Alice Medrich's New Classic Coconut Macaroons

March 23, 2012

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Alice Medrich, chocolatier and author of scads of baking cookbooks, is famously a little wild with her desserts. She developed this recipe not with the standard bag of sweetened, angel flake coconut in mind, but those wide, sloping unsweetened shavings, often called coconut chips and sold at health food stores nowadays. Naturally, Medrich offers two even more exotic upgrades: 1) Instead of painting a little chocolate shoe on the bottom of each macaroon, why not jam a piece of chocolate in each still-hot cookie and watch it melt? 2) For that matter, why not lace it with lime zest and shower it with cinnamon? Who are we to say that's not a macaroon? Adapted very slightly from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich (Artisan, 2010)Genius Recipes

Makes: about 22 cookies
Prep time: 50 min
Cook time: 30 min


  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3 1/2 cups unsweetened dried flaked, not shredded, coconut (also known as coconut chips) or 3 cups sweetened, dried shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (available kosher for Passover, or can be omitted)
  • Slightly rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
In This Recipe


  1. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a large heatproof mixing bowl, preferably stainless steel because the mixture will heat faster than in glass. Set the bowl directly in a wide skillet of barely simmering water (if your bowl bobs in the water, simply pour some out). Stir the mixture with a silicone spatula, scraping the bottom to prevent burning, until the mixture is very hot to the touch and the egg whites have thickened slightly and turned from translucent to opaque, 5 to 7 minutes. Set the batter aside for 30 minutes to let the coconut absorb more of the goop.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
  4. Using 2 tablespoons of batter, make attractive heaps 2 inches apart on the lined cookie sheets. (You can also make these smaller and bake for less time, in 1-tablespoon heaps.) Bake for about 5 minutes, just until the coconut tips begin to color, rotating the pans from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.
  5. Lower the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cookies are a beautiful cream and gold with deeper brown edges, again rotating the pans from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time. If the coconut tips are browning too fast, lower the heat to 300 degrees. Set the pans or just the liners on racks to cool. Let cool completely before gently peeling the parchment away from each cookie.
  6. The cookies are best on the day they are baked — the exterior is crisp and chewy and the interior soft and moist. Although the crispy edges will soften, the cookies remain delicious stored in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days.
  7. Upgrade 2.1: Chocolate-Topped Coconut Macaroons. Do this for any version of Coconut Macaroons: While the cookies are still hot, top each with a little piece of your favorite milk or dark chocolate. Or drizzle a little melted chocolate over each cookie.
  8. Upgrade 2.2: Coconut Macaroons with Lime Zest and Cinnamon. Stir 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons freshly grated lime zest into the batter before scooping it. Using a fine grater or Microplane zester, grate a little cinnamon stick over the cookies just before serving.

More Great Recipes:
Cookie|Jewish|Coconut|Chocolate|Serves a Crowd|Make Ahead|5 Ingredients or Fewer|Passover|Christmas|Hanukkah|Mother's Day|Spring

Reviews (81) Questions (5)

