Coconut Macaroons

Here's an easy cookie for the holidays using condensed milk. You could actually make these macaroons with just two ingredients but a little salt and vanilla really enhances their taste.  The flour is optional if, when baking your macaroons, they flatten out.  I suppose humidity in the air might affect the mixture in some way.  (That last statement is in no way a scientific fact--just a guess.)  The flour will bind the ingredients together so you keep that characteristic mound.  Try baking a test cookie before adding flour. 

Coconut Macaroons can go from simple to glamorous with just a handful of add-ins and a little chocolate. Today I made plain, orange chocolate, pineapple and cherry macaroons.  Even the plain macaroon was festooned with a chocolate bottom and a drizzle of chocolate on top.  Now, I didn't go crazy and make four batches.  I divided the one lot of "dough" and went from there.

Coconut Macaroons 4-Ways
5 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 can (1 ¼  cups) sweetened condensed milk 
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
⅓ cup unsweetened fine cut coconut, optional

Optional add-ins:
Chocolate chips/chopped chocolate
Melted chocolate for dipping and drizzling
Grated orange or lemon peel, about 1 or 2 teaspoons
Chopped candied cherries
Crushed pineapple, very, very well drained
Chopped nuts
Anything you think would taste good in macaroons
Flavourings such as almond extract, lemon extract, orange extract, etc...

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper for easy removal.  If not using the parchment paper, grease the sheets very well.

Mix the sweetened coconut, condensed milk, salt and vanilla together.  Bake a test cookie.  If everything bakes up well leave out the optional unsweetened coconut.  If your macaroon flattens out, refrigerate the mixture for half an hour and try another test cookie before adding the unsweetened coconut.

I use a #40 scoop (about 2 tablespoons) for making cookies.  It makes a medium sized cookie.  You can make these bigger but sweetened coconut and condensed milk are quite rich together and a tennis ball sized cookie would just be too much for me to consume at one time.  I'd rather go back for a second cookie.  But it's up to you.

Bake 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. Start watching the cookies after 10 minutes as you don't want the coconut to burn. If you make bigger cookies bake them at least 20 minutes.

Makes 3 dozen nice sized cookies.    

One can of sweetened condensed milk is equal to 300 ml or 1 ¼  cups.

Mix the cookie ingredients together before adding any optional add-ins.

I divided the cookie "dough" in 4 small bowls.  I used about ¼-½ cup of optional add-ins for each new macaroon flavour.  I left one plain. 

Make sure you squeeze every last drop of juice from the crushed pineapple. 

 The cookies will be easy to remove from the parchment paper.

From left to right:  Chocolate Orange, Pineapple, Chocolate Dipped Plain, Cherry


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