Coconut macaroons take me back to childhood! My mother loves coconut, so she bought these frequently, and we could find them everywhere year-round, but especially in the spring around Passover and Easter. Coconut macaroons are often eaten during Passover because they contain no leaveners, and I feel like there’s coconut everything around Easter anyway. But because my mother loved them, coconut macaroons also mean Christmas for me because every year we would make slice and bake cookies from refrigerated dough, maybe decorate them with tube icing, and buy coconut macaroons for my mom.
Fast forward to adulthood, and I find out my mother in law also loves coconut macaroons. I even made them for her one Christmas Eve while we were visiting. This recipe though, didn’t earn its spot in my “forever” book until after I made them for a friend’s mother who also loved coconut macaroons. Apparently, coconut macaroons are a mama thing. On a slightly unrelated note, did you see the brownies my mamas inspired? They also have coconut.
These cookies are gluten free by accident. I didn’t plan for that, I planned to make the best coconut macaroon anyone had ever tasted! I poured over recipes and pieced together something that I knew would work well for me. I wanted the result to be crispy, chewy, not too sweet, and have all sorts of coconut goodness. I also needed them to ship well so I could send them to my mama and my mother-in-law. Basically, I realized that the recipes I liked best had a little flour in them to help the macaroon retain some lightness and get the texture I preferred. So all I did was skip flour and use coconut flour instead. And it worked great, and I feel like I added even more coconut, which is the point of a coconut cookie, right?
Because these macaroons taste so good, they’ve become one of my favorite cookies too, and they’re definitely a go-to of mine for gluten free baking. In fact, I’m making a batch to ship to family this Christmas. Just like the photos, some will be dipped in chocolate, and some won’t, because variety is beautiful.
- 14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tbsp coconut flour
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp almond extract (see notes)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 2 egg whites
- Optional: tempered chocolate or chocolate dipping candy
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Combine the sweetened coconut, unsweetened coconut, coconut flour, condensed milk, and extracts in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the egg whites and salt until the egg whites form soft peaks. Carefully fold the egg white mixture into the coconut mixture.
- Drop the batter onto the sheet pans using a cookie scoop or 2 teaspoons.
- Bake 25-30 minutes, rotating the pans once mid-way through baking, until the macaroons are a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to set 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. If you had little "feet" form outside the macaroon, you may trim them with a sharp knife.
- If you plan to dip the macaroons in chocolate, wait until they are completely cooled. Then temper your chocolate, or melt your candy coating, dip the bottoms of the macaroons in the candy coating and place on a sheet of wax paper or a clean silicone mat. Drizzle the remaining chocolate over the macaroons using a fork or a piping bag. Allow the chocolate to set fully before packaging.
- Macaroons will keep up to 7 days in an airtight container.
- If you don't use candy dipping chocolate and don't temper your chocolate, store the macaroons in the refrigerator.