deb perelman’s coconut macaroons two ways: raspberry or dark chocolate
I’m a sucker for a good macaroon—not the cardboard kind, but the melt-in-your-mouth coconut bombs. For a while, the ones I made most were these ambrosia macaroons, made with butter and orange zest. Then I got sassy and switched to Alice Medrich’s New Classic Coconut Macaroons, made with fancy unsweetened flakes. Of course, both of these recipes are still delicious and still on rotation.
But these days, the macaroons I make (and crave) the most are the ones from the inimitable Deb Perelman. She’s published two macaroon recipes: raspberry coconut in 2012 and dark chocolate coconut in 2014. They share the same skeletal recipe and yield an exquisitely tender cookie. Deb uses sweetened flaked coconut, which isn’t exactly trendy (see Alice Medrich’s recipe above), but the sweetened flakes add unbelievable moisture. She also grinds the coconut in a food processor—a technique she picked up from Cook’s Illustrated—for fluffy, cloud-like texture and maximum coconut flavor. She also uses far less sugar than traditional recipes, letting the other ingredients sing: almond, sea salt, raspberry, chocolate. The result is a next-level macaroon. And both variations are equally sublime. The tart berries perk up the dreamy coconut, and they look beautiful swirled into the snowy cookies. The dark chocolate, from the addition of both cocoa powder and melted chocolate, becomes fudgy and truffle-like. They’re both so good, I’m not picking sides.
Deb Perelman’s raspberry or Dark Chocolate coconut macaroons
Since they share the same base recipe, I combined both below, with the slight variations for each in convenient choose-your-own-adventure form. Originally, Deb’s chocolate version calls for vanilla extract instead of almond extract; I’ve made them both ways and prefer the almond flavor. Otherwise, no changes. One big note: I’ve tested out a bunch of different sweetened coconut brands, and I’ve found that these are most delicious with Baker’s Angel Flake Sweetened Coconut.
About 4 dozen small cookies.
COCONUT MACAROON BASE:
14 ounces (400 grams) sweetened, flaked coconut
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated sugar
3 large egg whites
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon flaked sea salt or level 1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
FOR RASPBERRY VERSION:
1/2 pint (6 ounces, 170 grams or 1 1/4 cups) fresh raspberries (if washed, patted very dry)
FOR DARK CHOCOLATE VERSION:
6 tablespoons (30 grams) cocoa powder
4 ounces (115 grams or about 1/3 cup) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
Heat oven to 325°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a food processor, blend the coconut for one minute. Add sugar (and cocoa powder for dark chocolate version) and blend another full minute. Add egg whites, salt and almond extract and blend until combined.
For the raspberry version, add the berries to the coconut base and pulse on and off in short bursts about a dozen times until mostly mixed in (you want a mix of white and pink with raspberry flecks; resist the urge to stir together. For the chocolate version, gently melt the unsweetened chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, until just melted, then add to food processor and mix until combined.
With a tablespoon measure or cookie scoop (Deb uses a #70 scoop), scoop batter into 1 to 1 1/2-inch mounds. The cookies puff but don’t spread, so they can be spaced fairly close together.
Bake raspberry macaroons for 25-30 minutes, until toasted on top; bake chocolate macaroons for 15 minutes, until shiny and just set. Let them rest on the tray for 10 minutes after baking or until fully cooled. They’ll firm up, but still remain softer and less dry inside than traditional macaroons. Keep in an airtight container for up to a week.