The (nearly) perfect macaroon

Here is the final installment in my wife’s macaroon adventure.

Afternoon tea anyone?

I have found the perfect macaroon recipe. Now, I just need the perfect chef. Since we visited Belfast last year, I’ve been on a quest for the perfect macaroon, a dense bit of coconut heaven. What you didn’t realize Belfast was world-renowned for its baked goods? Just look at this picture my husband snapped. Since then my search has taken me far and wide … Epicurious, Bon Appetit, Google, my mother-in-law. I’ve faced obstacles, fire and brimstone. OK, just the fire part, seriously. A recent batch was foiled by none other than the IRS. Hunched over the computer with my H&R Block software I left an entire batch to burn, and we’re not talking just a little brown. All of this brings me to culinary school. Yes, I know I would benefit from some courses but that’s not quite what I mean. I ran across a food blog by one Lisa Boyce, culinary student extradornaire. Her macaroons are exquisite. Big old mounds of sweet coconut. And, she takes the time to dip them in chocolate! So Ruf, as his wife I can call him that, asked for the recipe, which I’m putting below. I still have to try it again. The first time around, I blissfully ignored the fact that the “baker’s” label on my coconut wasn’t the type but the brand. There’s a big difference between the dessicated stuff and the gooey goodness meant for mass consumption.

The cookies I made could send a diabetic three blocks away into shock. Sugar bombs. My coworkers devoured them. On the second attempt, I think I used a tad too much coconut and skimped on the egg white, violating my own mantra, not the white after Labor Day one, but that one should master a recipe before altering it. Still there were glimpses of greatness in this batch, a cookie or two that resembled what could be. I’ll take another stab.

Here’s what I have learned. Parchment is one’s friend. Baker’s coconut is worth paying the extra bones. I need a better thermometer.

Here’s the recipe. Go ahead try it, and tell me I just need to hang up my apron. I’ll even include her variations. (Thanks, LB.)

Coconut Macaroons

  • Egg Whites 12 oz (slightly more won’t hurt)
  • Granulated Sugar 2 lb.
  • Desiccated Coconut (Baking coconut) 1 lb 2 oz
  • Dark Rum (optional) 1 oz
  • Vanilla extract 2 tsp
  • Lime zest, grated 2 Tbsp

In a double boiler over low heat stir together the egg whites, sugar, and coconut. Heat stirring constantly until it reaches 130 degrees. (It will look too dry, but will moisten when heated) Remove from the heat and stir in the rum, vanilla, and lime zest. Let stand for 45 minutes. Drop the batter in 1 and 3/4 oz  portions onto a buttered paper-lined sheet pans. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown, ~18-20 minutes.

Yield 40 cookies


Chocolate-Temper chocolate and once the cookies have cooled, dip or drizzle over each macaroon as above.

Pineapple- Cut 8 slices (12 oz) of pineapple, canned or fresh, into 5 pieces each. Indent each cookie and add a piece to each cookie before baking.

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
This entry was posted in Dessert, Rants and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to The (nearly) perfect macaroon

  1. Oooh, they do look yummy!
    Re your comment on my blog – I would be honoured if you would like to mention me as a versatile blogger. Thanks so much for the kind thought. Have a great week!

  2. Beautiful photo and beautiful recipe! I normally use Donna Hay’s recipe, but I will try yours next time, because adding rum and lime zest sounds like a very good idea.

  3. as a reply to you..yes thank you it would be very nice:)

  4. Jules says:

    I can’t believe I’ve never thought about putting rum & lime in coconut macaroons. I’ll certainly be trying that the next time I make them.

  5. heidi says:

    I’ve been dying to make macaroons. I will keep this recipe in mind.


  6. easybaked says:

    Macaroons are my favorite cookie– rum???? These HAVE to be good!!! I like the pineapple idea too- thanks for sharing! 🙂

  7. Andrea says:

    This recipe looks great. I usually use a Susan Branch recipe, but I think I will give these a whirl. I usually dip half of them in chocolate too!

  8. Lisa says:

    I am so glad that the recipe has proven well (or almost well) for you! I must give credit where credit is due, the recipe is from my baking book, On Baking is the title. Chef Eddy Van Damme is extraordinary. Good luck everyone on your culinary creations!

  9. mdbhayes says:

    I can’t wait to try this. I’ve been trying to find some great Macaroon recipes. I usually will read 20 or so different recipes then try to do one myself taking ideas from others, but I think I’m going to try yours step by step. Sounds as if you have already did all my research for me, thanks so much.

  10. Coconut is my favorite flavor!!! Macaroons are the cat’s meow as far as I’m concerned. Is baking coconut sweetened or unsweetened?

  11. Coconut Macaroons seem like such a simple endeavor. As a chef, though, it took me a million tweaks and experiments before I got to one I was completely satisfied with. And I, too, got sick of coconut!

  12. bakershully says:

    I LOVE macaroons…I make mini macaroons around easter, dip them halfway in chocolate and then a crushed praline/nut mixture. I’ll have to try this recipe variation!

  13. mia says:

    these look fantastic! I am making a few variations next week, will let you know how they come out. photography is beautiful.

  14. Oh yum! We recently had some macaroon adventures in our household and have yet to arrive at the perfect recipe. I’m eager to try yours. With rum and lime zest, they sound amazing!

  15. Alison says:

    I come from a town just twenty minutes from Belfast, originally. I love you officially now for recognising it as the brilliant place it is. Sticking out, really. 🙂

    • There was a festival outside City Hall when we went and we still talk about the food they were making, well the paella namely! And those macaroons. We wished we’d been able to spend more time in Northern Ireland.

  16. Rachel says:

    This recipe might just be the excuse I need to finally get a good kitchen scale… Hmmm… and mmmm! Looks wonderful and I do love chewy goodness!

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