Yesterday I realized we had no real dessert in the house. Travesty! (Also the result of ten days away, and being really OCD about cleaning your kitchen before vacation.) There's usually at least something sweet to be scrounged up, whether cocoa powder for a quick stovetop chocolate pudding or a leftover slice of cake wrapped up in the freezer. Okay, perhaps I'm being dramatic, as there was a pint of vanilla ice cream with a few spoonfuls left in the bottom (and a serious case of freezer burn), but nary a cookie in sight.
For me, a bowl of cereal or a handful of chocolate chips will do in a pinch. I can even be happy with some yogurt and jam (I know, I know, I'm so accommodating). But my better half loves being surprised with something truly dessert-like at the end of dinner, and there's nothing nicer than being able to make someone so happy with something so simple.
Enter: Chocolate coconut macaroons. I had a busy day of work, and this is a perfect recipe to make when you're pressed for time. You can certainly leave the chocolate out, or only use one type instead of the three I used, but I love the extra dimension of flavor that chocolate adds. If you don't have chocolate, other nice add-ins would be cacao nibs, toasted nuts, almond paste, or even unsweetened toasted coconut flakes. I've also made a version of this recipe using frozen raspberries which is delicious and pretty in pink.
I toast half of the shredded coconut in the recipe. You don't have to do this extra step, but it doesn't add much time, as you can merely toast it while the oven preheats. I like the texture it adds, plus it makes the coconut taste nuttier and more intense. Why not toast all of it, you ask? Good question. When untoasted, sweetened shredded coconut will make the cookies more moist and chewy, which is a hallmark of these macaroons. So toasting half gives you the best of both worlds (intensified flavor + crispness from the toasted, moisture + chewiness from the untoasted).
Upon giving the aforementioned fellow a bowl of two of these, I listened to satisfied munching while we finished the latest episode of Billions (seriously though, Damien Lewis, fierce). I looked over and asked if wanted more. "Yes please." I asked how many. "One." "Wait, two." "Hang on!" I look over to see him holding up 3 fingers. If that's not a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is!
I like to bake these just enough that they get crisp and golden brown on the edges. If you freeze them, those crunchy edges are delicious to nibble at first.
Toasted Chocolate Coconut Macaroons
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar (I use a scant cup as the chocolate adds sweetness)
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate (I use a mix of miniature semisweet chips, milk chocolate chunks, and bittersweet chips)
Preheat the oven to 375°.
Spread half of the shredded coconut on a baking sheet and toast in the preheating oven until JUST barely golden and fragrant. Let cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites with the sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. The mixture should become slightly frothy. Add the cooled toasted coconut and remaining shredded coconut. Stir to mix well. Add the chocolate and stir to combine evenly.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and, using a cookie scoop or ice cream scoop, portion out the batter into 1 1/2"-wide scoops.
Bake the macaroons for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown on the edges. Let cool on the pan, and if not eating immediately (WHO ARE YOU), freeze in an airtight container or ziplock bag.