Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons dipped in chocolateCookie Collection
This time of year is the season of constant dinner parties. In fact, I had a few friends over last night to talk about the upcoming baseball season and to eat drink and be merry. The food was great (and the wine was even better). But, having something sweet to end the meal and fuel the after-dinner conversation is essential. I have found that plates of assorted cookies are the perfect solution. The only challenge is coming up with a nice variety for the plate.

Some may say that forcing yourself to make a bunch of cookies isn’t a bad thing. And, it’s not. Though, having that many cookies lying around the house can be dangerous to your waistline!

It can be fun to come up with the perfect mix. Start with some ginger cookies. Add a few layer bars. Maybe chocolate crackle cookies. Definitely some shortbread. If you’re feeling crafty, make some stained glass cookies or some nutty rugelach. No matter what combination you decide to throw together, for me there almost always needs to be coconut macaroons on the plate.

I love coconut macaroons—and making them couldn’t be easier. Bonus! They are gluten-free for those friends who can’t eat gluten. I like to melt some bittersweet chocolate and either dip the macaroons or drizzle it on top for a little added holiday cheer.

Coconut Macaroons
Yields 20 to 22 cookies

14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the dipping chocolate
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate

Preheat the oven to 325º F.

Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl.

Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they form medium-firm peaks.

Gently fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and drop the batter onto the pans using two teaspoons. A 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop also works well. Make certain to leave enough space between cookies for the batter to spread.

Bake the cookies until golden brown (about 25 to 30 minutes).

Allow the cookies to cool before dipping and serving.

For the chocolate
Melt 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate in a double-boiler or microwave, and allow to cool to room temperature.

Dip the bottom of each macaroon in the chocolate and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Alternately you can drizzle the tops with chocolate—or do both!

Refrigerate until firm (about 20 to 30 minutes).

Store the macaroons in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days.

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