The true meaning of Passover is celebrating freedom … and trying different types of desserts.
Sacrilegious? Nah. A major part of celebrating holidays is enjoying traditional foods – sometimes foods we only have once a year, or that we haven’t had since childhood.
I’m not a huge coconut person, but coconut macaroons taste like Passover to me, and once a year I like to make a batch. As a kid, coconut macaroons tasted very processed, and came in a cylinder bucket. The chocolate variety was the best that could be done during a holiday of restricted diet. But as a grownup who loves to cook, they are made with just a few ingredients, and come out of the oven, looking like this.
And I can put as much chocolate in them as I want.
Macaroons are easy to make. Every recipe you find is slightly different in its proportion of coconut to egg to sugar. I learned that it’s easy to reduce the sugar a bit and not lose any of the flavor at all. When I had a yen to make coconut macaroons last week, the grocery store I went to did not sell unsweetened shredded coconut – which is the only coconut I had used to make macaroons in the past. I did some quick googling in the baking aisle and learned that just as many recipes call for sweetened coconut as unsweetened. I decided to just reduce the added sugar and see what happened. I mean, the worst that would happen would be really really really sweet cookies. A gamble I was willing to take.
It wasn’t too sweet. It was just right.
- 1.5 c sweetened shredded coconut (and a bit more, for good measure)
- 2 egg whites
- .25 c sugar
- .5 t vanilla
- pinch of salt
- 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate from a baking bar, chopped into small chunks (use the shards that you create while chopping, too!)
- Heat the oven to 350.
- Heat the coconut in a medium skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the tips of the shredded coconut start to turn light brown. Set aside to cool for a minute while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are loose, and start to get frothy. You aren't looking for any significant volume, but you want the egg white to loosen up enough that it will be easy to incorporate the coconut into it. 30 seconds whisking by hand should do it.
- Whisk in the sugar, vanilla, and salt, until uniform.
- With a wooden or metal spoon, stir in the coconut until coated in the egg whites and sugar, and stir in the chocolate chunks to evenly distribute.
- Line a heavy baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Use a medium (1.5" diameter) cookie scoop, and pack it full with the coconut mixture, leveling it off with your fingers on the bottom. Pop out the formed, domed macaroon onto the tray.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, leaving in a bit longer if you want your macaroons a bit more toasted. They will firm up on the baking sheet while you cool them for a few minutes; then transfer the macaroons to a wire rack to continue cooling. You will probably want to use a hard metal spatula when removing them from the baking sheet, to make sure you don't lose the bottoms in the transfer.
Adapted from a number of recipes, all very similar, but primarily from this one.