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light my fire

Recipe: coconut macaroons

It’s the Fourth of July holiday weekend for me and my fellow Americans, but we kicked off the celebration with pyrotechnics of sorts earlier this week!

need a light?

flowers bursting

ignite boulder 5

milling about before the show while live tweets come in

Ignite Boulder 5 was the fifth in a series of community events (founded by Andrew Hyde) featuring talks with a twist: each speaker has 5 minutes to deliver a presentation of 20 slides that advance every 15 seconds. Perfect for the minimal attention span population or for anyone in need of a good laugh. They should require this format at scientific conferences. My three favorite talks from the evening also taught me something new: Larkin Carey – Surviving Free Fall from 30,000 ft without a Parachute: A DIY for the unfortunate airline passenger, Bruce Wyman – Marine Mammal Biology, Garret Smith and John English – World War Corn.

And several good things have been landing on our doorstep of late including a package of dried organic rose buds from my dear Susan (thank you, hon) and a high-angle rescue harness for Kaweah. She didn’t mind the harness much at all and even wagged her tail several times as Jeremy took her for a test drive around the house.

smells like a garden

some folks have child carriers, we have a dog carrier

I’ve never been much of a gluten-free baker because I like gluten, I like baking with gluten, and I eat gluten. Most of the gluten-free (GF) people I know are of the “I can have a little gluten” camp. Andrew is the first person I know who gets really ill from gluten, and because of that I am extremely careful about what I make for him. If I ever made anything GF in the past, it was pure chance. I don’t seek out GF recipes, but if I come across a good one that happens to be GF, it gets filed away with a mental tag “can feed to Andrew without killing him”.

unsweetened, shredded coconut and sugar

mixing with a whisk is stupid, use your hands

I have had a torrid affair with the French macaron this year (blame Helen), but its simple American cousin has been on my todo list for some time. For me, the coconut macaroon and the French macaron do not move in the same social circles. This has more to do with how they are made than how they taste. I could make a macaroon blindfolded with one arm tied behind my back. After hundreds of French macarons, I am still trying to get them *just right*. One is trivial, then other is not.

form mounds of macaroon dough

baked to barely golden

Be sure to let the macaroons cool completely before handling them or they will start to fall apart. I know this because I had one decapitate on me when transferring it to the cooling rack. Despite its simplicity, or perhaps because of its simplicity, the coconut macaroon earns high marks in my book. Of course, this is assuming you like coconut (if you don’t, you’re SOL on this one). It’s a moist and chewy mouthful on its own. Dip it in dark chocolate and you have not only gussied up the macaroon, but added a creamy, rich dimension to the cookie. I tried dipping in tempered chocolate, but it came out of temper too quickly and I suspect it was a tad thick. A glaze would be smoother and probably look better.

i thought i’d be clever and temper some chocolate

advice: use the glaze recipe, kids – don’t temper

I tossed some of the chocolate-dipped macaroons to Andrew last night at Ignite Boulder 5 from the balcony. He’s tweeting today which means he’s not dead. They got the Andrew-Seal-of-Approval in addition to the Jeremy-Seal-of-Approval. Jeremy, known for his avoision of coconut, is polishing off the last one as I type.

plain and lovely

chocolate-dipped and enticing

Coconut Macaroons
[print recipe]
from Martha Stewart’s Cookies

3/4 cup (175g) sugar
2 1/2 cups (165g) unsweetened, shredded coconut
2 large egg whites (75g)
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt

chocolate glaze
3 oz. heavy cream
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz. unsalted butter, cut into pieces, softened

Bake cookies: Oven 325°F. Set parchment paper on a large baking sheet. Mix all ingredients together by hand in a large bowl (this works better than a utensil – you want everything to be uniformly squishy and gooey). Wash hands off. Dip hands in cold water and shake off excess. Shape a mound or ball from 1-2 tablespoons of dough and set on parchment paper with an inch of spacing between each cookie. Bake 16-17 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 8 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. When cooled, dip the tops of the macaroons into chocolate glaze. Makes about 18 cookies.

Make glaze: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring heavy cream to boil. Remove from heat and add the chocolate, gently stirring until incorporated. Blend in the butter while still gently stirring (don’t incorporate air). Temperature should be around 110-115°F.

59 nibbles at “light my fire”

  1. Jess says:

    That dog harness is incredible.

  2. Kristin says:

    It always feels good when you don’t kill your friends with your food! Great carrier for Kaweah. I love that look in her eyes.

