Cocoa Coconut Macaroons

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These Cocoa Coconut Macaroons are like a cross between a classic macaroon and a fudgy brownie.

Photography Credit: Cindy Rahe

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I am so excited to share the recipe for these Cocoa Coconut Macaroons because they are seriously one of my favorite things to come out of my kitchen, ever.

I can’t take all the credit, however. These macaroons are inspired by the perfect cocoa macaroons from Alma Handmade Chocolates in Portland, Oregon. I became obsessed with this shop and their macaroons when I lived in there.

Cocoa Coconut MacaroonsThese macaroons taste like something between a classic coconut macaroon and a fudgy brownie. I’ve also added a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt to the tops of mine because I really like having a sweet-salty balance in my baked treats.

There’s one ingredient here that might be a surprise: applesauce! I took this tip from Elise’s recipe for Coconut Macaroons and it worked like a charm, adding moisture to the centers and preventing them from becoming dry or crumbly.

I think my version of these macaroons nails the flavor of Alma’s original. I wasn’t able to do a side-by-side comparison so I can’t say for sure, but my memory says YES!

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Cocoa Coconut Macaroons

Tips for Success

  • These macaroons are made by coarsely grinding the shredded coconut and piping the cookies with a piping bag. This makes pretty, perfectly symmetrical cookies with a soft texture.
  • If you are not planning to pipe these macaroons, leave the shredded coconut as is (do not grind) and shape the macaroons with a cookie scoop or large spoon.
  • It’s not easy to tell by just looking at the color of these cookies if they are done since they’re already dark brown. You’ll know when they’re done when the cookies are still glossy but feel dry to the touch and yield slightly to gentle pressure.

Cocoa Coconut Macaroons Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 18 to 20 macaroons


  • 2 1/4 cups (254g) unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup (148g) sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (22g) cocoa powder
  • 5 tablespoons smooth applesauce
  • Flaky sea salt

Special equipment:


1 Heat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

2 Grind the coconut: Pulse the coconut in a food processor for 30 seconds, until coarsely ground. (Skip this if you are shaping your macaroons by hand instead of piping in Step 4.)

Cocoa Coconut Macaroons

3 Make the batter: In a saucepan off the heat, whisk the egg whites, sugar, cocoa, and applesauce together. Stir in the coconut.

Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is pasty and hot to the touch.

Cocoa Coconut Macaroons

4 Shape the macaroons: Remove the pan from the heat and scoop the macaroon batter into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe mounds onto a parchmentined baking sheet roughly the size of walnuts in their shells.

To shape by hand without piping: Use a cookie scoop or a large soup spoon to portion out the batter.

Cocoa Coconut Macaroons

5 Bake the macaroons: Sprinkle the tops with flaky sea salt and bake for about 12 minutes, until they feel dry to the touch and yield slightly to gentle pressure (they will still look glossy). Remove from the oven and cool on the sheet pan on a rack. Once cool, gently lift each macaroon off the sheet pan.

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Cindy Rahe

Cindy Rahe is the recipe maker and picture taker behind Hungry Girl por Vida. She loves to bake from scratch and make things that taste as good as they look. Cindy was born near Seoul but grew up in California and Nevada. She believes strongly in homemade birthday cakes, creamy coffee, and making room for dessert.

More from Cindy

13 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. ANNE

    Recipe calls for 5 Tablespoons of applesauce. Plain coconut recipe (which is great) calls for 5 teaspoons of applesauce. Is this correct?


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  2. Cheri

    Love it!

  3. Katelyn

    Can the sugar be substituted with honey?

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  4. Amanda

    Is there a vegan option

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Courtney

    I have sweetened coconut on hand, any chance that will work for this recipe if I reduce sugar?

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