Crispy outside, soft and chewy inside, these coconut macaroons are only as sweet as you want them to be. Whether you think you love coconut or not, you’ll love these cookies!
Press play ▶️ below and watch me make them, then you try.
Whatever you do, make sure these fancy-looking cookies have the extra crispy edges. That’s pretty much the best part of proper coconut macaroons. Just be sure not to have the edges of the dough tucked in too perfectly, and you’ll have plenty of crispiness.
Even as a little kid, I knew that there was something different about macaroons from a bakery, instead of from a box. It all came down to the crispy edges. Anything from a prepackaged box was weepy and wilted. No amount of chocolate was going to bring those up to snuff!
Now, rather than waiting to find the perfect bakery with just the right crisp edges, I make them myself. And what’s even better? My own kids don’t even know a thing about those sad, boxed macaroons.
You know those super fancy French melt-in-your-mouth meringue confections that often come in a rainbow of colors? These are not those. These are gluten free coconut macaroons. Those are macarons. The fanciest thing about this recipe is that you have to whip some egg whites separately before mixing them into the rest of the dough.
It’s one of the few times that I really do recommend using shredded coconut, not the broad, flat coconut flakes that I generally favor for things like granola and general snacking. Oh, and you know those people who swear that they don’t like macaroons, and don’t even like coconut? Well, they’re gonna love these macaroons. Just you watch. (no really—scroll up and watch the video.)
I like macaroons best with a mixture of vanilla and almond extracts. The almond extract really enhances the coconut flavor, and reminds me of the bakery-style cookies.
I always add just a few ounces of miniature chocolate chips to the cookie dough. The mini chips add just the right texture and chocolate flavor throughout the cookie. And of course, the chocolate drizzle is optional, but it definitely makes them look absolutely beautiful.
Especially since this recipe doesn’t need any sweetened condensed milk like some recipes, I really like making them with unsweetened coconut. It really allows us to control the sugar so the other flavors shine through brilliantly.
I also include instructions for how to make these gorgeous nuggets with sweetened coconut, in case that’s all you can find. Thankfully, my local Trader Joe’s now sells unsweetened flaked coconut. Love you, Joe.
Oh, and they’re naturally dairy free, so no substitutions needed there!
Gluten Free Coconut Macaroons
3/4 cup (105 g) basic gum-free gluten free flour blend (69 g superfine white rice flour + 23 g potato starch + 13 g tapioca starch)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 3/4 cups (450 g) unsweetened flaked (shredded) coconut*
1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
3/4 cup (164 g) packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or half pure vanilla extract, half pure almond extract)
2 egg whites (50 g)
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
4 ounces miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
6 ounces dark chocolate, melted (optional, for drizzling and dipping)
*A note about coconut: If you would like to use sweetened coconut, to control for sweetness, omit the granulated sugar.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour blend, baking powder and salt, and whisk to combine. Add the coconut and mix to combine. In a small bowl, place the egg, brown sugar and vanilla, beat to combine well, and add to the large bowl of coconut. First with a spoon and then with clean hands, mix to combine. Set the bowl aside. In a separate, medium-size bowl, place the egg whites and beat on medium speed with a handheld mixer until soft peaks form. Add the granulated sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Add the beaten egg white mixture to the large bowl of coconut, and mix until well-combined and all of the coconut is moistened and holds together. Add the optional chocolate chips, and mix until evenly distributed throughout.
Using a large spring-loaded ice cream scoop or two spoons, drop the cookie dough in tight mounds of about 2 tablespoons each on the prepared baking sheet, about 1-inch apart from one another. They will not spread at all during baking. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake until golden brown underneath and beginning to brown on top (about 12 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes or until firm. Store in a sealed glass container at room temperature to maintain crispness.
Recipe originally published on the blog in 2015. Video new, some text new, recipe mostly unchanged.