… Crunchy, Chewy, Bright, Coconut Cookie Goodness!
If you’ve been reading Daily Forage for a while, you probably know how much I love shredded coconut. I don’t really obsess for an intense flavor of coconut, but I love using shredded coconut in my baking and smoothies or shakes whenever possible. There’s just something magical about it that really intrigues my palate. Maybe it’s the strands of chewiness, or the way it adds texture to baked goods, or the lovely crispness that occurs when coconut is baked and browns slightly into a crunchy bite.
This recipe for Amaretto Tart Cherry Coconut Macaroons is the epitome of all the above-mentioned characteristics – chewy, textured, and crispy coconut strands on the outside. Bonus traits to these gluten-free, dairy-free macaroons are the tartness from the dried cherries and the almond essence from the amaretto and almond extract. If you prefer to omit the alcohol, simply leave out the amaretto. I, however, absolutely love the pairing of coconut, amaretto, and tart cherries.
Perhaps it doesn’t need to be said (I can be an over-achiever sometimes), these chewy macaroon cookies are designed as an adult treat with the inclusion of the amaretto. Leave it out and they’re free for the taking – though I have always thought of macaroons as more of an adult palate-pleaser anyway. I know they’d never have crossed my lips as a kid. I think the exact thoughts were, “Ooooh, yuck!” But I’m very over that now. Thank goodness!
Be sure to allow the macaroons to bake long enough to thoroughly cook the center, though it will still be rather damp when they come out of the oven. For most ovens, somewhere between 14 and 20 minutes will be just right. If they start to brown too much, lightly cover with a piece of foil for the last couple of minutes. You also want to caution against baking them long enough that the center is dry because they’ll be too dry and hard the next day. Macaroons have a tendency to set and dry out perfectly by the second day. That’s when I absolutely cannot keep my hands off of them. I purposely only bake a half batch if I’m the only one around – limits the gains (as in pounds).
I like to use a #40 scoop (about a 2 Tablespoon quantity or golf-ball size) to get the perfect serving size and for the baking time I’ve recommended. They can easily be made smaller (with the proper baking time adjustments) if you prefer a more bite-size macaroon.
Often I like to include a few serving suggestions with my recipe, but I honestly don’t have any for these cookies. They are blissful and bold as is. Happy Baking!
Gluten-free Dairy-free Amaretto Tart Cherry Coconut Macaroons
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 16-20 minutes
Bake temp: 350ºF
Makes: 18-20 cookies (recipe halves and doubles well)
2 large egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla – I use McCormick
2 ½ cups shredded coconut – I use sweetened but unsweetened would be just fine and reduce the sweetness a bit.
1 teaspoon amaretto – I use Disaronno
¼ teaspoon almond extract – McCormick
¼ cup dried tart cherries, chopped
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine egg whites, sugar, salt, vanilla, coconut, amaretto, almond extract and cherries in a large bowl. Mix well, using your hands to thoroughly combine ingredients.
Scoop out 1 small scoopful (I use a #40 scoop, about the size of a large walnut) onto prepared pan. Continue with all the mixture. These macaroons don’t spread while cooking so you might be able to get all of them onto one baking sheet. With damp fingers, form the balls into a more stacked or pyramid shape, if desired.
Bake macaroons at 350ºF for 16-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown. They will be moist in the center, but will firm up and become less damp when they cool.
Remove from oven and transfer cookies – still on the parchment – to a cooling rack. Let set about 20 minutes, or until completely cool.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. (In my dry, winter climate, I left mine on the cooling rack open to the air over night and they were even better the second day.)
Safe food is a journey … Thrive!™
*Amaretto Tart Cherry Coconut Macaroons first appeared on DailyForage.com and has been shared on Gluten-Free Fridays #234 at Vegetarianmamma.com.