Coconut macaroons tend to be rather chewy affairs. Super sweet. Super chewy. Like the inside of an Almond Joy bar. (My dad, by the way, loves Almond Joy, gets tons of it to give away at Halloween knowing that the rest of us won’t touch them and he’ll have more for himself.) Me? Not a big fan. That is, until our pastry chef neighbor Evie brought over her macaroons. Soft and smooth on the inside. Lightly sweet. No texture issues. Lovely. The secret ingredient? According to Evie, baby food applesauce. That’s right, baby food. It’s just the smoothest applesauce you can get, and it comes in conveniently small jars. You don’t need that much.
I found after multiple batches and lots of experimenting, that you also need to use unsweetened coconut, somewhat finely ground. Sweetened coconut won’t do, because you won’t be able to break it down enough even in a food processor. I also experimented a bit with the ingredient amounts. I found that you get a smoother cookie through and through if you use 2 cups of the coconut, but if you want a more crunchy, textured surface, you need to add a little more, perhaps another 1/4 cup of coconut to the mixture.
Under no circumstances can you use reduced fat coconut for this recipe. Even subbing a portion of the coconut with the reduced fat kind will result in a dough that doesn't want to hold together or cookies that are too dry to be good.
- 1/3 cup (60g) of egg whites (from 2 extra large eggs, or a teaspoon and a half less than what you can get from 3 large eggs)
- 3/4 cup sugar (5 1/2 oz, 150g)
- 2 to 2 1/4 cups* medium grate unsweetened coconut (5.5 to 6.17 oz, 150-175g)
- 5 teaspoons smooth, unsweetened applesauce (regular or baby food)
If you want a crunchy cookie surface with lots of crevasses, use 2 1/4 cups. If you want a more smooth cookie surface, use 2 cups.
1 Line a bakingsheet with parchment or Silpat.
2 Place the unsweetened coconut in a food processor. Pulse for 60 seconds.
3 Combine the egg whites, sugar, coconut, and applesauce in a medium-sized, thick-bottomed saucepan. Mix well and heat on medium low heat, stirring frequently, until the ingredients are well incorporated, and the mixture forms a smooth paste and is warm to the touch (about 120°F). If the mixture seems too dry or stiff to pipe through a piping bag, add a little more applesauce. If the mixture seems too wet, add a little more coconut.
4 Place warm mixture into a pastry bag and pipe tall mounds onto a baking sheet, about an inch and a half apart from each other. Or form mounds with a 1 tablespoon sized scoop. Let the formed cookies dry out for a few minutes (15 minutes or so) before baking.
5 Preheat oven to 425°F. Bake the cookies until they start to get color on the edges where the cookie meets the pan, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool on the pan for a couple minutes, then carefully lift the pan liner with the cookies off the pan and place on a rack. The cookies will firm up as they cool. Once cool, remove from the pan liner.
Store in a covered box for up to 5 days at room temperature.