The best chewy coconut macaroons have a hint of almond and a big dose of semisweet chocolate. These Chocolate Coconut Macaroons are the perfect Christmas or holiday cookie - and they are made without condensed milk.
It's said that behind every cookie there's a love story. Ok—maybe I'm the one that said it. The story behind these amazingly chewy chocolate coconut macaroons started with an obsession with all things Susan Branch. Her cookbook, The Heart of the Home, remains one of my favorites and the Susan Branch Christmas book is dog-eared thanks to the recipe for these easy chocolate coconut macaroons (among others).
For some of you, I know coconut is a bad word. It has the same polarizing power as cilantro or beets. You either love it or you hate it. So - if I lose you here, please check out my raspberry thumbprint cookies or these peppermint whoopie pies.
Your holiday cookie tray will be dancing for joy!
Why this recipe
If you happen to be a coconut lover like me, you've probably eaten your fair share of coconut macaroons. So you might be wondering: what makes these different?
- Almond. The tiny amount of pure almond extract mixed in with the vanilla knocks you over in the best way. It compliments the chocolate and will leave your guests wondering, "what is that flavor?"
- No condensed milk. Many coconut macaroon recipes contain condensed milk. You won't miss the extra sugar, I promise!
- Chewy. I know I've said it a couple of times already but these babies are chewy thanks to using egg whites instead of condensed milk. And if you use dairy-free chocolate chips, that makes this a dairy-free coconut cookie recipe!
Macaron or macaroon?
Not to be confused with the macaron which is a meringue cookie, macaroons are coconut-based. The two are connected as France refined the Italian recipe or was it the other way around? Historians trace them as far back as the 8th or 9th century either originating in France or Italy. The addition of coconut came later as a means to help extend the stability of the cookie when shipping, presumably by freight. Regardless of who invented them, we just know they are good.
Let's see why.
The ingredients in these coconut macaroons are fairly straightforward. In addition to typical baking ingredients like flour and sugar, the standouts are:
- Sliced almonds. I have, with success, used slivered almonds as well.
- Semi-sweet or dark chocolate. You can use what you like. I used semi-sweet chips here but have also used a combo of semi-sweet, bittersweet and dark chocolates.
- Vanilla and almond extracts. This combo adds a delicate flavor and brings out the best in the chocolate.
- Egg whites. And here is the secret as to why these chocolate coconut macaroons are so chewy. Egg whites. For added chewiness, you can beat them a bit before adding the other ingredients but if you're in a hurry, you'll still be happy with the results.
How to make chocolate coconut macaroons
One of the best features of these cookies is that they are don't require any chilling and are so easy to make.
Here's what you'll do:
- In one bowl, mix the coconut, sugar and flour until combined (1).
- Then add the sliced almonds (2).
- Stir in egg whites and mix until combined completely (3).
- Drop by tablespoons onto parchment covered baking sheets leaving a bit of room as they won't spread that much (4).
- Bake and then cool completely.
How to melt chocolate in the microwave
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 30 second increments, stirring in between. This will take about 2 minutes tops.
If using a microwave to melt the chocolate, keep a close watch so the chocolate doesn't overcook and "seize" up.-Josie + Nina
Dipping cookies into chocolate
Once the cookies have cooled, dip on half (or maybe just the bottoms) into the chocolate and place on a rack until dry. I sometimes place my cookie sheet with the dipped cookies on it outside on my porch to help the chocolate to harden quickly. (Note: this only works when it's cold outside 😊).
Make ahead.The beautiful thing about these cookies is you can make them ahead of time and freeze them. You can even dip them in the chocolate ahead of time. A few tips:
Freeze. Make sure the chocolate is completely hard before attempting to freeze them. Freeze the cookies in freezer bags or a plastic sealed container for up to 3 months. Try to resist eating a frozen cookie because they are STILL good!
For a lower sugar version, swap the sweetened coconut for unsweetened coconut and use only ⅓ cup of sugar.
Yes! Use the same amount of sugar as indicated in the recipe. They won't be as sweet but they'll be the perfect partner to a cup of breakfast tea!
Certainly not! Use all vanilla if you prefer or use white or milk chocolate instead of the darker varieties. Make these your own!
…before you go...
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Chocolate Coconut Macaroons (without condensed milk)
- 2 ⅔ cup sweetened coconut, firmly packed*
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 4 egg whites, unbeaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chips or bar, coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- Combine coconut, sugar, flour, and almonds. Stir in egg whites and both extracts.
- From rounded tablespoons, form balls and place 2" apart on parchment lined or greased cookie sheets.
- Bake 20-25 minutes till golden brown. Check at 18 minutes depending on your oven.
- Remove from pans and cool on rack.
For chocolate edge:
- In a heatproof bowl, melt chocolate in microwave for 30 second increments, stirring in between each. Once the chocolate is ⅔ melted, stir until the remaining chocolate completely melts. The chocolate should be glossy.(Alternatively, melt chocolate over a double boiler with the same guidelines as above.)
- Dip one edge of the cookie into the chocolate and set on wax or parchment paper until completely set.
- Can be frozen.