I've been sort of obsessed with coconut this year. My husband made me this incredible coconut cake which was both adorably decorated and so delicous. And I've been thinking about making coconut pancakes, but banana pancakes are always wanted around here. So when I was thinking about what holiday cookies I would make this year, I knew I wanted to make something coconut. But also something easy. I don't have a lot of cookie recipients this year, so I really just wanted to make a couple things.. the quintessential sugar cookies, something my husband and kids wanted and then something sort of experimental and fun for me.
I love the sweetness of sugar cookies, but these are so decadent without being too sweet. The outside of the macaroon has a light crunch and the middle is creamy. The chocolate is bitter and brings out the natural sweetness in the coconut. And the smoked almonds.. ohhh baby. You can buy smoked almonds at the store, but they are made with vegetable oil and some other artificial ingredients and this seemed too easy not to do. I promise I will bring you another reason to use liquid smoke, so go ahead and buy it.
Coconut Macaroons with Dark Chocolate and Smoked Almonds
Makes about 22 macaroons
For the macaroons:
7 ounces sweetened, flaked coconut (about half a bag)
1/3 cup pure white cane sugar (Domino brand)
2 large egg whites
pinch kosher salt
1/4 tsp. almond extract
For the chocolate:
1 cup dark chocolate chips / 60% cacoa (I use Ghiradelli)
1 tsp. coconut oil
For the smoked almonds:
1/4 cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped (measure first, then chop)
liquid smoke (hickory), about 50 drops (most brands of liquid smoke are gluten-free, but please check your labels)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line baking sheet with silicone baking mat.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the coconut, sugar, egg whites, salt & almond extract. Beat it hard so that everything seems creamy and everything is incorporated.
3. Drops teaspoonfuls of the coconut mixture on your baking sheet. It will seem loose, but should stay together. Bake 25-30 minutes until lightly toasted on top.
4. While your macaroons bake, set a small glass bowl over a small saucepan filled with a small amount of water. (The water should NOT touch the bottom of the bowl) Bring heat up to medium and let the water start to simmer. Add your chocolate and coconut oil to the bowl and stir with a rubber spatula as it melts. Remove bowl when it is smooth and shiny. (If you don't have a small bowl and small saucepan, you could use a larger one and transfer your chocolate to a mug for dipping)
5. Chop the nuts. I bought roasted almonds in the bulk section of my grocery store, but if you can't find them this way, you could roast them in your own oven. Add about 50 drops of liquid smoke. Taste and add more if you like.
6. Once macaroons are completely cooled, dip each one in the chocolate and top with a little bit of your smoked almonds.
7. Store in an airtight container. You can speed up the hardening of the chocolate by placing them in the fridge for about 30 minutes or you can just leave them on your counter for a day and the chocolate will naturally harden and the cookies will still be fresh.