One of my favorite cookie treats may seem somewhat exotic, but they are actually not difficult to make. They use all of the usual components although they have a couple of things, such as coconut flakes and almond extract, that may necessitate a quick shopping trip. It’s worth it though because in the end you have a satisfying and unique cookie that you typically only see in fancy bakeries and upscale coffee shops. What I’m referring to are macaroons. Specifically, my coconut pecan macaroons.
Although there is some confusion about the name, macaroons are a common and well-known drop cookies which are usually made with coconut and dipped in chocolate. They are light and fluffy, yet they have a glossy, tough enamel. Macaroons are very sweet and nutty tasting. The coconut, almond, and pecan flavors make it a very nice baked good to pair with a medium roast coffee.
Macaroon or Macaron?
One little “o” makes a big difference. Although the spelling is different between the two, there has always been confusion and a strange link between these cookies. Macaroons and macarons have coexisted for nearly 6 centuries in some form or another. Macaroons are almost totally different from macarons. At least in appearance. When you look at the composition, you can start to see how the two bear some resemblance. To look at them though, you would immediately conclude that while similar in name, they are a world apart.
Macarons are very clean, very precise sandwich cookies made with meringue and a filler such as buttercream or jam. They are usually very petite and you buy them stacked together in boxes.
Macaroons, the drop cookies we are making today, are light and airy. In America, they are known mostly to be made with coconut and dipped in chocolate, although there are several other regional variations on this fluffy treat. Macaroons are mound-like. They can be made with some precision, but they generally come out with a rougher appearance.
Where do Macaroons Come From?
Both cookies have Italian origins. Only the macaron in sandwich cookie form, as we know it today, came about much later when a Parisian chef put his own spin on the egg white cookie. Although egg white is the common ingredient between macarons and macaroons, the term macaroon is actually derived from the Italian word ammaccare, which means to crush. The word refers to paste. Specifically, the almond paste that the earliest macaroons were made with, which is as early as the 8th century when they are thought to have been invented by Italian monks.
Macaroons with coconut as they are mostly recognized in the US, came about as a result of international trade. Coconut flakes were used instead of almond paste because it traveled longer without spoiling. Interestingly enough, almond is another common ingredient between the two earliest forms of cookie. Although the sandwich cookie and drop cookie look nothing alike today, it’s possible that they are more closely related to each other than we now realize.
Coconut-Pecan As a Flavor Combo
This macaroon recipe uses almond extract and is chock full of those delicious coconut flakes. One unique thing about this recipe for coconut pecan macaroons is the coconut pecan combo, which is an understated partnership, but a well-known one nonetheless.
Now you can find coconut and pecan together in cakes, pies, cookies, and ice cream. Both ingredients are naturally sweet and buttery. They also both taste best toasted. Their individual flavors are nuanced and subtle, but together they form a power duo.
The Best Chocolate to Use For Coconut Pecan Macaroons
Now, you can use any chocolate you care to for this recipe. Any chocolate will do, and I know that everybody has their favorite. If you want your chocolate to closely resemble the flavorings of a German chocolate cake, you will want to use a very sweet dark chocolate.
Start out with semisweet chocolate and work from there, sweetening it with sugar. German chocolate. The difference between the two chocolates is that German chocolate is intensely sweet, whereas semisweet chocolate by definition, isn’t. The actual chocolate flavor in German chocolate is more subdued.
You can also use dark chocolate, white chocolate, or milk chocolate to dip your macaroons in. If you would like to make more colorful treats, start with white chocolate and mix in food coloring gel after melting.
You can easily melt chocolate wafers in the microwave, but for best results, you should use a double boiler. If you don’t have one, you can make a temporary one at home using a glass bowl and a saucepan. Just make sure the bowl fits snugly over the top of the saucepan.
Optional Enhancements for Coconut Pecan Macaroons
These are some pretty amazing macaroons with lots of nutty rich flavor. There is very little need to go over the top. However, these light and airy drop cookies lend themselves nicely to decoration. You can drizzle or coat them however you like and even add caramel sauce over the top. Instead of super sweet chocolate, you can try mixing in a little bit of cayenne pepper after the chocolate is melted for a bit of heat.
Ingredients to Make Coconut Pecan Macaroons
- Egg whites
- Almond extract
- Coconut flakes
- Pecans, chopped
- Chocolate melting wafers
How to Make Coconut Pecan Macaroons
- Preheat oven to 325°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Using a large bowl, beat eggs whites until foamy.
- Add in sugar, flour, almond extract, and salt to bowl and beat until combined.
- Gently fold coconut flakes and pecans into mixture.
- Drop by rounded tablespoon, 2″ apart onto prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 13-17 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
- Remove from oven and slide parchment paper off of baking sheets onto counter/cooling tray.
- Once macaroons are cooled completely, heat half of the chocolate melting wafers in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals.
- Dip the bottom half of the macaroons into the melted chocolate and place, chocolate side down, on parchment paper.
- Drizzle chocolate over top and let dry completely.
Try These Delicious Coconut Macaroons Today
Here are a few more delicious recipes you can find on the blog:
- Coconut Pecan Brownies
- German Chocolate Cake
- Cashew Toffee Butter Crunch
- Creamy White Cake with Buttercream Frosting
- 4 egg whites
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ tsp almond extract
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 4 cups coconut flakes
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- 10 oz bag Ghirardelli chocolate wafers
Preheat oven to 325°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
In a large bowl, beat egg whites until foamy
Add in sugar, flour, almond extract, and salt. Beat until combined
Gently fold coconut flakes and pecans into mixture
Drop by rounded tablespoon, 2" apart onto prepared baking sheet
Bake for 14 minutes or until lightly golden brown
Remove from oven and remove from baking sheet
Once macaroons are cooled completely, heat half of the chocolate melting wafers in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals until melted.
Dip the bottom half of macaroons into the melted chocolate and place, chocolate side down, on parchment paper
Drizzle chocolate over the top, let dry completely and enjoy.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
Here are a few pics that are the perfect size for pinning to Pinterest.
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