This is always the first cookie I make if and when I get into the Christmas cookie baking mode. Coconut pyramids start the season off right. Front up, I will tell you, it’s not every season I get into the mood to make Christmas cookies. When I do, these coconut pyramid macaroons are first up at bat. Why coconut macaroons you may be asking versus something more traditional for the holidays? I’m not sure I know that answer other than to say they are quick to make and bake. It’s probably a mental thing…you start off with something easy that always turns out right and then you get into a state where you start taking more challenges with more complicated recipes. Know that the hardest part of this recipe is finding unsweetened coconut. The only place I have found it is at my local health food store. I’ve used the sweetened kind of coconut from the supermarket, but it just does not work.
I first baked these macaroons in 2001 when I ran across the recipe in a cookbook I had purchased. I remember thinking that they would look like little snow drifts among the other cookies that I had baked that year. Since everyone I gave cookies to that year was really in the mood for coconut (I guess), these pyramids received a lot of compliments and I’ve been making them ever since. Coconut macaroons are light and chewy. The little tip of chocolate at the end of the cookie is a nice little touch as well. It’s the pyramid shape that I find the best part of the cookie. It looks like it takes a long time to shape them, but it is pretty quick and painless. You don’t have to make them your first Christmas cookie of the season, but do give them a shot this year. It’s always nice to start a new tradition. Why not do it with a coconut pyramid?
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 5 1/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut (I find mine at a local health food store)
- 7 large egg whites
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vegetable shortening
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, coconut, egg whites and salt. Add butter and extracts and combine well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Moisten palms of hands with cold water. Roll 1 tablespoon of the coconut mixture in palms, squeezing tightly together 2 or 3 times to form a compact ball. Place ball on a clean surface and, using a spatula, flatten one side at a time to form a pyramid shape.
Place pyramids on the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart and bake until edges are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Leave on baking sheet on a wire rack to cool completely.
Place chocolate and shortening in a small heat-proof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water; stir occasionally until melted. Dip top 1/2 inch of each pyramid in the melted chocolate. Set each dipped macaroon on cooled baking sheet to allow chocolate to harden.
For some reason, my friends, family and I find it hard to eat just one of these cookies at any given sitting. They go pretty fast, so be prepared. I’ll be posting a few more Christmas cookie favorites over the next couple of weeks. I’m in the mood to bake them this year, so why not share the recipes with the masses. Enjoy!! What is your favorite cookie that you make for the holidays?