Tag Archive for macaroons

Coconut Macaroons {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Gentle reader, please permit me to start with a bit of a rant.

There are two words that are very similar, but describe two very different cookies. The first, macaroons (two o’s) describe coconut-based cookies that are relatively simple to make. The second, macarons (one o) are the french sandwich cookies that are made from almond meal and whipped egg whites. Creating the vegan version of which has been my nemesis.

Coconut Macaroons

When I was a kid growing up, we had coconut macaroons all the time. My mom made them quite a bit, I’m sure partly because they were pretty simple to make (and she really loved coconut). Her recipe involved a can of sweetened condensed milk.

It wasn’t until I was much, much older that I discovered the french macaron; delicate, many-nuanced and challenging in the extreme.

This recipe is for that easier coconut version. Many traditional coconut macaroon recipes call for whipped egg white (clearly not the recipe my mother worked off of), and so I thought: aquafaba! Of course. And it works quite well.

Want more Aquafaba recipes? Check out my cookbook: Aquafabulous!: 100+ Egg-Free Vegan Recipes Using Aquafaba (Bean Water)

 

Toasting the coconut in advance gives it more depth of flavour, and be sure to whip the aquafaba just to the point where it resembles melted marshmallows for maximum binding ability. You may feel a little like you’re making rice krispie squares, only with coconut, and that’s okay.

vegan gluten free macaroons

Coconut Macaroons {Vegan, Gluten-Free}

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp aquafaba
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and spread your coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast it in the oven for about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of your stand mixer, place the aquafaba and the cream of tartar. Begin to whisk at a low speed, and then turn it up to medium speed after two minutes. After 4 minutes, begin to slowly stream the sugar into the mix. You don’t want to beat the AF until it’s a meringue. You want it to be white, glossy, and the texture of melted marshmallows. Continue to beat until it gets to this stage.
  3. Remove from the mixer and stir in the vanilla and salt. Add the toasted coconut to the whipped aquafaba and fold it in.
  4. Drop by spoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. It’s better to keep the cookies on the small side. I used my beloved cookie scoop.
  5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until golden on top.
  6. Drizzle with melted chocolate if desired, or dip the bottoms into melted chocolate and place on wax or parchment to harden.

The Parisian Invasion (the Macarons are coming!)

Quick! When I say “Favorite French Food” what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

  • Tarte Tatain?
  • Baguette?
  • Croissant?
  • Croque Monsieur?
  • Cassoulet?
  • Big, stinky cheese?
  • All of the above?

Yes.

I’m reading a book called Lunch in Paris, part love story, part American-Girl-in-Paris, part cookbook. I have yet to enjoy a cafe au lait or a glass of wine in sight of the Eiffel Tower, but it is high on my list of priorities.

In the mean time, Vancouver is being invaded by a French treat, which, up until a few months ago, I had never experienced. Macarons.

Now, I love macaroons. You know, those pillowy stacks of coconut, made with egg whites. But these macarons (spelled with just one “o”) are a slightly different confection.

More like a sandwich cookie, or a whoopie pie, the macaron is two meringue cookies with a filling in between. While the macaroon is pretty much the same across the board (I’ve seen varieties dipped in chocolate, but that’s about it), the macaron seems to be an blank canvas upon which endless flavors can be painted–both in the cookies and in the filling.

theirryMy introduction to these two bites of goodness came last fall. I was meeting my girlfriend, Lili, for coffee, and she said “meet me at Thierry on Alberni. Just trust me. You will love it.” And I did. Thierry is a french patisserie owned by the Top Table group, whose restaurants include Araxi in Whistler, The Blue Water Cafe, West, and Cin Cin. Under the glass counter is a rainbow of macarons and other treats, and every single time I’ve been back, the place is packed to the rafters. For good reason. The treats are incredible. Macaron flavors include the standards, like vanilla and chocolate and coffee, as well as chocolate pistachio, lime, lychee, and pink praline.bfb870544eb911e1abb01231381b65e3_7

A couple months ago, a new macaron place opened up, conveniently close to where I live. Soirette does nothing but macarons, and their varieties are even more experimental. They include a matcha macaron, pink peppercorn, violette, and my favorite, the salted caramel. Try them with the vanilla green tea or a proper french cafe au lait. Chef¬†Shobna has created a beautiful white cafe where you will want to linger, but it’s quite small and it’s sometimes hard to get a seat.

Macarons cost about $2 each, but I’m in love, and they are my current favorite special treat. Go check them out for yourself!

UPDATE: I just learned that March 20 is Jour du Macaron in Vancouver!