Danielle Kartes' Coconut Custard Macaroons

March 29, 2017

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Instead of the straightforward sweet, coconutty chew of classic macaroons, these have a more rounded richness, and a welcome savory oomph. Butter has an amplifying effect—the cookies don’t just taste better because butter inherently tastes good, but because it turns to browned butter in the oven, and mingles with sugars and salt to become caramel. All of these flavors are swim along quite happily with coconut.

At the same time, the butter and egg yolk help the pointy outer edges of the macaroon brown and crisp up, while the inside stays soft and custardy. Adapted from Danielle Kartes of the blog and cookbook Rustic Joyful Food.
Genius Recipes

Makes: about 60 cookies
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 15 min


  • 18 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut (about 6 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (available kosher for Passover)
  • 3/4 teaspoon fleur de sel or other large-flake sea salt
  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
In This Recipe


  1. Mix all ingredients until batter is completely mixed. Use a 2-tablespoon ice-cream scoop to distribute equal portions of the mixture onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. You must line your baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat or the cookies will stick like glue. Bake at 375° F until all edges and tops of cookies are dark golden brown, about 14 minutes. Depending on the weather, cookies might need a few additional minutes to bake. Let cookies set on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes—no more than 20, or they may stick! Transfer to a cooling rack to continue cooling. Make sure they are completely cool before packing up (I recommend leaving them out to dry as long as possible), and leave the container cracked to help keep them crisp and chewy.
  2. If they do become soggy and you’d like to restore them to their former crispy-chewy glory, toast them in the oven at 350° F on a lined baking sheet for about 10 minutes.

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Cookie|Custard|American|Coconut|Egg|Serves a Crowd|Bake|Valentine's Day|Winter|Mother's Day|Christmas|Fall

Reviews (35) Questions (0)

