The last time I made macaroons was for Mother’s Day a few years back and it didn’t go great. The dough was really, really sticky and the parchment paper stuck like super glue to the bottom of each cookie; I spent the last few minutes before we left the house furiously trying to scrape off the paper and finally gave up, presenting them to my unsuspecting family with a halfhearted “Here are some macaroons. They probably suck because there’s paper stuck to the bottom.” It wasn’t my proudest baking moment (sadly, not my least proud baking moment, either).
I shied away from macaroons after that experience, writing them off as a too difficult, not-worth-the-hassle treat. That is, until I was gifted these baking mats by my mother-in-law Cathie for Christmas. I’ve used them dozens of times and they’ve worked out great for me so far, but in the back of my mind I knew that macaroons would be the ultimate test (spoiler alert: they worked wonders with even the most difficult of cookie. Success!).
I spied some coconut macaroons at a lunch spot near work a few weeks ago and I’ve been thinking about them since. Coupled with the fact that they’ve been creeping around the back of my mind anyways since my last ill-fated attempt, I made it my mission to give them another go. And because my wacko pregnancy brain has been jonesin’ for citrus pretty hard lately, I figured I would kick it up a notch and try a lime coconut version.
If you’re wondering whether I’ve been singing Put The Lime In The Coconut ever since, the answer is yes, I most certainly have been. I’ll give you a minute to listen to that song on YouTube.
There appears to be two schools of thought when it comes to macaroons – the condensed milk version and the egg white version. Both seem to produce pretty solid cookies, so I decided to work off of a recipe from Paula Deen (found here) that uses both. I really love how these came out – they’re soft and chewy and (somehow, because there isn’t any butter in them) buttery, and the hint of lime works so well with the coconut without being overwhelming. Working off of a tip that I saw in the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook, I ran the coconut through a food processor for a few beats so that the cookies weren’t quite as stringy and overly-chewy as macaroons are wont to be, but this step is optional.
And then, because I’m nothing if not reckless, I dipped some of them in chocolate.
Lime Coconut Macaroons
makes: 36-40 cookies / prep time: 10 minutes / bake time: 20-25 minutes
adapted from Paula Deen’s recipe, found here
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 (14-oz can) sweetened condensed milk
- the zest of 1 lime (approximately 2 tablespoons lime zest)
- the juice of 2 limes (3-4 teaspoons lime juice)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 14-oz bags of sweetened shredded coconut
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and line two baking sheets with baking mats (or parchment paper lightly sprayed with a non-stick baking spray). Optional step: run the coconut through a food processor, pulsing for 30 seconds. Whisk the egg whites and salt until frothy, about 2 minutes. Stir in the condensed milk, the lime zest and juice, and the vanilla extract until combined. Gently fold in the coconut until combined. Using a spring-loaded scoop or your hands (note: wet your hands first), mold the mixture into mounds or patties about 1.5-2 inches across and place them 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 20-25 minutes, switching racks and rotating sheets halfway through baking, until lightly browned. Transfer the sheets to wire racks and let them cool completely before serving.
These look incredible!! And I love that you mentioned you had attempted them before– I make mistakes alllll the time in the kitchen. It’s kinda part of the fun (ya know, later when you do it perfectly and feel better haha)
I’ve also nominated you for a Liebster Award (if you choose to accept) here’s the link to what that is! http://beesweetsurrender.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/liebster-awards/