  3. Caitlin says:

    Aawww, Kaweah looks sorta confused in that pic – like, wait a sec, where’d the floor go? And dried rose buds – where will those be going?!? I’m doing the macaron thing this weekend, hoping to be attic-less this time around :P

  4. sara says:

    These look awesome! :)

  5. Rosa says:

    Nice shots! I love that one picturing a lightning!

    Coconut Macaroons are so good! Yours look too tempting ;-P!



  6. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy says:

    Yes, I want to hear more about the dog harness! Are you expecting to use it a lot?

  7. Jillian says:

    I love the second photo down! Wonderfully composed.

  8. Asianmommy says:

    Haha! I love your dog carrier.

  9. April in CT says:

    Showed my hubby the dog carrier and he was definitely impressed and thinking our dachshund would like one for EVERY hike even if he doesn’t need rescuing (lazy little bugger).

    I want to make these macaroons oh so bad and will continue my search for unsweetened coconut. It seems as though none of the stores in my area have gotten the memo that I NEED these macaroons in my belly!

  10. Melissa says:

    “He’s tweeting today which means he’s not dead.”

    You are too funny. And avoision? Ha. I was just blogging about funny language things. I assume you and Jeremy have your own language as well. You seem the type. Whatever that means haha.

    Great looking macaroons, glaze or no. Have a great weekend!!

  11. Rachel says:

    those macaroons look so good (as do all the photos)

  12. Hans says:

    OK, about the dog harness. Are you expecting to do some crevasse rescue, or maybe get him through those crux sections of a Sunday morning dog hike? I don’t get it… is there actually a commercial market for something like this?

  13. RG says:

    April in CT,

    You’ll find unsweetened coconut in an Indian/Asian grocery store. They have the dried flakes & frozen ones.

  14. Valérie says:

    Um, I’ve seen pictures of macarons here before, and they looked pretty darn good to me!

    Having said that, the macaroons looks delicious!

    Crazy pictures: lightning, flowers and a clear blue sky!

  15. Kim says:

    Macaroons look lovely, but the expression on that pup’s face is priceless!

  16. Y says:

    That’s the most hilarious picture of Jeremy and Kaweah ever. The expression! The expression!

  17. Tartelette says:

    Bravo, bravo, bravo for thinking about our 4 legged furry crazy friend!! I have seen too many people on hikes wout anything for their dog, whether it be snacks, water, harness, blankie or cold packs (Tippy would need ice packs said vet if hiking mountains with our temps – good thing we are on flats).

    Hans: it does not matter what type of terrain they get into. I believe that they want to be sure to be able to carry Ms. K if she’d get a bad cramp, an injury , anything due to her older age in relation to the hiking conditions, no necessarily because of the geography in itself.

    Well, I know that I would never be able to have Bill venture eating one of these and that is perfectly fine because believe it or not, the second most eaten cookie in France is the “rocher a la noix de coco” = “coconut rock” = “macaroons”. Grew up on those from the bakery next door and love them too!

  18. April in CT says:

    Thanks for the tip, RG! :o)

  19. charlane says:

    I do adore these and have never made them – I buy the archway ones that are surprisingly good. I will definitely have to try these as I can imagine it beats archway by a bizillion.

  20. Karen B says:

    I’d like to see what happens to Jeremy when Kaweah sees a squirrel!

    I had no idea macaroons were so simple to make! I’m not sure if that’s a good bit of information, since I love them so much! I’ll be trying them soon.

  21. Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) says:

    That dog harness is a wonder!! And I looove the second last picture, the one with the reflection! Great job! Amazing looking macaroons!

  22. peabody says:

    Lol at Kaweah. Though we so could have used one for our dog when we would take her hiking as she would poop out and we would have to carry her the rest of the way.
    Those are my kind of macaroons. I so prefer the coconut ones to the French ones (I know, not very food blogger of me).

  23. Simone (junglefrog) says:

    I love your dog harnass!! We’ve also had our share of serious lighting stuff here this week so it must almost be world wide!! Have a great 4th of July!! Your little macaroons look delicious!

  24. Fiona says:

    Thanks for the recipe – those are some of my favorite cookies.

    As for the harness, it looks great. We used to have saddlebags for our dogs so they could help carry stuff like water and the first aid kit. Plus, with a working dog, it helps them focus and “work” on the trail. We also have booties for when its icy. None of this has been used very heavily since we stopped driving to Mammoth, though. In KY, the temps are moderate, the hills low, and the major environmental hazard is mud. Too bad they don’t make a portable doggie shower.

