Coconut and almond macaroons

Coconut and almond macaroons.
Coconut and almond macaroons. Photo: William Meppem

When freshly baked, these macaroons have a delightfully crisp outer shell and a soft, creamy interior.

Ingredients

200g egg whites (from 5 large eggs)

380g golden caster sugar

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla essence

¼ tsp fine sea salt

360g unsweetened coconut threads/shredded coconut (not desiccated)

160g plain flour, sifted

100g flaked almonds

200g dark chocolate buttons, for dipping

Method

1. Place the egg whites, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and salt in a large heatproof mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

2. Quarter-fill a saucepan (large enough for the mixing bowl to sit securely on top) with water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat so the water is barely simmering, then place the bowl containing the egg whites on top; the water should not be touching the base of the bowl. Whisk the mixture slowly and continuously in a figure-8 pattern, until the sugar has nearly dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch (about 5 minutes).

3. Remove the bowl from the heat and add the coconut and flour. Stir well to combine, then cover the bowl and refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours, and for up to 2 days).

4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 160C (180C conventional). Line two baking trays with baking paper (or cook in two batches if you only have one tray) and spread out the flaked almonds on a large plate.

5. Remove the macaroon mixture from the fridge (it will be firm and sticky). Form balls about the size of golf balls, weighing about 40g (a latch-release ice-cream scoop, if you have one, comes in very handy here), and drop them onto the plate with the flaked almonds. Roll and coat each macaroon with the almond flakes (you may need to press them lightly to ensure the flakes stick), then transfer onto the lined baking tray, spacing them a few centimetres apart.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the macaroons are a light golden-brown. Remove the tray from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

7. To melt the chocolate for dipping, place the buttons in a small bowl and stir gently on top of a pan of simmering water. One at a time, dip the flat bottom surface of each macaroon into the melted chocolate, then immediately turn upside-down and place back onto the lined baking tray. Allow the chocolate to set before serving – about an hour at room temperature, or sooner if you place them in the fridge.