Growing up, our dad would always keep a canister of macaroons in the pantry at our house on Mastenbrook Place. Laurel would dig into them after school or after swim practice. But the sticky sweetness of these cookies was never my thing. I preferred for Fudge Stripes or Deluxe Grahams (which we also always had in stock).
When we were in Panama in February, Laurel caught me scarfing down a snack when I arrived at the hotel after a long day of travel. She said, "hey, wait, is that a macaroon? You like macaroons now?…can I have a bite?" I gave her a morsel and then explained that my gluten-free diet has made me look at macaroons in a different light. Why? Because these little cookies, made of just eggs, sugar, coconut and vanilla, are naturally gluten free. For the gluten-free set, they provide a much welcomed "option" at normal (not specialty gluten-free) bakeries. So I've become BFF's with macaroons.
But, like the ones I remember from the canister, the bakery versions are usually very sweet. They are more of a special occasion cookie and not the daily afternoon pick-me-up I wanted them to be. So I came up with a homemade version that cuts into the sweetness with tart cherries and lime. I also cut back the amount of sugar and did not use any sweetened condensed milk. The result is a lighter, less dense mound of toasted coconut that 's just perfect for dunking in a cup of coffee.
I used a melon baller to make the cookies bite-sized, but they can also be made bigger. I prefer this kid-friendly mini size for a quick snack between workouts.
Recipe Notes: Right out of the oven, the macaroons will be crispy and toasted. They will become softer once packed into a container, but are just as tasty.
Cherry Lime Mini Macaroons
makes about 40 bite-sized cookies
3 egg whites
1/3 cup cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dried unsweetened tart cherries, chopped
1/2 teaspoon or zest of 1/2 of a lime
3 cups grated coconut
2 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt in a mixing bowl for about two minutes, until the sugar looks frothy and is starting to dissolve.
Add the coconut one cup at a time, mixing after each addition.
Add the cherries, zest and milk, stirring until everything is combined.
Using the tablespoon from your measuring spoon set, form the dough into firmly packed half spheres and use you finger (or a knife) to nudge the dough ball out and on to a parchment lined baking sheet.**
Bake for 10 minutes, open the oven and rotate the pan 180 degrees. Continue baking for another 10-12 minutes.
If the macaroons are not browned on top, switch the oven to broil and continue cooking for 60 to 90 seconds. Watch the cookies the entire time they are under the broiler and pull them out as soon as they start to brown.
**to make bite-sized cookies, use a melon baller