Tuesday, April 15, 2014

coco coco coconut!

 Flour bakery is a local bakery in the Boston area, where they're famous for their brioche sticky buns (they're amazing!), and my sister gave me their cookbook about a year ago.
Last year for Easter I made these coconut macaroons into sweet little "nests" and was so disappointed with the flavor- mainly because there was none to be found. I liked the simpleness of the recipe (basically a lot of coconut and egg whites) but was so unhappy with the taste that I thought I just didn't like coconut macaroons.

bittersweet chocolate chips are added!
As I flipped through the Flour cookbook recently, I came across a recipe for coconut macaroons that infused pastry cream into the batter. Pretty much any time there's pastry cream involved in anything, I'm in. Then I got crazy- I made them six different ways. That's right, six. Let's count them, shall we? 1. Plain (although they taste anything but!) 2. shaped into a nest with egg-shaped candies (could be M&M's or Cadbury's) 3. shaped into a nest with Nutella oozing out 4. bittersweet chocolate chips added to the dough 5. bittersweet chocolate chips added, then dipped in chocolate, left to harden, and 6. plain then dipped in chocolate and left to harden.
good ol' fashioned plain coconut macaroons
Every variation was a hit and I included all of them in the recipe. I love that you can customize these to your tastes, but the best part is the taste! They have a creamy, sweet center and stay moist and delicious and are definitely worth making. I hope you do!

Coconut Macaroons
Slightly adapted from Flour, by Joanne Chang
Makes 24 large cookies or 45 regular-sized cookies

Recipe Notes:
- The pastry cream is made first so that it has time to cool completely. This can be made the day before to ensure it’s cold.
- The original recipe only makes 24 cookies but we have to remember the source of this recipe: a bakery. Bakeries are known for making enormous cookies, and such. So for the home cook, I used my regular-sized cookie scoop and got 45 cookies!
- If using Nutella in the nests, bake the nests first and then add the Nutella once the cookies are cooled- do not bake the Nutella with the cookies (I know from personal experience- not good). Same thing with the candies. Don't put them in the cookie nests until they're cooked and cooled. 
- The dough can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days, making these perfect for small batches!
- The cooked macaroons can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- The only adjustment I made to the recipe was adding more vanilla. No surprise here.

Pastry Cream
½ Cup milk
2 egg yolks
¼ Cup sugar
2 Tbs. cake flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp. Vanilla extract

For the cookies
Two 14-0z. bags of sweetened shredded coconut
6 egg whites
1 Cup sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt
1 Cup chocolate chips (optional)
or Nutella
or candy eggs
or melted bittersweet chocolate (for dipping the bottom half in)

1. To make the pastry cream: In a small saucepan, heat the milk on medium-high, until scalded, not boiling.
2. While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and glossy (about a minute). Then add the four and salt and whisk until smooth and lump-free.
3. When the milk is heated, remove the pan from the heat and, with a ladle, slowly add a ladle-full of milk into the egg mixture, and whisk to prevent lumps. Then, return the milk and egg mixture into the saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk continuously and vigorously until the mixture starts to thicken (at first it will look frothy and liquid-y, just keep whisking!).
4. Take the pastry cream off the heat and add the vanilla. Pour the pastry cream into an airtight container and place plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream (this helps prevent a skin from forming). Keep in the refrigerator until pastry cream is completely cool.
5. To make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350º F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
6. In a large bowl, combine the shredded coconut, egg whites, sugar, salt and pastry cream (and chocolate chips, if preferred?).  Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
7. To make the bakery-sized large cookies (see note above): using a large scoop, or ¼ Cup dry measuring cup, scoop the dough into rounded mounds on the prepared baking sheet. Regular-sized cookies can be made with just a typical cookie scoop. To make into “baskets”: once the dough is on the baking sheet, press your thumb down the center of the cookie and push the edges around the indent to keep the form in place.
8. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown all over. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.
9. If desired, melt some chocolate and dip the bottom half of the cookies- let the chocolate harden before eating. If using as baskets, fill with Nutella or candies.


  1. We had some of these (thank you!) and they were gone literally in twenty minutes. WAAAY too good!

  2. These look soooo good, thanks!