Crisp-chewy coconut macaroons that are delicious, easy-to-make, and naturally vegan. They are also grain-free, oil-free, Paleo, refined sugar free, and have a keto option.
If you, like me, are crazy for coconuts, then it is almost a certainty that you share my love for coconut macaroons.
There used to be a bakery en route to my middle school, and my friend Tracy and I would often stop to purchase a jumbo macaroon for our lunches (although we often nibbled at the edges along the way). Crisp and golden on the outside, they were pillowy soft and chewy on the inside. I thought it was one of the best cookies, ever. Until they introduced a chocolate-dunked version.
My affection for macaroons remains, but I decided I needed it was time to put a power hungry spin on the traditional version (which often include sweetened condensed milk, sweetened flake coconut, and egg whites). Coconut is such a rich and nutritious ingredient, it seemed worth trying.
First things first: these macaroons are DELICIOUS: crisp on the outside edges, yet soft and chewy in the centers. They are also very easy to prepare. Further, they are:
*Vegan (dairy-free & egg-free)
*Keto-friendly (with one simple substitution)
The ingredients are minimal, too: unsweetened coconut, coconut milk, maple syrup, and psyllium husk. I add fine sea salt and almond extract, too, but these can be adjusted according to your preferences.
In the absence of eggs and sticky, sweetened condensed milk, I had to come up with a new method for binding the coconut shreds into cohesive cookies.
My solution? Blend half of the coconut shreds, along with full-fat coconut milk, until relatively smooth. I added maple syrup (you can add a keto-friendly syrup, to keep these keto) for sweetness (not too much, nor too little), the aforementioned salt and almond extract, and last, a teaspoon of psyllium husk.
It turns out that psyllium husk is ideal macaroons. It is neutral in flavor and adds a slightly springy texture. The latter quality is not what every cookie needs, but it is perfectly harmonious in macaroons.
Do limit the pysllium to 1 teaspoon. I used much more in earlier batches, resulting in a texture that was more bouncy than chewy.
Bake to the batter at hand. Transfer the coconut-coconut milk mixture to a bowl and stir in the remaining shredded coconut, stirring until completely blended.
Use a small cookie scoop, or moistened hands, to compact the dough into tablespoon-size mounds.
Space the mounds about 2 inches apart on a parchment -lined baking sheet.
It is (more than) fine if pieces of coconut poke out from the mounds; it will result in lots of extra-crispy, toasted coconut bits.
Bake the cookies at 325F (160C) for 25 to 30 minutes until they are a deep golden brown on the outside. They will feel hard to the touch, but the interiors will be soft, and will soften more as the cookies cool.
This recipe is scaled small (15 cookies at a time), but it can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled, as needed. Further, the dough can b made up to 1 day ahead of time. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. You will need to bake the macaroons a few minutes longer to make up for the chilling.
You can play with the flavors, swapping other extracts or citrus zest for the almond extract. Chocolate is always an option, too: dunk the bottoms or drizzle the tops, or add some mini chocolate chips before baking.
Happy baking, everyone!
Making this recipe? I would love to see it!
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- ⅔ cup (175 mL) full-fat canned coconut milk
- ¼ cup (60 mL) maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon psyllium husk
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 packed cups (7 ounces/ 200 g) unsweetened shredded coconut flakes, divided
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a food processor or blender, process coconut milk, maple syrup, psyllium husk, salt, almond extract, and HALF of the coconut flakes until mostly (but not entirely) smooth.
- Scrape the coconut milk mixture into a medium bowl. Add the remaining coconut flakes, stirring until blended.
- Using a small cookie scoop or moistened hands, scoop tablespoons of dough into compact mounds. Place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until deep golden brown and hard to the touch.
- Remove from the oven. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and cool completely.
Make it Keto: Swap the maple syrup for an equal amount of keto-friendly liquid sweetener. This changes the following macros, per cookie: Calories: 99, Carbs: 3.7 g, Sugars: 0.9 g. The remaining macros are the same.
[b][i]Swap the almond extract for 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or citrus zest (e.g., lemon, lime, orange).