Coconut lovers, this one’s for you.
I’ve had Coconut-Apricot Macaroons from the April 2008 issue of Everyday Food on my holiday cookie radar for a few weeks now, but I had extra motivation to try them last night. The dinner party I had to cancel a few weeks ago due to The Sickness is finally happening, and while we’re still having the Almond Torte as planned, I thought it would be fun to have a plate of macaroons on the side. (They keep for a week in an airtight container, so yay for make-ahead recipes.) Also, I have a dear friend who needed some dairy-free cookie exchange recipe ideas, but I felt kind of silly recommending a recipe I hadn’t tried. Thankfully, the macaroons were super easy and they turned out beautifully.
To make them, I started by separating three large eggs. (You’ll only need the whites, but you can reserve the yolks for later use if you want.) I prefer to bake with room-temperature ingredients, so I let the whites sit (covered) in a small container on the counter for 30 minutes.
When the time was up, I whisked together the egg whites, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract (optional, and I reduced it from 3/4 teaspoon), and 1/4 teaspoon of table salt in a large bowl until it was frothy (about 1 minute). I added 1 package (14 ounces) of sweetened flaked coconut and 1/2 cup of finely chopped soft dried apricots, stirring until everything was well combined.
After I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper, I used my clean hands to form the mixture into mounds equal to about 2 level tablespoons. (I have a 1/8-cup measuring cup, so that helped.) I placed the mounds on the baking sheet about 1/2-inch apart (they won’t spread) and baked them at 325F until they were lightly golden, rotating the baking sheet from front to back halfway through the baking time. My baking time was 32 minutes at 5900 feet; the recipe suggested 35 – 40 minutes. (I did use an oven thermometer to verify that my oven temperature was indeed 325F.) Just keep an eye on them near the end of the baking time to ensure they don’t burn. Once they came out of the oven, I used a spatula to carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
Oh, coconut heaven. The result was a tasty cookie with a perfectly light, crisp exterior and a moist, chewy interior. I’m used to macaroons without dried fruit, so the apricot bits added a hint of unexpected sweetness here and there. What’s funny is that these reminded me quite a bit of the Coconut Macaroon Pancakes I despised so much. The difference is that here, I was expecting a chewy cookie; I’m not sure I’ll ever warm up to chewy pancakes. ;) Anyway, if you’re looking for a macaroon recipe, I’d say these are a safe bet. They’re super easy, very elegant, and definitely delicious.
NOTE: Here’s a summary of my recipe deviations: 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract instead of 3/4 teaspoon, finely chopped apricots instead of coarsely chopped, and 32 minutes of baking time instead of 35 – 40.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, they keep for a week in an airtight container. They weren’t as crisp on the outside after a night in Tupperware, but they still had great taste and texture.
Recipe link: Coconut-Apricot Macaroons