  25. Janet says:

    Great pics and recipe. But, why the dog carrier.? Are you planning to traverse a crevasse with her?LOL! Have a great 4th!

  26. Manggy says:

    Hmm people not getting the dog carrier :/ Anyway, love Kaweah. In the pic she’s like, “k lady, u got ur pic we gud now?”
    I can’t believe there’s still yet another type of macaroon out there (I’d seen a mac of this type on Cook’s Illustrated before). The ones we make in the Philippines have whole eggs and condensed milk. Yah, we crazy but we loves it :) These are much lighter though, and yes even with my avoision to coconut I make an exception for macaroons.

    Especially when they have chocolate ;)

  27. Ashley says:

    As much as I love coconut, I don’t think I’ve ever made macaroons. Something I must change! These look really yummy.

  28. dawn says:

    OK that dog harness is ADORABLE. But the picture of the two of them is PRICELESS!

  29. Twila says:

    Did you know that those glacier lilies in your second picture are edible? You can eat the whole thing – and they are wonderful. Taking advantage of the backyard grocery….
    Also love the dog harness. Hope you never have to use it!

  30. Kitt says:

    Oh, love macaroons! And so easy to make. You can buy bulk shredded coconut (way cheaper than packaged) at Whole Foods and other such places. It can be hard to find the unsweetened variety at regular groceries. You’ve inspired me to make some today.

    And that harness is awesome. Having had a 70-pound dog go into a seizure above treeline, miles from the car, I know exactly what peace of mind having that harness will bring. (The dog came out of it and was able to walk down on his own, happily.)

    Happy Fourth!

  31. maris says:

    I’m sure the macaroons were lovely but I couldn’t concentrate on them after seeing the adorable/hysterical photos of your “dog carrier.” Poor guy looked so confused!

  32. Alisa says:

    Great recipe – worked wonders – cheered all my friends up even the one who professed not usually liking coconuts


  33. Manisha says:

    I guess some people don’t understand the terrain we live in – ok! you live in cos I am in the flats but I’m close enough and love it – and that our pets love the mountains and hiking as much as we do. I hope you never have to use that harness on Ms K in an emergency and that it helps her get out and up in the mountains as much as she used to.

    I’ve never worked with chocolate and am just getting my mojo back when it comes to baking, so I might just try these with Ms M soon.

  34. LizzieBee says:

    OOoohhh YUM! I love these types of Macaroons, but my partner even MORE so – I think I might have to give the recipe a go :)

  35. Shine says:

    All these questions about the dog carrier are blowing my mind when you explained it in such great and moving detail in your post of June 30th!

    I really appreciate the scale of recipes you include on your site with their varying degrees of difficulty.

    I also really like that in an age where marriage is often ridiculed and romance is presented in a really silly way…you and Jeremy have a strong friendship to be admired. You don’t put that in the forefront of your blog, it is just an element that comes through…like the mountains in the pictures of your flowers. Very much to be respected though!

  36. Christina says:

    LOL, the dog carrier is hilarious! And I know my 13 pound cat would kill me if I attempting this with him.

    I love me some macaroons. If I had a childhood candy, it mos def would be the Almond Joy or Mounds bar, and chocolate-capped macaroons are the homemade version of that.

  37. Lori says:

    These look so delicious. I had a craving for these a couple months ago. Made ’em and ate ’em. hmmm.

  38. Mrs Ergül says:

    I have attempted one coconut macaroons recipe last year. Ironically, being this close to countries with an abundance of coconut, I was not able to locate the unsweetened shredded kind! The commonly available option will be the sweetened dessicated coconut which I guess will be overly dry and sweet for macaroons. so I resorted to using freshly shredded coconut which is high in moisture and goes bad in no time! sigh!

    I will take note to use the glaze recipe instead shall I make these again! You take care Jen! (love your photos as usual!)

  39. Lisa says:

    Jen, I love coming to your blog and looking at your photos, once I’ve read your entry. This one is no exception, and those coconut macaroons look fabulous, and that’s a word that just popped in as i was typing – not trying to channel Ina Garten

  40. Amy says:

    Yum! These look awesome. I’ve made this recipe before and love it. I like to make an extra batch to throw in the freezer, to eat later or to dry out a little to crumble and use for cheesecake crusts.

