I have always liked coconut macaroons, but could never find a recipe that seemed to work well. Then, when IBS became a part of my life, I realized that macaroons were a safe sweet treat or dessert that wouldn’t bother me. They were my go-to cookie for quite a while. Last week, some friends were coming over for coffee, and I wanted to make some kind of treat. One person doesn’t eat any gluten, so it was a bit of a challenge to decide what to make. Then I remembered my macaroon recipe. It also happens to be gluten free. Perfect!
The first trick to making macaroons is to beat the egg whites until they are very stiff and glossy, but not dry. When the beater or whisk is lifted, the peaks should just barely droop over.
The second trick is the folding in of the dry ingredients. Like muffins, you gently fold just until mixed. Too much folding will cause the egg whites to lose some of the air bubbles, and will give you tough cookies.
This recipe calls for using potato starch, which helps the egg whites bind together and keep their fluffy consistency. Some recipes use flour, so if you don’t have to go gluten free, and don’t have potato starch, then by all means go ahead and use flour. As a variation, I have seen macaroon recipes with very finely ground almonds instead of coconut (check out David Leibovitz’s blog on French macarons), and another variation is to drizzle melted chocolate over the top of the cookies. On these ones, I chose maraschino cherry halves on top, just to be pretty. So you can decide how to fancy them up if you like, or just leave them plain. These cookies spread out a little instead of staying as round mounds. I wondered about this, and someone suggested that I should increase the amount of coconut. Well, I like the taste of these just the way they are. But if I try it with more coconut next time, I will let you know how they come out.
Humidity is the bane of a nice, crisp macaroon. I like my macaroons to be crispy on the edges, and soft in the middle. These were just like that for the first hour after I took them out of the oven. However, as they sat out on the plate, they soaked up the humidity in the air, and become chewy instead of crispy. I have tried re-heating them, which works for another hour, but then it happens again. So, all I can say if it happens to you is this: accept it. It’s just the way it is. They still tasted good! Unless anyone has any tips? I would love to hear them if you do! These also keep well in the freezer if you aren’t eating them right away.
Crunchy on the outside and chewy inside, these are easy to make and very yummy. They have no fat, so are IBS friendly, and have no flour so are gluten free. Everyone eats these up!
- 3 egg whites
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp liquid honey
- 2 1/2 cups shredded coconut
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 3 Tbsp potato starch or 1/4 cup ground almonds
- Maraschino cherry halves (optional)
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2) In large bowl using electric mixer on high, beat egg whites till soft peaks form.
3) Gradually beat in sugar and honey until stiff, shiny peaks form. Beat in salt, vanilla and almond flavoring.
4) By hand, gently fold in coconut and potato starch.
5) Drop by tablespoonfuls onto well-greased baking sheets. (I line my baking sheets with baking paper and spray with cooking oil spray).
6) Gently press maraschino cherry halves onto the top of each cookie (if using).
7) Bake at 350 F for 18-20 minutes or until firm and lightly browned.
8) Turn off oven, leave the door open a crack, and let sit in oven for 10 more minutes
9) Transfer to racks to cool completely.