As almond macarons have become extremely popular recently the coconut macaroon appears to have been pushed aside.
You might ask what is the difference?
The coconut macaroon generally is a basic mixture of egg and coconut dropped onto a baking tray in little mounds and baked until light golden brown and crispy on the outside whilst still being chewy in the middle.
Almond macarons on the other hand involve a little more technical finesse. Without going into too much detail, they use almond meal, egg whites and sugar, and are usually piped into small relatively flat rounds. Once the macarons are baked they are shiny, crunchy on the outside and softer on the inside, then sandwiched together with a buttercream filling. Yum!!
What has this got to do with today’s post, I was reminded of the coconut macaroons I grew up with during my recent travels overseas.
I have just returned from a “well earned” holiday after working for over 5 years in the hospitality arena for 6 or 7 days a week. It was a wonderful change and we were extremely lucky with the weather, only 2 days having a burst of light showers for the whole time we were away. I would like to share some of my travel memories with you over the next few posts.
Whilst travelling in the Alsace region, which is in eastern France on the Rhine River border with Germany, we visited a small town called Riquewihr. It was there we tried a mouthwatering morsel made by: Maison-Alsacienne-Biscuiterie which reminded me of something my mother would bake when we were growing up, the coconut macaroon.
As a child I wasn’t overly fond of coconut in anything, and therefore didn’t eat too many of these, however I am glad to say that my taste buds have certainly changed as I have got older.
I have recreated my mother’s recipe as authentically as possible, even using the edible rice paper as she did. You can buy this from good delicatessens, gourmet food shops or a pack of 100 Wafer Paper from Amazon.
You can however make them without, just line the tin with baking paper.
These are really easy to make, and don’t take a long time to cook. My mother would mould her macaroons in an eggcup and put them on the rice paper. I did exactly the same using an eggcup that measured just under ¼ cup. You don’t have to use an eggcup a mould is fine if you have one.
To keep it original I put a half cherry on top as my mother did. However, you can omit this or replace it with a walnut, half an almond etc. You can also dip the bases into melted chocolate once baked and cooled if you wish.
I have seen these piped onto a baking tray, but I didn’t try this so I am not sure whether the mixture might be a little too firm. They do look nice done this way as shown in the photograph of the ones we purchased in France. We bought vanilla, citrus, pistachio and chocolate varieties, so you might like to try a variation, perhaps lemon or orange zest, leaving out the vanilla extract.
Hope this brings the coconut macaroon back into popularity, as it deserves a place beside a “cuppa”.
Let me know what you think?
Look out for my next post where I would like to share with you my “happy snaps“ and more information about Riquewihr in France. In the meantime, happy baking.
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups desiccated coconut
- Edible rice paper sheets (optional)
- 8 glace cherries cut in half for decoration (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF, 160º C (fan forced)
- Line baking tray with edible rice paper if using or baking paper is fine also.
- Whisk eggs.
- Add sugar, salt and vanilla.
- Stir in coconut to combine.
- Wet mould with water (I used an eggcup). Fill mould with coconut mix and press to firm slightly. Gently tap the mix out of mould onto hand and then place onto tray leaving a small space.
- Top with cherry if using.
- Bake 15 – 18 minutes until lightly browned on the outside. The time taken will depend on the size you have made your macaroons. Keep checking from 15 minutes onwards for the colour you want. Enjoy!