  41. jennywenny says:

    Poor kaweah, she looks so pissed! Those look super yummy macaroons! Another similar recipe is chocolate sparkle cookies with eggs, chocolate, sugar and almond meal, rolled in granulated sugar for a sparkle. They always go down a treat with everyone I serve them to. I made them for my wedding favors too.

  42. Patricia Scarpin says:

    A Brazilian blogger friend of mine made a batch of these when we first had lunch together – she’s familiar with macaroons because she studied in the US as a teenager. I loved them, Jen, but to this day I haven’t tried making them myself – yours are making me drool!

  43. jenyu says:

    Jess – pretty cool.

    Kristin – she’s a funny pup ;)

    Caitlin – Haven’t decided how to use the rosebuds, but whatever I do, you’ll probably see it here :)

    Sara – thanks!

    Rosa – thank you :)

    Sara – as stated in my previous post, we have the harness for emergencies if the dog should ever need to be carried out of the backcountry.

    Jillian – thanks :)

    Asianmommy – :)

    April – hmmm, I don’t think they make harnesses that small (in which case, it’s easy enough for you to carry your dog out in your own pack or something. Do you have a Whole Foods or a natural foods store with a good bulk section nearby? Try that.

    Melissa – yeah, I think that happens when you live with someone a while! ha ha. Hope you had a good weekend too!

    Rachel – thank you!

    Hans – do you even know what you’re talking about? Have you ever DONE crevasse rescue? I have. I’m guessing that you 1) don’t own a dog and 2) have never hiked far enough that it could be a matter of life or death if you got seriously injured. No. No, you don’t get it. And yes, there is a commercial market for this (obviously) because how else would we have bought it. And my dog is a girl. Do you even READ before you start typing your mindless spew?

    RG – Whole Foods also.

    Valerie – :)

    Kim – ha ha, thanks :)

    Y – I quite loved that expression too!

    Tartelette – thanks Helen. And I love the French names for EVERYTHING. Sound so… sophisticated :)

    Charlane – there is always something extra nice about homemade.

    Karen B – actually, when she’s suspended like that and sees a squirrel, she perks up and becomes alert, but don’t jump or struggle. She’s a good pup that way.

    Avanika – thank you!

    Peabody – I think what I love most about these is the moisture and texture. Very different from a French macaron, but they both have special places in my heart :)

    Simone – thank you! Just steer clear of being right under that lightning. ha ha!

    Fiona – we have packs for Kaweah too, because we thought it would slow her down… Nope! ;) When Kaweah gets into dead things or poop, we send her into the lakes… over and over and over again.

    Janet – What is it with people and crevasses? Have you ever traversed a crevasse or done a rescue from a crevasse? We don’t take our dog across glaciers. I’ll point you to my reply to Hans.

    Manggy – Oooh, I’d love to see you post on your local macaroons. Sound great!

    Ashley – they’re easy too!

    Dawn – it’s pretty funny. I had trouble holding the camera steady because I was laughing so hard.

    Twila – that is AWESOME. Thanks for that tip, I didn’t know!! Love that kind of info :)

    Kitt – thank you for putting into words what 1) I though was obvious and 2) some seem to miss. Hope you had a good fourth!

    Maris – she’s a good sport about it, so I can’t really complain :)

    Alisa – great to hear!

    Manisha – awww, thank you dear. You are so sweet. Maybe for our next SNB I’ll just bake instead? :)

    LizzieBee – super easy to make and they are great!

    Shine – thank you for that. I’m guessing it’s the old “don’t read, just skim photos, leave dumb comment” trend ;) If all of my recipes were hard, I’d have lost my shiznit long ago ;) Easy recipes are sooooo nice to make sometimes. So nice. And thank you for your very kind words. You’re so amazingly insightful – why don’t you have a blog?!?!

    Christina – I don’t think a carrier would have a chance against a kitty ;)

    Lori – I think the danger of the easy recipe is when you get a craving, you can whip these up in no time! ha ha

    Mrs. E – wow, that is ironic, indeed. I can’t believe there isn’t any unsweetened anywhere? I think if you use sweetened, you can reduce the sugar by a half cup or less. Depends on how sweet you like it. So you CAN use sweetened, but I think it tastes funny myself.

    Lisa – ha ha, thanks! I don’t even know who Ina Garten is ;)

    Amy – oh, NICE use of macaroons. I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks!

