I remember the day I first learned the difference between a “macaron” and a “macaroon.” Basically, macaroons are basically a coconut-based, fairly straightforward cookie.
A macaron, on the other hand, is a delicate, wispy, French meringue cookie with a paper-thin shell and a chewy, melt in your mouth center.
Macaroons are easy.
Macarons are evil.
I’m serious. I have messed up those deceptively difficult French macarons more times than I can count. And, yet . . . I continue to make them. I don’t know if I’m a sucker for punishment, or what. But . . . (whispers) . . . I think I’m actually starting to get the hang of it. For more about macarons, check out my Strawberries and Cream macaron recipe here
, and my Mint Chocolate macaron recipe here
. Just remember that macarOOns are coconut, and macarOns are not.
Well . . . until now. These are coconut macarons. Goodness. The irony. My head hurts. haha. But if you love coconut cream pie, you will love these little beauties. They are kissed with Hawaiian love and melt in your mouth.
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
Coconut Cream French Macarons
(adapted for my own use from Allrecipes.com)
100 grams egg white (the whites from 3 large eggs)
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
50 grams white sugar (roughly 1/4 cup)
200 grams powdered sugar (roughly 1 2/3 cup)
110 grams almond flour (roughly 1 cup)
Coconut Cream Filling
1/2 package instant coconut cream pudding (1.7 grams)
6 tbsp. coconut milk (86 grams)
1/2 tsp. coconut extract
(*the whipped cream ingredients, below, should be mixed separately and then folded into the pudding mixture after they thicken)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. powdered sugar
Whip room temperature egg whites and cream of tartar with the whisk attachment until the whites begin to foam. Slowly pour in the white sugar and begin to whip the whites on high. Meanwhile, pulse your almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor until the mixture is well combined. Sift your almond flour/powdered sugar through a sieve and throw away the pieces that are too large to pass through the sieve. When the whites have whipped into stiff peaks, fold the almond/sugar mixture into the whites, gradually and carefully until they reach proper “macaronage.” Pipe the circles onto a silpat, using a template, if desired, and slam the cookie sheets 6-8 times on the counter to dislodge air bubbles. Allow circles to dry for 20 minutes before baking at 285 for 20 minutes, one sheet at a time, in the center of the oven (move oven racks, if necessary). Do not open the oven until the 20 minutes are up, and use an oven thermometer for best results. When your macarons are done, they should feel “firm on their feet.” Remove entire silpat to cooling rack and allow to cool, completely, before removing almond shells from the silpat.
For filling, combine pudding, coconut milk, and coconut extract. Whisk until combined. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream and powdered sugar with the whisk attachment of your mixer until it becomes fluffy and firm. Fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture and refrigerate until macaron shells are cool.
Now, in pictures!
To begin with, when you make macarons, you definitely need a kitchen scale. I have placed approximate measurements in the recipe, but for the best chance of making these temperamental little things. Start your egg whites, white sugar, and cream of tartar whipping in a bowl with your whisk attachment. It takes about 10 minutes to whip the meringue to stiff peaks, and it takes about 10 minutes to make and sift your other ingredients, so it works out great! 🙂
A lot can be done in 10 minutes. You know they say that you can tell if you’re a man or woman by what you do when the microwave is going . . . men stand there and look at it, going around, and women use that 2 minutes to put away dishes, fill the kids’ sippy cups, water the houseplants, and dole out the Flintstone vitamins. Make these 10 minutes count.
Blend your powdered sugar and almond flour together with the food processor until they are completely combined. Sift the ingredients into a bowl and wait for your meringue to get to the stiff peak stage. If you want colored shells, add your gel food coloring near the end and whip until the meringue holds a stiff peak when you lift the whisk out of the bowl. I used a combination of yellow and copper coloring to make these macs nice and coconut colored.
Gently add your sifted ingredients to the meringue, stirring and scraping the bowl gently. I usually add the dry ingredients in 3 different “dumps,” so that my meringue isn’t overwhelmed. Continue gently stirring and scraping until your batter becomes shiny and drips in a continuous ribbon from your spatula back into the bowl, without breaking. This incorporating the dry and wet ingredients is called the “macaronage,” and it’s the hardest part of making macarons. Even professional bakeries throw away 1/4 of their macarons, because mistakes happen so easily right here, at this part. Knowing when to stop mixing the batter is the trickiest part of the whole ‘shebang. Most of your macaron failures will occur because you stir too much or too little. But keep practicing, and you’ll get it.
Fill your piping bag with the prepared batter and pipe your macaron circles onto a silpat, using a circle template (more on how to properly pipe macarons here). Slam the trays 6-8 times onto a kitchen counter, to get rid of the air bubbles. Field questions about anger management training because of all the crashing and banging coming from your kitchen.
Top each macaron with toasted coconut and allow the shells to dry for 20 minutes before baking at 285 degrees, one tray at a time, for 20 minutes each, or until shells are solid when you gently press on them (they should not “shift” on their bases). Remove silpat from baking sheet and allow to cool, completely, on a cooling rack.
To make your macaron filling, add your pudding and coconut milk together and whisk until combined.
In a separate mixing bowl, mix your heavy cream and powdered sugar, with the whisk attachment, until it becomes fluffy and creamy, liked whipped cream (which is exactly what it is). You are making whipped cream. Look at you. This is the one time where “getting a whipping” is actually a very good thing.
When the whipped cream is finished, use the whisk to gently combine your pudding and whipped cream mixtures into a nice, light icing. Refrigerate filling until you’re ready to use it.
When your shells are completely cool, remove them carefully from the silpat (bending the silpat, underneath the shells, rather than peeling the shells off) and match them roughly by size. Not all shells will be exactly the same size, and it helps to have similar sized ones grouped together. Fill the shells with cream and lightly twist shells together to evenly spread the cream over the centers. I rolled some in coconut and left some plain– they were both pretty. The “some of each” routine worked out great, because I had a smidge of coconut left over, from the top, and I was able to use it up without having to worry about making more to coat all the little Hawaiian macs.
True macarons need to be aged in the refrigerator, after being filled, for at least 24 hours, to achieve ultimate flavor. The shells kind of perform osmosis and suck the coconut flavor into themselves. It’s so weird and so delicious. I wish I could sidle up alongside a young, rich, beautiful person and somehow pull those good qualities into my being. 😉
So let’s get this tropical party started.
You did it! And I’m just so proud of you.
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