I made apricot and cranberry macaroons for my mother. She has always been the coconut lover in our family and macaroons are definitely for coconut lovers. They are the ultimate coconut cookie; slight crispness on the outside giving way to moist, chewy coconut inside. These particular balls of macaroon deliciousness are speckled with chopped dried apricot and cranberries, and dipped in dark chocolate.
My mother doesn’t bake these days and she doesn’t have access to bakeries that make macaroons. Her only option has been to buy the canned macaroons sold in supermarkets during Passover. If you have never been desperate enough to by canned macaroons, I suggest you keep it that way. They are overly sweet and artificially flavored, with a chewy gluey texture; nothing like a homemade macaroon.
Most macaroon recipes are flour and grain free, making them gluten free and kosher for Passover. The biggest difference in the recipes I have tried, is whether or not the recipe uses sweetened condensed milk. There is no question that using condensed milk results in a consistently moist and pleasantly chewy cookie, but they also tend to be cloyingly sweet. Unfortunately, most recipes without condensed milk are often dry and crumbly. I searched for a recipe for moist, chewy, macaroons with coconut flavor that shined.
I found what I was looking for. These apricot and cranberry macaroons are adapted from a recipe by Tori Avey. The unique ingredient in her recipe is starch; potato starch for Passover use or corn starch otherwise. It works as a binding ingredient and keeps the macaroons chewy. I added another unique ingredient, Lyle’s Golden Syrup, which adds moisture and a slight caramel flavor accent.
The macaroon filled care package should arrive at my mother’s door tomorrow. It’s a surprise. I am confident that these Apricot and Cranberry Macaroons will satisfy my mother’s coconut cravings and keep her away from the supermarket after-Passover clearance sale on the macaroons in cans.
Macaroons are fast and easy to make any time the tropical flavor of coconut beckons. For eating at home or shipping in cool weather, I suggest dipping the bottoms in chocolate. The bitter-sweetness of dark chocolate pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the cookie.
Apricot and Cranberry Macaroons (Gluten Free and Kosher for Passover)
- 2 ½ cups dried unsweetened finely shredded coconut
- ½ cup chopped dried apricots or cranberries
- 1 ½ tablespoons potato starch or corn starch for non-Passover use
- ½ cup minus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon Lyle’s Golden Syrup optional for extra chewiness and moisture
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- optional1 (3 oz) bar dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
In a large bowl, mix together coconut, starch, sugar and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk egg whites and vanilla until foamy (about 2 minutes).
Add the egg white mixture to the coconut mixture and stir to fully combine. Stir in the apricot and/or cranberry bits. Then allow to sit for 20-30 minutes to rehydrate the coconut.
Preheat oven to 325° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
After the 20-30 minute rehydrating, stir the batter.
Scoop 2 tablespoon (medium scoop) amounts of batter onto the prepared baking sheet about 1” apart. If desired, use wet fingers to gently shape the coconut mounds.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, just until the bottom edges turn golden.
Cool completely on the baking sheet.
To chocolate coat the bottoms of the macaroons: In a small bowl, melt the chocolate pieces in the microwave for 1 minute at 50% power. Dip the bottoms of the macaroons into the melted chocolate and place on a wax paper lined baking sheet to set. Refrigerating the cookies will speed the setting process. Do not wrap until the chocolate is completely set.
Store macaroons at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Refrigerated macaroons stay fresh for at least one week.
Once the chocolate is completely set, double wrap individual macaroons in plastic wrap, then stack in columns in a freezer weight ziplock bag.
Here are more ideas to quench your coconut cravings! Click on the photo for the recipe.