I have been known to experience writer’s block when it comes to developing recipes, and last week was no exception. I knew I wanted to come up with something sweet, but for the life of me could not summon one ounce of inspiration. The next day I was making a batch of Coconut Macaroons for my mom, Neeners, for Mother’s Day. It’s one of her favorites, especially when I cover half the cookie with melted chocolate or butterscotch. (Neeners would probably even eat beets, which she despises, if they were coated in chocolate or butterscotch).
All of a sudden, as if mentally struck by lightning, I thought “Hey, wait a second – this whole chocolate and butterscotch thing really seems more like a winter dessert. Is there a way to make this more like spring or summer?” My eyes guiltily drifted to the 8 egg yolks sitting on the counter that are always left over after making macaroons, and that typically find their way to the garbage. Eureka!! How about using up those yolks to make a thick and rich Lemon Curd, then make little nests in the unbaked cookies and fill the whole works with lemon?? No more wasted yolks, and what have I got to lose? If all else fails, I can just dunk the cookies in chocolate, and Neeners will never know. So that’s what I did, and I think we’ve got a winner. The bright and creamy lemon curd is a match made in heaven for the chewy coconut cookie. On top of all that an added bonus is that you’ll have leftover lemon curd, and it freezes beautifully. Haul it out of the freezer to use on muffins, scones, or ice cream. The cookies freeze like a charm also, and I usually make a double batch to make sure I’ve got a stash on hand at any given moment.
These coconut macaroons are guaranteed to brighten anybody’s day, and are just the thing for dropping off on a friend or neighbor’s porch, ringing the doorbell and social distancing far enough back to jump up and down and wave before being on your way. The lemon curd is sturdy enough to hold it’s shape if you put it into a shallow box or aluminum pan lined with parchment – the only thing is to keep plastic wrap off the tops or you will most likely have a smeared mess on your hands which kind of defeats the purpose.
Here’s how the coconut macaroons look when they’re done. They still will appear to be shiny, which can be deceptive, but look for the brown edges appearing – then you know they’re ready to come out of the oven. Make sure they are cooled before adding the filling or, once again, a mess will result.
Speaking of lemon curd, this stuff is easy as pie to make, and this recipe doesn’t require the typical double boiler apparatus that to me is a giant pain to maneuver. Ingredients go into the pan, cook until set up, stir in the butter and strain out the lemon zest and you are done. The added bonus is that you’ll have lemon curd leftover to pop into the freezer, if it lasts that long.
Happy cooking baking, everyone! Hope you enjoy these coconut macaroons….and I hope you are all well and happy and hanging in there. xoxoxo
I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to send me any comments, questions, or suggestions my way. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I promise to reply to each and every one.
- FOR THE MACAROONS
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 8 large egg whites (reserve the egg yolks for the Lemon Curd)
- ¾ cup unbleached flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 6 cups shredded coconut (pat the coconut down fairly tightly – this means you’ll be using nearly 1 ½ packages of coconut)
- FOR THE LEMON CURD
- 8 large egg yolks
- Grated zest of 2 large or 3 small lemons
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (probably between 3-4 lemons)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons cold butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
- FOR THE MACAROONS
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper.
- In a large bowl or electric mixer bowl, combine coconut, sugar, flour and salt until well blended.
- While mixer is running, slowly pour in the egg whites. Continue to mix until all liquid is absorbed, and when you run a rubber spatula along the bottom of the bowl, you don’t see liquid pool. (If you skip this step, you will have a gloppy puddle at the base of your cookie when it bakes – yuck).
- If you have an ice cream scoop that holds 2 tablespoons, use one scoop per cookie. Arrange on baking sheet. You can place these cookies pretty close together, since they do not tend to spread during baking.
- Using the rounded end of a rubber spatula or anything similar, make a hole in the center of each cookie – don’t push all the way down to the bottom of the cookie, but you can get pretty close. Wiggle the end of the spatula around a little bit to create an opening about ½ inch in diameter if you can manage it.
- Bake for about 15 minutes. The best way to tell they are done is to look at the tops of the cookies; they should begin to turn golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least five minutes on the baking sheet. Place on cooling rack and cool completely.
- FOR THE LEMON CURD
- In a large saucepan, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice and zest, and sugar.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. It’s important that you keep stirring, and don’t look away from the pan because things happen fast once they get going. If you’ve got an instant read thermometer, the curd will be done when it reaches 160 degrees. If you don’t have one, make sure the curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. I didn’t get my
- thermometer out in time, and once I checked, my curd was 180 degrees and had started to think about boiling – no worries. It turned out just fine so this is not something you need to panic over. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt and butter. The butter should be added and stirred in piece by piece. Wait for one piece to melt in before adding the other.
- Here’s the important part: After you’ve stirred in the butter, it’s pretty critical to pour the curd through a fine mesh strainer into a medium sized bowl. Use a rubber spatula to keep working the curd around and pushing it out into the bowl. This exercise will get rid of all of that lemon zest and any lingering undesirable egg parts that might be hanging around in your pan. You will be rewarded with a thick, rich, super smooth and creamy piece of lemon heaven. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.
- TO ASSEMBLE
- All you need to do is lay the cookies out on a serving plate and drop spoonfuls of curd into the little nests you made. NOTE: These are best filled right before you eat them. It’s no big deal since it takes all of 5 seconds to fill a cookie, and then your curd doesn’t get smeared all over the place.