I really think macaroons are the poster child for gluten-free treats. Plus, you’ve got to love a “cookie” that dates back to 16th century Italy. Over the years, Italian Jews adopted the recipe due to a lack of leavening (no flour). Over the next centuries, the recipe underwent a few cultural iterations.
Here in the states, we associate macaroons with shredded coconut, but really they first originated with an almond base. In fact, the multicolored French variety, macaron, is still made with almonds. Gradually, Americans replaced the almond base entirely for shredded coconut and in many cases, added a dip in chocolate.
Even though the modern recipe is very much the same, I find each family has their own secrets. My grandmother heightened her egg whites with a dash of cream of tartar and I’m fairly certain she slightly toasted the coconut before folding it into the stiff egg whites. Go dig for your family recipe and if you come up short, try these.
I made bite sized macaroons with the assistance of my mini ice cream scooper, but they can be made into a loftier specimen by simply dropping them with a soup spoon. I tried agave with this recipe and didn’t like the spongy texture. I try not to eat a ton of sugar, but every once in a while when we do, I don’t mess with tradition.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30–35 minutes
Yield: 34 small cookies
Special equipment: parchment paper, mini ice cream scooper (optional) 3 cookie sheets, stand mixer or hand mixer, double-boiler (optional)
4 large egg whites
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
3 c. unsweetened shredded coconut, plus 3 T set aside
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Trader Joe’s) optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine egg whites, sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk until glossy and stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold coconut into egg white mixture until evenly combined.
- Drop scoops of mixture atop parchment paper lined baking sheets with mini ice cream scooper or spoon.
- Bake for 10–15 minutes until just golden.
- Remove to cooling rack for 30 minutes until completely cool.
- Melt chocolate over double boiler, (or very carefully over lowest heat) stirring constantly until smooth.
- Remove from heat and dip macaroons. Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle with reserved shredded coconut. Cool and eat.