Sharing Secrets For The Perfect Coconut Macaroon

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on August 2, 2011


I have been a Pastry Chef for 20 years, and the last 5 years have been primarily dedicated to developing absolutely delicious cookie recipes for the company I currently run. One of the most difficult cookies to make correctly is the coconut macaroon. I have seen so many different recipes that use everything from condensed milk to coconut milk for moisture. A few key principles that I have learned over the years will allow you to consistently make some of the most delicious macaroons you have ever tasted.

I love coconut…always have. Research now shows that coconut meat and coconut milk is now considered a superfood. This is primarily due to the  naturally occurring antibacterial properties directly related to the lauric acid found in the fruit itself. That’s great news for me because I now have even more reasons to enjoy it…

First, you have to ask yourself what makes a great coconut macaroon?

Well, if you ask me, a great coconut macaroon should be slightly crispy on the outside and soft, creamy and buttery on the inside and not overly sweet. Most macaroons will be this way when they are first baked, but once stored in a sealed container, they will soften up.

You can make this recipe and bake right away if you need to, but you can also pre-scoop it and store it in the refrigerator for a few days and bake them as needed.

I gathered up a few important points that you really need to keep in mind when making coconut macaroons:

  • NEVER use sweetened, flaked coconut in your macaroons…this stuff has such a funny aftertaste. I just don’t know what preservatives they are using to keep it soft that creates such a terrible taste…plus you don’t need the extra sugar that is added.
  • ALWAYS use dried, dessicated coconut. There are different grades of coarseness, so use something that is in the middle. I use the food processor to grind the coconut and the sugar together a little, so that I can control how finely the coconut becomes. I have found that recipes that use very finely ground coconut (sometimes called coconut powder) becomes too mealy and falls apart easily when you bite into it.
  • NEVER use an Italian meringue (cooked sugar meringue) for the coconut macaroon, always use a French meringue since the product will be baked.
  • Coconut items require a good bit of sugar…so no diet recipes here. If you do not use enough sugar, coconut products tend to taste soapy.
  • ALWAYS use a good quality coconut extract to enhance the flavor of the cookie…the ground coconut is just not enough for a good flavor. I also add a little vanilla.

I guarantee that once you have tried these, they will become a regular part of your baking schedule and your friends and family will swoon.

Coconut Macaroons (makes about 21-2oz cookies or about 5 dozen small scoop cookies)
22 oz dessicated coconut
9 oz granulated sugar

3.5 oz butter or margarine, partly melted
.1 oz vanilla (1 teaspoon)
.1 oz coconut extract (1 teaspoon)
.5 oz corn syrup

5 oz whites (about 5)
5 oz granulated sugar

Add all of the coconut to your food processor along with half of the 9 oz of granulated sugar. Process this together until the coconut is well incorporated with the sugar and begins to move around in the bowl slowly. This is telling you that the coconut oil is being squeezed out of the product and will also help with added moisture.  Once it has processed put into a medium sized bowl and then add the remaining half of the granulated sugar. Add the butter (or margarine) to a microwave safe container and heat gently until the butter is slightly melted. Add the corn syrup, vanilla and coconut extract to this and then add to the coconut. Using a rubber spatula, work all of the ingredients into the coconut.

Next, you need to make a French meringue. If you have never made it before, I have a great tutorial which will not only teach you how to make it but will also tell you all of the correct applications for French meringue.

In a clean bowl, add you egg whites with a pinch of salt (if they are freshly separated whites), and begin whipping. They will begin to get very foamy, and as they become fluffier, add half of the 5 oz of sugar and let it continue whipping. Once it has become very fluffy, add the other half of the sugar and allow it to beat until it gets to soft peaks, which will take just a minute or two. DO NOT OVER BEAT or sugar will get very shiny and very stiff.

Immediately fold the whites into the coconut mixture and make sure that all of the whites are incorporated before you begin scooping out your dough.

Bake for approximately 8-12 minutes at 350°F or until golden brown. Allow to completely cool and drizzle with chocolate if you like. Stored properly in a sealed container these will remain fresh for 3 days.


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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Benny Doro August 2, 2011 at 8:28 p

This is a perfect example of how the ingredients, balance of the amounts and technique are so important. I would have not thought about the two different meringue and I would have used the Italian one as it is the one I use most.

I am going to give this one a try Caterina as I love coconut and don’t ever like the store bought ones.. There is nothing like it being baked at home.


avatar Greg August 3, 2011 at 1:08 p

Yum Yum these look absolutely delicious :-)

avatar Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella August 8, 2011 at 5:00 p

I remember being told that coconut was high in saturated fat but as a lover of it I’d much rather adhere to what you say Caterina! :D

avatar Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet August 13, 2011 at 7:33 p

Hi Lorraine! Actually recent studies have shown that coconut ANYTHING is very beneficial because of the lauric acid…and has been found to be a natural anti bacterial agent. Many people put a teaspoon of it in their tea/coffee in the morning to stave off colds and flu. I have been eating it regularly and have not had a flu in over 3 years…

avatar Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet August 13, 2011 at 7:35 p

They definitely are Greg!

avatar Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet August 13, 2011 at 7:36 p

Let me know how it goes…everyone raves about these…

avatar Cheryl January 2, 2014 at 11:51 p

I can’t wait to try your recipe for coconut macaroons. I like the addition of the butter, coconut extract and corn syrup, which I have not seen in other recipes on the internet. I noticed that all your measures are in ounces and having just read an article on liquid and dry measures, I’ve managed to confuse myself. It’s my assumption that all ingredients should be weighed on a scale (with the exception of the vanilla/coconut extracts and corn syrup); also that the corn syrup would be about 5 teaspoons, based on the conversion given for the extracts. Is this correct?

avatar Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet January 7, 2014 at 10:03 p

Hi Cheryl! Yes, I weigh everything to keep things consistent. You can easily pick up a scale these days, something along the lines of up to 6 pounds would work well if you do a good bit of baking. I don’t think that the number of teaspoons would be 5, it would probably be more like 3…corn syrup weighs more than an extract, and usually 1 teaspoon of extract is about .1 oz. I hope that helps! xo

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