With all the French macaron hype, coconut macaroons (Congolais in France) have been left in their almond flour dust. However, these gooey, chewy, coconut-y treats are just as delectable and way easier to make. And just like their French buttercream-filled counterparts, they can be flavored anyway you like it. One of the many things my meins mideg (Armenian for grandmother) taught me was how to transform leftovers and not to waste what we have. Her leftovers-in-a-cookie-or-boereg (traditionally a cheese and herb filled phyllo dough parcel) ideas don't always work, but when they do, they are magic. And like magic, it's impossible to figure out how it happened (because, of course, she can never remember what bits and pieces she put in it). This idea of resourcefulness is a practice instilled in her by her mother, as they, like many immigrant families, had to make use of every bit they bought. To me, her tendencies to continue to use this "waste not, want not" mentality is not only about being economical, it's about keeping the memories of her mother alive by making these thrifty ideas part of our family's traditions.
Here are some traditional, and some quirky ways to remix those creamy coconut textures and flavors. Or maybe they'll just inspire you to come up with your own "crazy leftovers" or "what's still in the pantry" coconut macaroons.
Coconut Macaroons 5 ways:
1. Simple Coconut Macaroons (makes 2 dozen):
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Mix together:
- 2 whole eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
- Place tablespoon-sized mounds onto a lined baking sheet.
- Bake macaroons for 20-30 minutes (depending on how you like them, but keep an eye on them as they do tend to turn from perfectly golden to burnt quite quickly).
2. Chocolate Covered, Drizzled, Dipped or Speckled: Make (with 74% cacao chocolate nibs and 1/2 cup of heavy cream) your own chocolate sauce (heat heavy cream just until it comes to a boil, remove from heat and stir in chocolate until is fully melts and sauce becomes smooth) or just buy some (we won't tell) and either cover, dip, or drizzle the cooled macaroons. Have left over chocolate chips at home? Just add 1/2 cup (or more if you like it extra chocolate-y) to the mixture before you bake them.
3. Sea Salt & Caramel: Make or buy caramel sauce, add sea salt (to taste) and drizzle on top of cooled macaroons. You can also add 1/2 cup of chopped up sea salted caramels (like the ones below) to the uncooked mix and bake in the gooey goodness.
4. Raspberries: Jammed or Freshly Puréed: Or try any other fruit you fancy. If you like a sweeter flavor, add 2-3 tablespoons of your favorite jam to the uncooked macaroon mixture. If you want a more tart and fresh flavor, quickly puree your fruit of choice and add about 1/2 cup of the puree into the mix.
5. Nutty, Fruity & Maybe Even a Bit Seedy: I'm sure, like me, many of you have a hodgepodge of leftover nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, pistachios), dried fruit (cranberries, apricots), or seeds (chias, flax, sunflower) that you bought during that "I'm going to snack healthy" phase. Add a 1/2 cup of roughly chopped favorites, or whatever you have, to the uncooked mixture. Trail mix type items are a great way to add extra flavor without too much added sugar. Think decadent granola bar.
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