WHB : Coconut and Lavender Macaroons

Unlike their more sophisticated French cousins, which are pretty and pastelly, but have no hold over me, I have a weakness for coconut macaroons. I love their rough and tangled look, their crispy golden shells and intense chewy innards.

I recently saw a recipe for coconut macaroons that was quite different to my normal recipe and decided to try it out. Most macaroon recipes are often not worth trying because while they’re incredibly simple and merely require you to fold whipped egg whites and sugar into shredded or dessicated coconut, there’s too much moisture in the mix for the macaroon to stay crisp after it has been baked. What you usually end up with is a disappointing soft macaroon that makes you wonder what the fuss is all about.

This recipe, from a C.I.A. pastry book, is pretty good. It’s not about to replace my favourite recipe, but as far as coconut macaroons go, it yields a rather good product. Good enough that is, for it to take only a few days after baking, for them to disappear completely from our house.

I flavoured my macaroon mix with lavender buds, that beautiful purple flower more commonly associated with potpourri sachets and cupboard air fresheners. Lavender is a member of the mint family and is apparently closely related to herbs such as rosemary and sage. It is said that you can substitute lavender in almost any dish that usually requires rosemary, such as lamb and rabbit, in breads and in desserts such as custards, cakes and ice-creams. The key to remember when cooking with lavender, is that ‘a little goes a long way’, because the inclusion of too much lavender to a dish can render it unpleasantly bitter. Lavender also goes with honey, white chocolate, lemon, goats cheese and, as I have discovered, coconut!

Coconut macaroons, with a hint of lavender, are my contribution to this week’s WHB, hosted by Wandering Chopsticks.

Coconut Macaroons :
(makes about 35 macaroons; recipe from Baking and Pastry, by the Culinary Institute of America)

180g sugar
20g light corn syrup
90g egg whites
272g shredded unsweetened coconut
10g cake flour, sifted

Line trays with baking paper.

Heat the sugar, corn syrup and egg whites over simmering water until the mixture reaches 60’C, whipping constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the coconut and flour with a wooden spoon until just incorporated. [Here, I also added the lavender buds. 1 teaspoon should be enough, depending on how floral you want your macaroons to be]

Using a No.100 scoop, portion the batter, pressing each scoop lightly, and place in even rows on the prepared trays [I used a measuring tablespoon to do this]. Air-dry until slightly dry, about 1 hour.

Bake at 191’C until the cookies are a light golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool completely on the tray.


  1. grace said,

    June 2, 2008 @ 2:14 am

    i’m CRAZY about coconut, and i love macaroons. i’ve never seen any that look quite like these, but i’ve no doubt that they’re delicious. it’s coconut and sugar, for crying out loud! lavender buds, eh? i don’t think i’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting lavender, but it’s on my to-try list now! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Pete Carney said,

    June 2, 2008 @ 7:59 am

    These are great! Best I ever Had! Like the ones my mother makes!

  3. Suzzane said,

    June 2, 2008 @ 8:03 am

    I came upon your coconut recipe and it looks great! I can’t wait to try this with all of my friends and family.

  4. Y said,

    June 2, 2008 @ 8:48 am

    Hi Grace! The lavender was just something I thought I would add, at the last minute, as an experiment. They taste great even without the lavender!

    Pete: Being compared favourably to mom’s cooking.. now that’s a compliment and a half! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Suzanne : Good to hear ๐Ÿ™‚ Let me know if you like the end results too!

  5. Suzanne said,

    June 2, 2008 @ 9:18 am

    I came upon your coconut lavender macaroons recipes while looking under Duquesne Club, Pittsburgh Pa. USA, recipe. Itโ€™s a very prestigious menโ€™s social and business association in Pittsburgh that has had Carnegies, Heinzs, Mellonโ€™s, Scaifes and other financial tycoons as members they are apparently know for their, other than mega fortunes, their macaroons! While I live in suburban Pittsburgh I have never been in the club including woman havenโ€™t either. Your recipe sounds divine! Have you ever tired Lavender Martinis or Lavender Lemonade? One of my hobbies is making herbal and fruit vinegars. Lavender is a very nice flavor and fragrance mixed with other herbs and fruits. What I would really like to know is how to translate your recipe from metric to USA standard measurements. I know we, the USA, where supposed to become metric in 1930 something. I assuming your located in Europe, probably England. Thanks for the conversations ahead of time! From you or many of your good fellow Foodies.


    Suzanne “Suki”

  6. Y said,

    June 2, 2008 @ 9:29 am

    Hi! No, I haven’t tried lavender martinis or lemonade, but I can imagine the lemonade would be fantastic. I usually put the lavender into baked goods or fillings (eg. creams) for baked goods. It does have an incredible amount of uses though – half of which I haven’t explored yet. I’m actually in Australia, and I love everything measured in grams, so that’s why the recipe has been transcribed like that. But the original recipe is from an American book, so here it is :

    (I’m providing the full recipe, which makes 20 dozen cookies. You can reduce the amounts as you see fit, depending on how many you want to make)

    2 lb sugar
    4 oz light corn syrup
    1 lb egg whites
    3 lb shredded unsweetened coconut
    2 oz cake flour, sifted

    Heating temperature for the sugar mixture is 140’F.
    Baking temperature is 375’F.
    The rest of the method is the same.

    Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Wandering Chopsticks said,

    June 3, 2008 @ 8:26 am

    Thanks for the submission! I love, love lavender. Not so much coconut macaroons but yours look so tempting, I’ve changed my mind about them! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Kalyn said,

    June 4, 2008 @ 12:10 pm

    Sounds delightful! I bet the slight touch of lavender is good here. I’m not always a big lavender fan but I’m thinking it will go well with the coconut.

  9. audrey said,

    January 4, 2009 @ 11:04 pm

    hi, this recipe looks great and i might give it a try. before i do, could you share what your favorite recipe is?

    thanks so much!

  10. Y said,

    January 6, 2009 @ 11:29 pm

    Hi audrey!

    Thanks for your comment! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not sure that I DO have a favourite recipe. I’m probably most fond of the simple ones like Anzac Biscuits and those Chocolate Brownie Cookies I keep recommending to friends to make.

  11. Deon said,

    July 21, 2010 @ 11:37 pm

    hi Y ist been a while, is cake flour same as plain flour

  12. Y said,

    July 21, 2010 @ 11:47 pm

    Hi Deon, cake flour is a ‘soft’ flour, meaning it has less protein and gluten than plain flour. If you can’t find cake flour, just use plain flour.

  13. Shone said,

    July 22, 2010 @ 5:32 am

    I went to a wedding in June where these were served and my only comment is this:

    The BEST macaroons I’ve ever had in my life!!

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