5 Ingredients or Fewer

Alice Medrich's New Classic Coconut Macaroons

March 22, 2021
8 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 50 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Makes about 22 cookies
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Eva
  • So Fa
    So Fa
  • thebutterlab
  • Kate Serrurier
    Kate Serrurier
  • Deborah Sigel
    Deborah Sigel
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

88 Reviews

Gretchen April 5, 2023
I have been making an Ina Garden macaroon recipe with sweetened coconut and sweetened condensed milk for years, but this recipe is definitely my new favorite. My other macaroon recipes are a bit faster, but the extra step of tempering the dough in this recipe is totally worth it. The balance of sweetness and texture in this recipe is perfect, and I like that it doesn't have all of the additives present in the sweetened coconut. This will definitely be my go-to recipe. I had a mixture of shredded coconut and flaked coconut on hand, so I used a combination of them both. I liked that it produced a variation in texture, so would probably do the same next time.
Eva April 2, 2021
Fantastic. Next time I would lower the temperature and bake for longer so the coconut gets crispier throughout.
Rita H. March 27, 2021
Love these. Have made them several times and always a hit. I melt dark chocolate and dip half of them halfway and let them dry on a sheet of parchment paper. Yum.
JenVan December 14, 2020
Oh my gosh! So very good. I had 3 bags of the coconut flakes and couldn't find many recipes using that. So glad I found yours! Crispy exterior, perfectly chewy interior. I baked one part all the way...good flavor, maybe a little too crispy. The other part I watched and took out when it was golden and just as described, I liked these more. I am making another batch right now and will just eyeball them when done. I had to heat mine longer in the "double boiler", I think it was because I was using a metal "sunbeam mixing bowl" which has a thicker bottom. These are so good . . .no chocolate needed here! Going into the freezer until Christmas!
So F. April 25, 2019
these are absolutely amazing!! was so overwhelmed by how good they are that i've now made them three times in the course of a week. super fun to make too
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.
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?
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 (https://food52.com/hotline) where you might have gotten a faster response.

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.

I added the vanilla and salt to the egg whites, mixed briefly, subsequently added the coconut flakes, and finally added the sugar.

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.

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.
Amy S. April 19, 2014
Deborah these cookies are very delicious and worth the extra love I promise. Alice is a rockstar
Use the best vanilla you have at hand
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.
Thanks so much. It was a nice surprise to bring to the Seder.
Amy S. April 18, 2014
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.
Amy S. 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.
Amy S. 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.