I’ve admitted this before, and I talk about this almost every holiday season …… but I am not really a cookie kind of person. Yikes, I know …. I hope we can still be friends.
Pie, yes. Cake, yes. Cookies …. meh, I can take them or leave them. If I am going to save room for dessert, I would much rather indulge in a warm piece of apple pie with (dairy-free) vanilla ice cream, or an ooey-gooey piece of chocolate cake. Sometimes I find cookie recipes that I get really excited about, how fun and festive they look, but then when I take a peek at the ingredients I realize that sort of baking is not for me.
Give me some egg whites and coconut, and now we are talking. Those are ingredients I can get with all day every day, so it only makes sense that macaroons are my cookie-like dessert of choice, and my go-to when I need to participate in all of the cookie baking that happens this time of year.
I have made macaroons dipped in chocolate as gifts for my neighbors. I have made them for cookie swaps. I have also made them for big holiday gatherings as a simple dessert that people can eat with or without a scoop of ice cream.
To make them more festive, I’m adding some dried cherries and pistachios (a bit of a nod to red and green) with a drizzle of chocolate and a sprinkle of sea salt. They are inherently free of gluten and dairy which can please many of your people (but there is no way to make these babies egg-free … those egg whites are a must). I did experiment with making them free of refined sugar, and while it can be done with maple syrup, they didn’t hold together so well. So unless you must, I would recommend going with a regular white cane sugar or your favorite (fine grain) sugar substitute. I found some panela recently (an unrefined whole cane sugar from Colombia) and if you can get your hands on some, then that is the way to go for these. It is the holidays after all and we should all allow ourselves a little extra indulgence here and there.
cherry + chocolate + pistachio macaroons
4 large egg whites
1/3 cup of sugar (white or panela)
1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon of vanilla powder
1 teaspoon of lime zest
¼ teaspoon of salt
3 cups of (unsweetened) shredded coconut
½ cup of coconut flakes (optional - if you want a slight contrast in texture)
½ cup of dried cherries, very finely chopped
3-4oz of dark chocolate
¼ cup of pistachios, finely chopped
Maldon sea salt (optional)
- Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven, and pre-heat to 325º.
- Using a stand or hand mixer (with the whisk attachment) whip the egg whites until super frothy and stiff peaks have formed. Then, slowly add in the sugar while whisking. Lastly, add the vanilla, zest, and salt and whisk just until everything is incorporated.
- Add the coconut and the dried cherries and fold into the egg white mixture until everything is evenly distributed. Folding is important, and do not overmix.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, using a tablespoon, form and spoon the mixture into little rounds (about 1” in diameter / or a heaping tablespoon) and place onto the baking sheet, about ½”- 1" apart from each other.
- Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the baking sheet, and bake for another 10 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Remove and allow to cool.
- Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Spoon the melted chocolate over the tops of the macaroons. Finish with a sprinkle of the pistachios, and flaky sea salt (if using). Once the chocolate has hardened, then you can serve. These will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a few days.