81 Reviews

thebutterlab March 26, 2018
this has been asked before, but no answer yet: do these freeze well? thanks
Zenqi April 22, 2017
These were fabulous! I did the lime version (without measuring my zest), added some lime juice from about 1 1/2 limes, also added crystalized ginger, fresh ginger and a dusting of really good quality of cinnamon to the top after cooking. They were fantastic. I love the unsweetened coconut flakes (found at Trader Joe's). The sweetness of this recipe is absolutely perfect.<br />
Zenqi April 22, 2017
By the way, I'm doing an Indian dinner party next weekend. I'd love to make curried macaroons. With this recipe, how much curry do you think I should add? Also thought about perhaps cardamom?<br />
Zenqi April 22, 2017
Hmm. I'm getting all kinds of ideas. What about lavender macaroons?
Lola June 11, 2016
Help! My egg whites have stayed shiny/translucent (?) for like 20-30 minutes in hot water!!
Dessito June 12, 2016
Lola -- first, I hope you posted your issue on the Food52 hotline ( where you might have gotten a faster response. <br /><br />I am not sure what you mean that your egg whites were "IN hot water". They are not supposed to actually be boiled directly in the water, but cooked gently in their own metal bowl/pot set OVER the simmering water in the lower part of the makeshift double-boiler. Assuming that you did use the double-boiler technique and had the water below simmering (not just pouring hot water), I am not sure what could have been the issue. For me the egg whites behave just as described in the instructions.
mpm6228 April 24, 2016
Added the chocolate. Big hit at Passover. Had to bake 15+ min to get even a little brown.
FormerLAGal April 4, 2015
A dear friend served these tonight for Seder -- absolutely fabulous. Angel flake will never darken my door again!
Kate S. February 5, 2015
This recipe is AMAZING! They are so easy to make and they come out looking like I bought them at a gourmet professional bakery. My new go-to. When plain, they're delicious. Lime and cinnamon makes them a little exotic - a fun of twist, definitely worth trying! I dipped the bottoms in chocolate and I also used tin foil for baking because I didn't have parchment. Still works great!
Joan H. December 9, 2014
Can you freeze them?
2785 May 13, 2014
Made these and they worked out beautifully.<br /><br />I added the vanilla and salt to the egg whites, mixed briefly, subsequently added the coconut flakes, and finally added the sugar. <br /><br />Later, when I spooned the coconut mixture on to the parchment, I consciously made an effort to ensure that the individual flakes were not densely packed together. <br /><br />The end result was fantastic: crunchy, chewy and rich, but not too dense.
Deborah S. April 19, 2014
I'm trying these tomorrow to take in the afternoon. I found bags of Unsweetened Coconut shards (chips) in Whole Foods. And I bought a bag of chocolate chunks to put on top.
AmyRuth April 19, 2014
Deborah these cookies are very delicious and worth the extra love I promise. Alice is a rockstar<br />Use the best vanilla you have at hand<br />
Deborah S. April 21, 2014
They came out great! I always use the best vanilla because I always have it for cheesecakes. I followed the suggestion of heating everything first before adding the coconut, keeps from breaking up the shards. I tried baking on 2 different types of pans (one was stone), but the pebbled cookie sheet w/ parchment gave excellent results...perfect browning, crispy, chewy, gooey. AND it came right off the paper! And a couple of pieces of chocolate chunks pressed lightly into the tops melted just right.<br />Thanks so much. It was a nice surprise to bring to the Seder.
AmyRuth April 18, 2014
Jessicawgraham<br />Thanks for your response. I really appreciate knowing your take on the recipe. I just soldiered through with double the amount in a big bowl and a big skillet. It was fine but required long cooking time. I made it once as written to make sure I had the proper consistency and so I knew how it should look. Thanks they are great.<br />
AmyRuth April 18, 2014
I made about 165 of these babies this PM and they are truly so delicious. I'm not even a huge coconut lover but they are worth the calories. Also, I doubled recipes a few times and it works out fine, although the length of time cooking stovetop is of course longer. Additionally, tinting the coconut for a portion was requested and so I made some pink coconut macaroons. :")
jessicawgraham April 17, 2014
AmyRuth, This week I doubled the recipe in a sense. I just made two different batches at the same time, put the two bowls over the boiling water separately and then combined prior to putting the cookies on the sheets to bake.
AmyRuth April 17, 2014
Have any of you doubled or tripled the recipe successfully? If so any nuances shared would be great
Lisa April 14, 2014
Totally psyched - just made recipe for Seder tonight and came out BEAUTIFULLY! Love the recipe!!
ctgal April 10, 2014
Me too, jessicawgraham! Thank you for reminding me of them.
jessicawgraham April 10, 2014
I have used this recipe twice now and absolutely love it! Looking forward to making these cookies again for this Passover!
JJ February 17, 2014
I've tried this recipe twice using organic coconut chips and both times they simply haven't held together. the first time I forgot to let the mix rest 30 mins. This time I followed the instructions so carefully. Very frustrated ... Delicious cooked mess though!
JJ February 17, 2014
After much research I have concluded I'm going to use less egg in future. I looked up "foolproof" coconut macaroons and decided next time to try a drier recipe. Thanks
Jean February 12, 2014
I have been looking for a macaroon recipe and this one looks gret!<br />I live in a one store town in NM and will have to use presweetened coconut shreds so I was happy to see someone else used them too. I will cut 1/3 of the sugar...Yeah weekend baking!
Ami December 11, 2013
I just tried these and they taste great! But can anyone tell me how they keep them from getting rock hard as they cool off? And from sticking to the paper? The taste is great, though, so I'd really like to be able to make them.
Dessito December 11, 2013
I am not sure if you meant that you just made them (tried the recipe for the first time) or that you tasted them from someone else's, but they shouldn't get rock-hard at all. True, the only "liquid" in them are the egg whites, but if you haven't overcooked them in the double-boiler step, they remain nice and chewy. <br /><br />On the sticking to the paper: that happened to me too the first time I made them, but it was my error since I used wax paper by mistake (BIG mistake!) If this was not the case with you, then I am not sure what must have caused the sticking. But I personally plan to not use anything to line the baking sheet next time. (Which, now that you reminded me of these wonderful cookies, should be very soon again)
Ami December 11, 2013
Dessito, thanks for your response. Perhaps I overcooked them. I didn't have a metal bowl as was recommended and was concerned that I wasn't getting the "dough" hot enough. I'll try it again. I did use wax paper, though, but next time I'll try it without lining the baking sheet like you suggested.
mzungu March 26, 2013
I have made these three times as each time, some fall apart while baking. What am I doing wrong? I try to condense the heaps as much as possible each time, yet this still happens. I love this recipe so much, but the falling apart thing is killing me here!
Dessito April 30, 2013
Obviously it's hard to guess where the problem may lie, but from just looking at the recipe, I'd suggest the following: 1) make sure the "cooking" of the egg whites over the double boiler is long enough; 2) definitely let the hot mix rest for 30-35 mins for absorption; 3) don't skip those first 5 mins of baking at the higher temperature. Additionally, it may have something to do with the specific coconut shreds you use. If they've been the same each time, maybe try to find some from a different supplier? Those would be my suggestions. I can vouch that the recipe can come together very nicely and easily. Good luck in your next attempts!