Coconut Macaroons

Wow, these were delicious. It’s worth the extra time to make these with pastry cream. I’ve done gluten-free versions with coconut and sweetened condensed milk, but these little babies far surpass my others. There are some steps involved – and advanced prep – but it’s worth it. Be sure to measure everything out.

Coconut Macaroons
Flour, Joanne Chang 

Pastry Cream
1/2 cup (120 grams) milk
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
2 Tablespoons cake flour
Pinch of kosher salt
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Two 14 ounce (400 gram) bags of sweetened shredded coconut
6 egg whites
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
Pinch of kosher salt

To make the pastry cream: In a small saucepan, scald the milk over medium-high heat (bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan, but the milk is not boiling). While the milk is heating, in a small bowl, (I recommend a medium bowl) stir together the sugar, flour, and salt. (Mixing the flour with the sugar will prevent the flour from clumping when you add it to the egg yolks.) In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until blended, then slowly whisk in the flour mixture. The mixture will be thick and pasty.

Remove the milk from heat and slowly add it to the egg-flour mixture, a little at a time, whisking constantly. (It helps to put the bowl on a damp towel to keep it still while you’re whisking and pouring. And turn on music while you do this because you’re spending some time whisking later.) When all of the milk has been incorporated, return the contents of the bowl to the saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk continuously and vigorously for about 1 minute, or until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. At first, the mixture will be very frothy and liquid; as it cooks longer, it will slowly start to thicken until the frothy bubbles disappear and it becomes more viscous. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, placing it directly on the surface of the cream, and let cool completely.

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (that’s what I use) or butter it.

To finish the macaroons: In a large bowl, combine the coconut, egg whites, sugar, salt, and pastry cream. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. (The dough can be make up to 5 days in advanced and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)

Using a 1/4 cup dry-measuring cup or a large spoon, scoop the dough in rounded mounts onto the prepared baking sheet. The macaroons are pretty big with the measuring cup – I liked using a spoon. I tried both. 

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown all over. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes, then transfer the cookies to cool completely.

The macaroons can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.  Good luck walking past them without taking a bite!

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