Coconut Macaroons for Passover

Welcome to our new(ish) column, "Ask the Pastry Chef," by Amy Morris, a pastry sous chef at J&G Steakhouse. Have a question for Amy? Leave it in the comments section.

Do you have a good Coconut Macaroon recipe for Passover?

Coconut macaroons are known for two things: First, they make a great Passover dessert because they do not require flour, which is forbidden during this eight-day holiday celebrating the Jews' exodus from Egypt. (During the escape, as the story goes, there was no time to let bread rise, so they wound up with crackers; hence, the tradition of not eating leavened bread or related foods during Passover. This year the holiday begins after sundown on April 6.)

Second, the coconut macaroon is one of the easiest cookies you'll ever make. The recipe is so simple, especially compared to its counterpart, the French macaron.

I suggest sticking to the coconut version. They are moist, caramelized coconut balls that will be such a big hit, you won't come home with any leftovers. In that case, make two batches: one to keep at home and one to give out.

One of the things I realized while making these is that the recipe is pretty much foolproof. You could misread the instructions, like not whip the egg whites or accidentally add the ingredients out of order, and your batch of cookies will still be good.

What's not to love about that?

Whipping the egg whites gives the cookies a little bit of a lighter texture by adding extra "air." Because there is so much coconut, it's easy for these to turn out dense, so you'll notice this step will help with that.

Using condensed milk assists in adding more moisture, which will make your cookies less dry.

The one thing that won't change is how messy they are when you're dropping them on the sheet pan. I wet my hands with a little water to help them from sticking to my fingers. Alternatively, using a vegetable spray, or scooping them out with an ice cream scooper will work as well.

I like the dropped look of these coconut macaroons. You can tell they were made from scratch at home and made solely to please anyone who eats one.

This recipe I created will make wonderful moist macaroons. You're welcome!

Coconut Macaroons

2 egg whites pinch of salt I can condensed milk (14 oz) 1 1/4 tsp vanilla or almond extract I bag sweetened coconut flakes (14 oz)

Whisk the egg whites and salt with an electric mixer until it reaches soft peaks. If doing it by hand, whisk until it is frothy, or for about 2 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine the coconut flakes with the condensed milk and extract.

Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Drop the coconut batter by the tablespoon onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 325°F for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Yield=15-20 cookies

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Amy Morris