Coconut-Date Macaroons

It all started with a big ol’ bag of coconut flakes (chips). They’d been hanging out in my pantry far too long. Finally, after looking at them quite a few times, I decided that it was high time I put them to use. But what to do?

I’ve used these big flakes before in granola, and loved how in the oven, they got all toasty, a little crispy, and deliciously chewy. The wheels started a-turnin’, and I thought about how toasty, crispy and chewy would all be wonderful qualities in a macaroon. So I set to making some.

Which, as it turned out initially, wasn’t as simple as just swapping out the finely shredded stuff for these big flakes. Without other modifications, the stuff just didn’t hold together. Which seems fairly obvious now, but at the time, I was at a bit of a crossroads. How could I maintain that chewy, delicious texture that I loved and keep everything together?

Obviously, as you can see, I managed. I couldn’t let you down, dear friends. Deep down, I knew you needed some coconut-y goodness, and I’m all for trying to deliver! These macaroons definitely deliver. I brought them to my coworkers, which, as I’ve probably mentioned before, are all regular gluten and dairy-eaters, and they were definitely well-received. In fact, we regularly receive these (supposedly amazing) freshly-baked mail-delivery cookies for Board meetings and the like, and they were in the office kitchen as well, serving as steep competition. One of my coworkers said she bypassed those mail-delivery cookies in favor of my macaroons, and proclaimed them superior. Made my day.

I hope these macaroons make your day too!

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Coconut-Date Macaroons (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free)

2 egg whites

2/3 c powdered turbinado sugar (I process turbinado sugar in my coffee grinder to “powder” it. I bet using coconut sugar works well here too, though I haven’t tried it.)

1/2 t almond extract

1/4 t sea salt

3 c unsweetened coconut flakes/chips

1/3 c chopped Medjool dates

1/4 c potato starch

1/4 c superfine brown rice flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy. Whisk in the powdered sugar, almond extract, and salt. Stir in the coconut, dates, potato starch, and rice flour until everything is evenly distributed and mixed well. Scoop into 2-inch mounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Slightly press the cookies down with the back of a spoon or your palm, if desired, for more chewy texture. (They’ll be a bit softer if you leave them in a more rounded shape.)

Bake for 15-18 minutes, turning the baking sheet halfway through baking time. Allow to cool on the baking sheet.

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

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