Sunday, April 24, 2016

Coconut macaroons

I made coconut macaroons recently, having seen some in the grocery store and nearly fallen over upon checking their price. They were part of a display of Kosher foods for Passover (macaroons are traditionally served at Passover because they are unleavened; all bread products served at a Seder, or Passover dinner, must be unleavened, in accordance with Jewish beliefs). You may recall (though I've only mentioned it briefly now and then) that I grew up in a multi-faith family. We celebrated both Christian and Jewish holidays, Passover being one of my very favorites.

I loved most Passover foods as a child, including charoset and tzimmes, both of which I only make occasionally in adulthood, but still adore. I also loved coconut macaroon cookies at Passover; my grandmother bought the Manischewitz brand of macaroons in a cardboard canister and those are still my favorites. I like the plain ones as well as the chocolate-dipped, but I think I like the plains ones slightly more. They're very simple, sweet and chewy, and I looked forward to having them for dessert after the Seder every year. I'm also still a total sucker for Manischewitz blackberry wine, which we always had at Seder (I had my own little glass from the time I was about eight years old), but that's another story. That, I always keep on hand in my liquor cabinet; a little goes a very long way but I still think it's delicious.

I don't celebrate Passover now, really, but I do often include the foods in my Easter menu, as a nod to my own childhood traditions. I wanted to make macaroons this year, but didn't have a chance to make them (Easter really snuck up on me this year, being a bit earlier than usual). I still wanted them, though, and decided to make them earlier this month. I used a macaroon recipe from Jenn Segal's gorgeous food blog, Once Upon a Chef. The secret to this recipe is sweetened condensed milk. I had no idea, but it works really well. I used unsweetened coconut, however; it was what I had on hand and I think it tasted really good in the recipe.

Coconut Macaroons

5-1/3 cups (one 14-ounce bag) sweetened shredded coconut
7/8 cup (7 fl oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk) 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt 
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (optional; I used chocolate baking chips)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Set two oven racks near the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together the shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. Use a large rubber spatula to fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Using two spoons, form heaping tablespoons of the mixture into mounds on the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the tops are lightly golden and the bottoms and edges are deeply golden.

If dipping the macaroons in chocolate, melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at medium power, stopping and stirring at 30 second intervals, until just smooth and creamy. (Alternatively, melt the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water.) Dip the bottoms of the macaroons in the chocolate, letting any excess drip back into the bowl, and return to the lined baking sheets. Place the macaroons in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to set. The cookies keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week.

I really loved these macaroons! They were so easy to make, and really delicious. They were not exactly like the ones in the cardboard canister (why do things taste so good when they come in paper packaging? I personally think milk from a carton tastes better then it does from a plastic jug), but I enjoyed them a lot and I will definitely make them again. I think the extra step of dipping them in melted semi-sweet chocolate is worth it, though they were very good plain too. There's still plenty of time left to try this recipe during the current Passover holiday, but it would be a lovely bake any time of year.


You've heard me say many times how I become some sort of automaton of productivity when people in my household become ill. I cook, I clean, I do load after load of laundry. It helps me feel better about their not feeling well, I guess; if I work at getting the house in tip-top shape, maybe I'll drive the sickness out faster. Or something. But what happens when I'm the one who gets sick? What then? Nothing happens. Zilch. Nada. An entire week can pass in a haze, at least for me, just like this past week did. It was a flu-like thing, with a fever and aches and pains, unfortunate digestive events, etc. I'm still not feeling my best, but good enough to get going with the new week. I'm lucky that the Bear is able to move his schedule around to help me, which he did a bit of during the week, especially that one whole day when I was totally unable to get out of bed.

I don't know if I've ever gone a whole week without blogging since I started. It's weird; I feel like I have to do warm-up exercises to get back into it again. I went back and read your replies to my last post, concerning both eczema and children's costumes, and I appreciate everything you said. My eczema is dryness-related, for those inquiring about diet or other reasons. The main issue is that I'm not diligent enough about moisturizing, and by the end of a long season of cold wind, extremely low humidity and forced-air heating, my body is just plain parched. But the good news is that my recent flare-up has subsided and I'm resolved to do a better job with lotion.

As for the costumes, we have figured something out for both roles the LB will play. His teacher said that Redcoats should just wear red t-shirts and blue pants; another student helpfully had tri-corner hats for all three Redcoats to wear. We're still working out the details for his part as Leif Erikson, but I think we have a shirt that will work. As for weapons, as some suggested, those will be a no-go. His school would never allow it, even if they were cardboard or wood. Too contentious today. So we'll stick with basic clothing items and he'll rock it, I'm sure.


  1. Oh, those macaroons look and sound absolutely delicious Jennifer. So we have been keeping sad company together, both with the flu this past week. Today is my first day of feeling at all capable of living a normal life - and like you, I plan to cook. A berry yoghurt cake for expected visitors. My house is not looking very smart after a week out of action, but hey, cleaning is always waiting to be done. Here's to a healthy week ahead!!

  2. how lovely, those macaroons! so sorry for the flu. we had it about a month ago, really took time to recover, my husband is still recovering (he lost over 10 lbs! and he is thin to begin with!). So rest well so you don't relapse. I think I missed your post before this one, so sorry. I know a family that has both traditions as well. God keep you and may your family all have good health now!