    Jennywenny – Ah well, Kaweah is never pissed. The puppy, for all of her quirks, never ever ever gets angry. It’s pretty amazing and she is so unbelievably sweet. So the look is more of “wha?” because that’s usually what’s going through her head (I think). Those chocolate sparkle cookies sound so cute!

    Patricia – ah hon, for a seasoned baker like yourself, these are simple and fast. You should make some for yourself!

  44. cindy says:

    if one of our dogs were injured on a hike i might die from guilt. the harness is awesome…i will definitely be telling the boyfriend all about it…he the outdoors-person, i’m a wuss ;)

    that lightning and those flowers….whew, that’s some gorgeous stuff jen.

  45. Karen B says:

    We made the cookies yesterday, and they are so good! I didn’t doubt your recipe at all – I just didn’t believe that something that tastes so special could be so easy. I have the cookbook the recipe came from, and use it all the time – just haven’t been brave enough for the macaroons. Mine weren’t pretty, I had a lot of help from my 4-year-old, but they are all gone! Thank you!

  46. jenyu says:

    Cindy – if you have a large dog and you hike often and far, then yes, it’s a good idea. thanks!

    Karen – it surprised me too, but I think that’s one of the reasons I love it :)

  47. Geneviève says:

    I made these yesterday for my grandmother. She absolutely loves coconut. Recently my aunt passed away and obviously my grandma doesn’t have ANY appetite right now. So I thought I’d make these. She loved them so much she asked if I wanted to make another batch so she had enough cookies to last for a while! Unfortunately I didn’t buy enough coconut to make more than two batches but I would have, because even my family loved them.
    So really, thank you for the recipe!

  48. Coconut Macaroons with chocolate ganache | Kirbie Cravings says:

    […] Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate Ganache (adapted from recipe found on Use Real Butter) […]

  49. Joanne says:

    I have been making these cookies and receiving rave reviews!! Thanks so much! I posted your blog on Facebook as well… Love the photos… Also, I made a page for butter lovers on Facebook… I <3 Butter… happy cooking!!

  50. » Top 10 Traditional Passover Recipes » Basic News Articles says:

    […] clouds of coconut &#1089&#1072n b&#1077 dipped in chocolate &#959r eaten plain. Macaroons &#1072r&#1077 a sweet &#1077n&#1281 to any […]

  51. Ellen says:

    This look lovely! I just had a failed macaroon attempt, and this recipe looks a bit more promising :) Question, any idea how much these make? And would decreasing the sugar affect the chemistry or density of this at all? I can’t find unsweetend coconut at the moment, and don’t have time to order any. My last ones turned out more like pancakes, and I’m not wanting any recurrences :/

  52. jenyu says:

    Ellen – I don’t know about decreasing the sugar. If you decrease a little bit, it shouldn’t matter too much, but if you decrease by half, it might not bind as well? That’s my guess, but I see why you’d want to decrease because of the sweetened coconut. It should make about 18 cookies.

  53. rebecca says:

    I made these today for the holidays and a cookie exchange I’m headed to later and they’re AMAZING! I’m so stoked to be able to eat a delicious GF cookie right now, you have no idea! so thanks so very much for sharing this wonderful crunchy/chewy coconut amazingness!

  54. Roger says:


    I am looking for a good carrier for my dog. Saw yours on Google photo’s… Have not seen it anywhere else : (
    Does it work properly and is it easy to handle… what is the brand and where can I buy it ?

    Oh, and I am more of a Applepie kinda person. Though I must say I would not say no to the Coconut Macaroons in the photo’s above ; )

    Kind regards,
    Roger (The Netherlands)

  55. jenyu says:

    Roger – This is the harness we bought: – it works well, but I wouldn’t say “easily” per se. It is specifically a harness for dogs working in search and rescue. Hope you find something that works!

  56. david gorski says:

    re: dog harness… where can i get one of those? ive always worried that one of my dogs will get injured deep into a hike. i imagined something exactly like this. (except slung over the back like a jansport). until just now ive never seen anything like that. i thought, “well…i should just make my own.” the macaroons look awesome btw!

  57. david gorski says:

    hey… belay my last. i just saw the entry above mine. thanks!!

  58. Amber says:

    Can you tell me where you got your dog harness from? I have been looking for one for my 55lb dog. Thanks!!

  59. jenyu says:

    Amber – we got it from Rock N Rescue:

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