35 Reviews

Loren January 1, 2019
Absolutely delicious and easy! The second time I made them, I had made caramel from sweetened condensed milk in my Instant Pot, so I subbed that for the SCM in the recipe. (And added chic chips!)<br />Sheer heaven!
smartinup December 3, 2018
I have been making these a few years now and everyone loves them. However it has become increasingly difficult. I had some left from last batch but couldn’t find any. Everything I read said it was tricky to use unsweetened, partly because of moisture differences. Any ideas?
Mary A. October 25, 2018
I just made these, using the amount of fleur de sel recommended in the cookbook, Genius Desserts. Absolute awful, inedible. Salt is the overpowering taste. Also did not like the bottoms swimming in butter, greasy and unappealing (used Silpats).
Kristen M. October 26, 2018
Hi Mary, I'm so sorry to hear these were disappointing. What brand of fleur de sel did you use? (It should have been very coarse and chunky—not fine—sea salt.) Also, is there any chance your butter was salted or that your coconut was unsweetened? Both of those could throw off the balance. We've tested this with a number of different brands of fleur de sel and loved the results, but if there is a finer-ground brand out there, I'd love to know what it is so I can warn others. The butter will absorb more into parchment than Silpats, but a quick drain on paper towels (or torn paper grocery bags, as my mom always did) will absorb any excess from the latter.
tranquility April 10, 2018
I've made these multiple times and they have completely replaced my grandma's recipe for macaroons. They're just sweet enough for me and the custardy middle is great.
Marcy R. February 7, 2018
I made with plain old evaporated milk as had no sweetened condensed. They were horrible, looked terrible like shredded potatoes and didn't taste very good. I threw them all out. What a waste.
Basil B. March 27, 2018
I'm not surprised! While I am always swapping out things, I learned the hard way that sweetened condensed and evaporated have entirely different properties for baking.
Elizabeth D. May 21, 2018
No wonder the recipe turned out terribly! Sweetened condensed milk is different from evaporated milk.<br />Sugar is a sweetener and acts as a binding agent. <br />This recipe, is by far the best coconut macaroon recipe I've seen.
Dot W. January 3, 2018
Made these right before Christmas and had to make another batch because the family liked them so much. Drizzled melted dark chocolate over them after baking. Delicious!
betty888 December 31, 2017
While mine did not turn out custardy in the middle, they are absolutely delicious. The butter really makes a difference. I froze half of the batch and they keep really well. Will make again.
betty888 December 31, 2017
Also -- I used unsweetened coconut which worked well for me. Otherwise it probably would have been too sweet for my liking.
Whats4Dinner January 31, 2018
Hi Betty, so you used coconut milk instead of the sweetened condensed milk? Curious because I can't have dairy and these look amazing!! I can find vegan butter easily but was thinking of trying this with coconut cream.
ozbaker June 13, 2018
You can buy sweetened condensed coconut milk on Amazon.
Martin December 12, 2017
I made these and got 44 out of the recipe. I found them to be a bit too salty, but maybe because the coconut wasn't sweetened. Also, used desiccated coconut cause I haven't found shredded anywhere near me. Might have to order online. Maybe if I mix with some confectioner's sugar it will taste a bit nicer. Anyhow, this tasted really good and are super simple. Thanks for the recipe!
Anne May 12, 2017
Made these exactly as directed and they came out great! Will absolutely make them again.
judy April 19, 2017
I use unsweetened coconut and they are plenty sweet. Great recipe!
Douglas B. April 18, 2017
simply lovely. I sprinkled mango salt (a finishing salt) on top just before putting in the oven
Eleanor A. April 15, 2017
I just made macaroons with unsweetened coconut chips using Genius Recipes's version and loved them. Very pretty with the larger coconut chips. How does this recipe compare?
Gabriela April 10, 2017
Add mini chocolate chips! Delicious.
Kelly April 9, 2017
I used 1 bag of sweetened coconut ( 14 oz = 4 cups) & 1/2 bag of unsweetened ( 2 cups=2 oz)...& 1/2 tsp of kosher salt...lovely!
Alma M. April 18, 2017
I made as directed and found them a little over sweet so I'm going to try this next time!
Karen L. April 8, 2017
I baked the first batch according to the recipe, but bottoms were very well done, bits of the top were almost burnt and the rest was not golden. Next batch I baked at 325 for 25 mins and they were PERFECT! Just st delicious!
Jeff W. April 7, 2017
No doubt I will make these a second time...but there will be a few changes. First off, as others have noted, this recipe yields basically half the amount given. Additionally, 18 to 20 minutes ended up being the timing, versus 14 minutes that the recipe states. I did not mind any oozing butter from the bottoms, as I feel this is what caramelizes and crisps the bottom of the macaroon, and of course you do remove the cookies from the parchment, leaving any butter behind. However, by the time there was an even golden color, a few of the macaroon bottoms were over done. So...for the next time: I will use cushionaire sheets, as well as bake at a lower temperature. Maybe 350°. The macaroons will take longer to bake, but I sense they will be a more evenly golden color, crispy on the bottom, and not burnt. I am just as excited to try them again, as I was today when making them for the first time.
Jeff W. April 15, 2017
O.K., here I go again....but this time, I am commenting on MY comment :) Last night was attempt #2, and wow am I getting closer to Macaroon perfection. The 3rd. time (next week) will absolutely be the charm. I did use a parchment lined Cushionaire baking sheet, and my timing at 350° was 25 minutes. Additionally, I made half of the recipe, but formed "12" macaroons....so these are a tad larger. For half of the recipe, this means 2 oz. of butter....I used un-salted butter, and I "browned" it first. WOW, what a flavor profile. For half of the recipe, I used 1/4 tsp. of fleur de sel. But guess what....hubs and I thought these were a bit too salty. So next week (for a half recipe) I will use 1/4 tsp. of Diamond Kosher salt. I obsess on weights like no-one's business, and the Diamond Kosher salt is lighter in weight. I'm going to also give it a 27 minute bake time.
Debra April 20, 2017
Jeff, I appreciate the detailed advice. I'm going to try them SOON!
Jeff W. April 20, 2017
Hi Debra,<br />That was nice! Thank you. I'm giving these a go as well tomorrow. They are special enough to nail down technique, so they will be consistent....I am SOOO close :)
Noodle April 5, 2017
I have been making this recipe without butter and egg for years with slightly different proportions (1 14 oz. bag of shredded coconut and 1 can of condensed milk). I also toss the shredded coconut with a tbs of coconut or other GF flour before mixing in the other ingredients.
Lianne April 5, 2017
I made these with sweetened condensed coconut milk instead of regular. Super delicious --crispy edges, custardy middles, not too sweet. However, I echo the other comments: super buttery (like leaking all over the parchment) and only got 34 out of the recipe (used my hands instead of a scoop). Do yourself a favor and use parchment instead of a silpat, just for ease of cleanup. Thanks for the recipe!
Andrea H. April 4, 2017
The problem is not with the butter (I make kosher Matzah toffee which is loaded with butter), but the condensed milk does not exist kosher for Passover.
Ann @. April 2, 2017
Maybe I made them bigger than the 2 oz as my batch took over 20 minutes to brown up in my 375 oven on a heavy sheet pan. Also, beware the bottoms were VERY buttery. I had to blot them twice before plating them for a pot luck social! Otherwise easy, pretty and satisfying.