  3. My, those macaroons look good - I especially love the fact that you dipped them in chocolate - Yum! So sorry that you've been under the weather; I hope that you're fully recovered soon. xx

  4. So sorry you've been ill, it sounds nasty. I hope you're all better soon, although things like that tend to be draining for quite a while afterwards. Try and take it easy if you can. The macaroons look delicious. The eldest boy and I like them, so I shall write the recipe down in my Recipes From Lovely Blogs notebook. We will definitely be dipping them in dark chocolate. Wishing you a good and relaxing week. CJ xx

  5. They look divine but it will be a special trip to buy the coconut. It's one thing I never seem to keep in the pantry. I'm sorry you've been poorly again it sounds like that you are recovering nicely now xx

  6. Oo macaroons, I personally don't like them as I can't stand coconut but my kids love them. Ian likes using a mould and making them shaped like sandcastles. Love kids imaginations.
    Hope you are feeling better soon. Being ill is something I always find myself denying until I just about collapse. So, rest up. x

  7. sorry you've not been well xxx your baking looks and sounds delicious xxx

  8. Sorry to hear you've been unwell but glad you're on the road to recovery, I hope you feel much better this week. The macaroons look delicious, especially dipped in chocolate.

  9. SO sorry to hear you were down and out, bless your heart you must have been really very ill. Nothing gets done here when I am sick, which is rare but still happens sometimes. Glad you are helping and feeling better. Love those delicious macaroons must have made you feel a bit better.

  10. I love anything with coconut in it and the macaroons do look delicious. The chocolate is a real bonus too! Get well soon Jennifer x

  11. So sorry to hear you've been ill. hope you're on the mend now. I have extremely dry skin too and if you don't moisturize you flake away.

  12. Hi thanks for sharing your recipe for the macaroons.
    I never had one before. There on my to do list.

  13. Sorry to hear about your recent illness, hope you are on the mend now and feeling better. Those macaroons really do look good and I am guessing very moreish...

  14. Good to hear your feeling better now.
    I agree when mother's get sick it's everything falls apart. it is not an exaggeration to claim that we are the glue that holds everything together.
    those macaroons look great.

  15. You certainly can't go wrong with chocolate and coconut. Glad to hear you are feeling better. I had a throat infection for a week -- burning, scratchy, coughing ... very irritating, but it ran its course and I'm good now. The flu is no fun -- especially don't like feeling nauseous. Have a good week.

  16. Hey Jenifer,
    I'm so sorry to hear that you've been feeling ill. I did smile when I saw your post title though; my heroine Victoria Wood did a whole sketch based around a coconut macaroon. I've never made them; they aren't too expensive to buy here.
    Here's hoping that you have a fab week.
    Leanne xx

  17. Hope you soon feel fully recovered Jennifer. A nasty bug such as you have had can take some getting over so take it easy if you can. Chocolate and coconut is a match made in heaven and I remember when I was growing up my mum used to make a chocolate and coconut traybake which was a bit like chocolate brownie flavoured with dessicated coconut - delicious. Good to know you have the costumes sorted and I understand completely about the no weapons rule. My son never had any bought weapons when growing up but I had to smile when he made his own Viking dagger!

  18. I'm sorry to hear you so ill! But glad you're better now. Sometimes I think illness comes when your body wants a rest from all the activity. I adore macaroons and now I want some for my birthday.. we *may* have to go to a bakery today! LOL! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  19. Thanks for the macaroon recipe, Jennifer! I love macaroons, and I happen to have a can of sweetened condensed milk in the cupboard. These sound like the perfect use for it. I'm glad you are feeling better. That must have been a very nasty bug. Hopefully nobody else in your family catches it. Have a good week!

  20. Oh how I wish I had seen this post before the weekly shop. The macaroons look lovely. I am glad you are feeling better and I hope you'll be back to your normal self shortly. xx

  21. Sorry to hear you had a bad week of illness last week, Jennifer. I hope this week is a great improvement. Your macaroons do look good.

  22. I'm sorry you've been ill my friend - I noticed your absence and have been thinking of you.

    It's fascinating to learn of the passover roots of macaroons in the US. Here, they are very British, very everyday - the stuff of my childhood, and a million miles away from the French macarons I adore. But maybe they were a Jewish tradition adopted by British. We do that a lot, chicken tikka massala being -famously - our national dish. X

  23. While I like the brand of macaroons you like, I had never made the connection of why they were often enjoyed at Passover. I have friends back in NY who celebrate Passover and invited us to their Seder one year. We really enjoyed the service and the food. I too am sorry you were so ill. My blog roll does not roll reliably and so I had scrolled down to check to see if you had posted and you hadn't and now I know why. I'm glad you are feeling better, and hope have a good week :) xxxxxx

  24. Sorry to hear you've been poorly, Jennifer. Now you're back up and about make sure you take it easy - these viral things can knock you out for a while. Do you know, I don't think I've ever eaten a coconut macaroon! I do like coconut, though, so I think I shall have to try these and remedy the situation. Sam x PS Not much gets done round here, either, if I'm out of action. Bare essentials only.

  25. Anything coconut is a hit around here. You might try the America's Test Kitchen macaroons--they might be closer to your childhood memory.

    Glad you are feeling better. You need to get sick every once in awhile so your family realizes how much you do everyday!

  26. I am sorry to hear you have been so unwell, I do hope you feel better soon. Those macaroons look delicious, I too had no idea of their history with Passover. Water is my go to for dry skin, drinking it that is, I have to do things that way as I can't use any moisturisers.

  27. Yum to the macaroons.
    Feel better soon.

    All the best Jan

  28. So sorry to hear you've been very much under the weather. Hope you're much, much better now. I also had a mixed Jewish/Christian childhood and we also embraced all the traditions, especially the food. Any Jewish celebration always made my Grandma make latkes (although obviously not a traditional Passover food) any excuse for fried potatoes is a good one :) Those macaroons look fab! xx

  29. Mmm, I love macaroons too, and these look really delicious! X


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