When I found out one of Todd's bandmates is a no gluten or dairy eater, I started paying closer attention to the formulas in Cookies and Brownies. Having people come over regularly means a built-in audience for baking - and I don't want anyone left out of the fun.
I was a little surprised that coconut macaroons don't contain any flour - they are strictly bound by egg whites and sugar, even though they have what appears to be a cakey texture in the middle. Several gluten and dairy-free cookies are based on meringue (just like this) but these use coconut for the bulk of the structure as opposed to egg being the primary. In fact, they have only 5 ingredients and are super easy to make.
A few notes on this recipe:
- The recipe calls for sweetened shredded coconut, also referred to as angel flake when you buy it at the store. I use unsweetened large flake coconut which is often found in health food or organic food stores. It definitely changes the texture and is a little moister, possibly because the angel flake, which is dusted in sugar, absorbs more of the liquid from the eggs and vanilla. That's a guess and I have not experimented with other types of coconut.
- Using a large flake unsweetened coconut also means a less sweet cookie, so you can add a teaspoon of sugar early on, or you can leave the sugar out. I prefer the less sweet version, and if I really want to sweeten it a bit, I would dip it in chocolate instead.
- One challenge when using large flake coconut is that it's hard to tell when/if the egg whites have thickened as the recipe calls for. It's just a little hard to see the creaminess of the eggs. I used a spoon to pull a little batter out so i could look at it better. When it looks thick, it's done.
4 large egg whites
3 c sweetened shredded coconut (9 ounces)
3/4 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Scant 1/4 tsp salt
2 cookie sheets, lined with parchment paper
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large heatproof mixing bowl, preferably stainless steel, because the ingredients heat up faster than in glass.
- Set the bowl in a skillet of barely simmering water and stir the mixture, scraping the bottom to prevent burning, until it is very hot to the touch and the egg whites have thickened, about 6 - 7 minutes.
It is ready when a scoop of batter on the cookie sheet holds a soft shape without a puddle of syrup forming around it.
- Scoop 2 tablespoons of the mixture about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.
- Bake for 13 - 15 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies and the protruding coconut shreds are deep golden brown.
- Rotate the sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.
- Slide the parchment onto a rack.
- Cool the cookies completely before removing them from the paper.
- The cookies are most delicious on the day they are baked - the exterior is crisp and chewy and the interior soft and moist.
Makes 22 2 1/4" cookies
The cookies will soften. May be stored, airtight, for 4 - 5 days.
This recipe comes from Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies, and is available on Purple House Dirt with permission from the author.