only takes around fifteen minutes, so they can be easily made in the morning and on a plate to serve to guests in the afternoon. The only question is – how many is too many?

ChocolateCoconutMacaroons1

To make 20-25 macaroons:

• 130g desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
• 20g icing sugar
• 30g flour
• 2 egg whites
• pinch of salt
• 2 pinches of cream of tartar
• 100g white sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
• 150g dark chocolate

1. Place the coconut, icing sugar and flour in a dish. Mix well and set aside.

2. In a metal bowl, whip the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar until frothy. Add the sugar, and place the bowl above a pan of barely-simmering water. Whisk constantly until the egg whites form a white, glossy mass that leaves stiff peaks when you remove the beater (around 5 minutes). This can be done by hand but is easier with an electric whisk.

3. Remove from the pan of water, and stir the vanilla into the meringue mixture. Add the coconut mixture, and fold in gently.

4, Cover and leave in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes. At this stage, preheat the oven to 170°C (335°F) and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

5. Bake for 15 minutes until slightly puffed and lightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

6. Melt the chocolate over a pan of barely-simmering water. Dip the bottom of each macaroon into the chocolate, and place on greaseproof paper to set. Once you have dipped all the cookies, use the remaining chocolate to drizzle in a zig-zag pattern.

Worth making? These are sensational – if you like Bounty bars, you’ll love them. As they don’t contain too much sugar, they’re not overly-sweet, and the texture if very light. You can skip the chocolate, but the dark, bitter flavour balances the sweet coconut beautifully.

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Coconut Macaroons, Part II

Last week I turned my hand to making that British favourite, coconut macaroons. I liked the result, but thought that it would be good to experiment with it a little further. I was happy with the dense, sweet type I made, and they did look great, but I also wanted to have a light and fluffy version in my baking repertoire. All very much in the spirit of the Great British Bake-Off, with each participant preparing the same recipe. Except it’s just me, competing against myself…

With a view to making softer cookies, I decreased the amount of dessicated coconut, and switched from the fine to coarse variety. The stuff I used last time was very fine, and I think it just mopped up all the moisture from the meringue mixture, so I thought reducing the overall amount and using less coconut would address that. I also did a little research, and saw that the recipe on Joy of Baking uses a quick cooked Swiss meringue rather than simple meringue. Armed with this knowledge, I tweaked my previous recipe and hoped for the best.

The mixture itself looked good – white, fluffy, shiny and softer than my previous attempt. I skillfully formed the macaroons using two teaspoons, as the mixture was too moist to roll by hand. After baking and allowing them to cool slightly, a little tasting session was in order. First, the lightness struck me – they felt airier than the last batch, and were much softer. More like a meringue with coconut than a dense, sweet coconut ball.

In short – this is an amazing version of my recipe. I love it – snaps for kitchen experimentation!


To make around 25 coconut macaroons:

• 130g dessicated coconut (unsweetened)
• 20g icing sugar
• 30g flour
• 2 egg whites
• pinch of salt
• 2 pinches of cream of tartar
• 100g white sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

Place the coconut, icing sugar and flour in a dish and mix well. Set aside.

In a metal bowl, whip the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar until frothy. Add the sugar, and place the bowl above a pan of barely simmering water. Whisk constantly until the egg whites form a white, glossy mass that leaves stiff peaks when you remove the beater (around 5 minutes).

Remove from the pan of water, and stir the vanilla into the meringue mixture. Add the coconut mixture, and fold in gently.

Cover and leave in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes. At this stage, preheat the oven to 170°C (335°F) and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Bake for 15 minutes until slightly puffed and lightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Worth making? This recipe is amazing. They don’t look quite as pretty as the other version of coconut macaroons, but if you are a fan of the softer variety, this is hard to beat. These can also be jazzed up either by dipping in chocolate, or drizzling it over the top, to recall the Bounty bar we all love.

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Coconut Macaroons

Are you watching the Great British Bake Off? A group of people compete to bake classic British fare, with one kicked off each week. We were discussing it at work last week and there were many sighs along the lines of “Oh, I love the show, but I wish I could bake, just don’t have the time”. So to make a little contribution to turning that around, here is an easy recipe for a British classic from my childhood: coconut macaroons.

French macarons have taken the world be storm over the last few years. Well kids, this is a world away from them. Whereas their Gallic cousins are complex, tricky, sometimes gaudy, and come wrapped in expensive boxes with fancy fillings, our dear coconut macaroons hark back to simpler times. They remind me of visits to my grandmother or being dragged along to coffee mornings in the local town hall when I was growing up. We would sulk until we were given a pound to buy a cup of tea and select a cake from the home baking stall. There is something familiar and comforting about them. They are sweet and straightforwardly honest. Bite into them, and the golden outside reveals the snowy-white coconut inside.

Now, it’s confession time. I tried a couple of different versions of these macaroons. There are two schools of thought. One is the “easy” way, just mix coconut with sweetened condensed milk and a little flour, and bake. I tried this, but didn’t really like the result. The coconut seems to absorb the milk, and the resulting macaroons were a little too solid for my liking. Next, I tried the “complex” method. This time, I used egg white and sugar to make a simple meringue, then add lots of coconut. Now these were the sort of macaroons I remember. The outside is delicately golden, the inside snowy in colour and texture, and after a day or two, they soften and become just that little bit more luxurious.

These are just perfect as a petit four with coffee. They don’t take more than 5 minutes to make (assuming you have an electric whisk!), and they don’t involve any of the faffing around you have with macarons. No counting the number of strokes to mix in the dry ingredients, no piping, no worrying if the tops of the macarons are too dry, or not dry enough, no fretting that they will erupt, volcano-like, in the oven. Just whip, stir, roll and bake.

To make coconut macaroons (makes around 40):

• 2 egg whites
• 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
• 100g caster sugar
• 1/8 teaspoon salt, finely ground
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or coconut essence, should such be available)
• 50g plain flour
• 225g desiccated or shredded coconut (unsweetened)

Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F). Line two baking sheets with baking parchment and grease lightly.

Place the flour, salt and coconut in a bowl. Mix well and put to one side.

In another bowl, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until you have stiff peaks. Add the sugar, and whip until you have a smooth, glossy, stiff meringue-like mass. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients to the meringue and combine. Be gentle, but mix it all well. Take teaspoons of the mixture, form it into rough balls, and place on the baking sheets (2-3 cm apart).

Bake for 20 minutes until the macaroons are just starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. If you can, leave to sit for 24 hours before eating so they soften a little.

Worth making? If you like little bites that are not too sweet, these are great. They also soften a little if you leave them overnight, so they are perfect is made the night before. However, I’m going to continue on my quest and try a few more recipes until I get “then one”. This is good, but I just want to experiment a little more.

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