In anticipation of Passover we wanted to make coconut macaroons, but since there wasn’t a beloved family recipe to use we decided to turn it into a test kitchen session! After looking at tons of recipes we narrowed it down to three: Ina Garten via Food Network, Once Upon a Chef, and the Kitchn. Each recipe is a little different- variations in ingredients (granulated sugar vs. sweetened condensed milk), baking temperature, and egg white stiffness made for three distinct cookies. The fan favorite was without a doubt the version from the Kitchn, which had the best texture and flavor.
The winning recipe from the Kitchn is reprinted below (along with some helpful hints from the same source), and you can follow the links above if you want to try the other recipes.
3 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
4 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Silpat or parchment paper
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Gather all your ingredients and equipment.
Toast the coconut (optional). For deeper coconut flavor and extra-crispy macaroons, spread the coconut on the baking sheet and toast for about 5 minutes, or until just barely starting to show some color. Let cool slightly before using.
Whisk the egg whites, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Combine the egg whites, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk until the whites and sugar are completely combined and the mixture is frothy.
Combine the coconut and egg white mixture. Pour the coconut over the egg white mixture and stir until the coconut is evenly moistened.
Shape the macaroons. Line the baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment. With wet hands to prevent sticking, shape the coconut mixture into small balls about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Space them an inch or so apart on the baking sheet.
Bake the macaroons for 15-20 minutes. Bake the macaroons until golden, 15-20 minutes.
Cool the macaroons. Let the macaroons cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Macaroons can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week.
If you are keeping kosher for Passover, double check your ingredients before using, especially the vanilla (which is often made with grain alcohol). You can substitute another kosher-for-passover extract in place of the vanilla or skip it entirely. For a full resource of kosher ingredients, see this link: → OU Kosher Industrial Product Database
For crispier, lighter macaroons, increase the amount of coconut to 5 cups.
For meringue-like macaroons, whisk the egg whites in a standing mixer until they hold soft peaks, then gradually add the sugar until it holds stiff peaks. Whisk in the vanilla and salt, then fold in the shredded coconut by hand.
For larger or smaller macaroons, keep the recipe as is, but adjust the baking time to match (longer for big macaroons; shorter for small macaroons).
Coconut Macaroon Variations: dip or drizzle the baked macaroons with melted chocolate, wrap the coconut mixture around a whole almond (or a whole almond and a piece of chocolate!), fold up to 1 cup chopped dried fruit into the coconut mixture.