Coconut Macaroons — Honey-Sweetened, Gluten-Free & Easy!

Coconut Macaroons (c) jfhaugen“My New Favorite Cookie”

We all know classic macaroons as small, chewy cookies composed chiefly of egg whites, sugar, ground almonds or finely shredded coconut. Some of us may even know about the multicolored modern-day macaroons that often include food coloring, flour and a butter cream filling. All macaroons, both modern and classic, are a bit complicated to make at home as they depend upon whipped egg whites for lightness. That’s why this recipe is so easy: no whipped egg whites and everything stirred together in one bowl before being formed into small mounds of coconut and baked with care.

When I made this recipe for the first time a few days ago, my husband exclaimed (after eating a large number of them), “These are my new favorite cookie.”

Threefold inspiration

  1. Every time I opened one of the kitchen cupboards I saw the bag of large-flaked coconut given to me by a friend last November.
  2. A month ago I read an article in the Food 52 blog for Alice Medrich’s New Classic Coconut Macaroons.
  3. Many years ago I met baker extraordinaire Alice Medrich. Because of her graciousness, integrity and creativity, I have been an admirer of hers ever since.

Baking 101:
Separating an egg
Separating An Egg (c) jfhaugen I like using my hands to separate eggs, as our hands are really our best tools: gentle and sensitive, strong and adaptable.

For the cleanest break, crack eggs on the counter top rather than on the edge of the mixing bowl.

If you can crack an egg and open it with one hand, then open it over your other hand, spreading your fingers very slightly apart over a bowl. The white will fall through your fingers into the bowl leaving behind a perfect yolk. Very cool!

Alternatively, use two hands to open the egg, letting the extra whites fall into your bowl. Then dump the yolk onto one of your hands and the remaining white will fall through your fingers.

What to do with the yolks?
Add the leftover yolks to scrambled eggs or perhaps to the Asparagus, Leek & Spinach Frittata. For a special dessert fitting these Coconut Macaroons, prepare Lemon Curd with the four egg yolks replacing the 2 whole eggs called for in the recipe. Then serve a scoop of the Curd with fresh berries, Raspberry Puree and the macaroons.

Coconut Macaroons (c) jfhaugenCoconut Macaroons—Honey Sweetened, Gluten-Free, Easy!

Adapted from a recipe from Alice Medrich
Inspired by an article in Food 52
Made with flaked coconut instead of shredded, these fabulous macaroons are chewy with soft centers and are naturally gluten-free and dairy-free. They are so, so easy to make and to eat on their own, or with fresh berries, Lemon Curd and a bit of Raspberry Puree.

Makes about 21 macaroons

Flaked Coconut (c) jfhaugen4 large egg whites
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
3½ cups unsweetened, dried flaked (not shredded*) coconut (sometimes known as coconut chips)

Place half an inch of water in a wide skillet over medium low heat and bring it to a slow simmer.

Place the ingredients in the order given in a stainless steel bowl and stir to combine. Set the bowl in the hot water. Use a rubber spatula to stir the mixture continuously for 5-6 minutes or until it is very hot to the touch and the egg whites have thickened slightly.

After Cooking Over Simmering Water (c) jfhaugen

Remove the bowl from the water and set it on the counter for 30 minutes to allow the coconut to absorb more of the liquid ingredients. Give it a stir once or twice while it sits.

Line two baking pans with parchment paper.

Adjust the oven racks to be in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Then preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Ready to Bake (c) jfhaugen

Give the mixture another stir, then gently pack it into a #40 scoop (1½ tablespoons). Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on the lined baking pans—gently reshaping them as necessary.

Bake for 3 minutes, then rotate the pans top to bottom and front to back. Bake another 3 minutes. The tips of the flaked coconut will just begin to color.

Coconut Macaroons Just Baked (c) jfhaugenLower the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to 300 degrees and once again rotate the pans top to bottom and front to back. Bake about another 7 minutes until the macaroons are golden brown.

Remove the pans from the oven onto cooling racks. Wait until the macaroons have cooled to gently remove them from the parchment paper.

If you can, wait an hour or two before trying the macaroons—the coconut softens a bit and the cookies improve in taste and texture. Store any leftover macaroons in an air-tight container.

*With unsweetened shredded coconut, reduce the amount of coconut to 3 cups.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe without images

4 thoughts on “Coconut Macaroons — Honey-Sweetened, Gluten-Free & Easy!

  1. Just made these little gems. No way was I going to wait a few hours for them to cool before sampling them. Wow, they are delicious! I am tempted to drizzle a few with some melted chocolate, seeing I am a chocoholic (not that they need it!!)

    • Oh, Ute, I love your name for them “little gems.” And, yes, drizzled with chocolate would be most delicious. . .go for it!

  2. Yum!! My favorite cookie looks even better with your recipe. I shall have to try this one. Thanks Janice!

Comments are closed.