I’m back in Rabat and writing this from a little red chair on my tiny (think smaller than a twin sized bed) front balcony. Many, if not most, of the apartments here have patios, porches, or balconies, but there isn’t a culture of spending time in these spaces. From what I’ve observed, most families convert these areas into a functional outdoor space for drying laundry, potted plants, and satellite dishes. From my current vantage point, I can see 19 other patios or balconies and not a single one of them has even a solitary chair. It’s puzzling to me because the weather here from April to late October is positively delightful. I, the lone Taiwanese-American (a double foreigner!) am the only one observing the street with the afternoon sun hitting my legs, breeze through my hair, and enjoying a cold French beer (Gasp! A woman? With a — BEER?). Let them look. I can get by and get around, but I’ll never fit in.
Anyhoo, onto the recipe. I’ve got several recipes in the queue because I spent my last few weeks in Florida soaking in quality time with my mom and sister, and put blogging on the back burner. Now that I’m back home, I’ve got some catching up to do. Today I’m sharing a simple (only six ingredients) recipe for coconut macaroons. Unlike the fussy French macaron, these are simple to make and delicious for snacking. Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of coconut, but my mother’s chemotherapy had her constantly craving sweets, and I was put to the task of finding things to satisfy her sweet side that didn’t consist solely of JUNK. I settled on coconut macaroons because we had a few leftover egg whites leftover from a Lemon Tart I made.
These were simple, quick, and delicious. In fact, I think I changed my own mind on coconut with this recipe. At the advice of Cook’s Illustrated and Deb Perelman of the Smitten Kitchen, I processed the coconut first, creating a creamier mouth feel. After some experimenting, I discovered, I like my macaroons with a little extra crisp and crunch on the outside, and a sweet, chewy, moist middle. The touch of lemon zest, keeps these tasting light and delicious!
LEMON COCONUT MACAROONS
14 oz. (5 1/3 cups or 1 bag) sweetened coconut flakes (yes, sweetened, otherwise you’ll end up with a drier texture, and it’s very hard to know just how much sugar to add)
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon rind (about 1/2 a large lemon)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pre-heat oven to 325F or 160C.
Place the coconut flakes in the food processor and pulse for 10-12 times. Add the sugar and process for one minute, then add the eggs, salt, lemon, and vanilla. Pulse everything together for 12-15 times. Everything should be well blended and the paste should look a little weepy.
Scoop the mixture into tablespoon sized mounds on a baking sheet. You can round yours out for a more traditional look, but I pinched mine on the sides and patted down the top to create a trapezoid/cube because I liked the crispy edges.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until the outside is toasted and golden and the edges are just starting to crisp. Take the macaroons out of the oven and cool on a wire rack. These little guys to stick a little to the baking sheet, so make sure to cool them for a full ten minutes and remove them with a thin spatula. The cookies will feel firm to the touch, but the inside should retain the soft, chewy texture.