These sweet, tender and darkly chocolate macaroons were first served to me by a friend’s friend; someone who was not expecting us to stop by and whom had just literally driven up to find us hanging outside her house. Instead of visiting with us on her lawn, like I would have done back in the day, she invited us in and began to just whip up a batch of these addicting little cookies at the spur of the moment. Minutes later we were all sitting on her sofa, inhaling the heavenly aromas and laughing, and not ten minutes after that we were sipping on her husband’s famous Mandarin Orange martinis and munching on melt-in-your-mouth macaroons.
If this wasn’t the quintessential meaning of hospitality, I don’t know what is. I had never met her before and yet moments into our visit, I felt welcome, special and like we were all great friends (Martinis tend to make me very friendly).
I have to admit that hospitality is not something that has come naturally to me. As a young wife and mom, I would literally freak out if someone stopped by our house. It was during those new mom years when I was barely keeping my head above water and dishes were piled high in the sink, dogs were running rampant (usually barking their heads off) and toddler toys were scattered from one end of the house to the other. Hiding under the peek hole of the front door, or switching off the lights and pretending we weren’t home was the action of choice as opposed to graciously opening the door to a surprise guest and inviting them in for a cup of coffee or better yet a homemade coconut macaroon and a martini.
Yes, I am embarrassed to admit these things, and if you were a guest at our door fifteen years ago or so and saw our two cars in the drive and yet stood on the porch in front of a firmly closed door rather perplexed, I am sorry. Since then I have learned a thing or two about hospitality, and I have gotten a lot more comfortable in my own skin.
Thank goodness I am a quick study and living next door to warm people, who always invited us in for a bite of a bakery cookie and a cup of Turkish coffee, began to rub off on me. Their house wasn’t always perfect looking, but their hospitality was always overflowing, and that is what mattered most. Of course, I am not here to advocate surprise visits on friends and neighbors because a quick call ahead is always a nice thing to do, but sometimes life is spontaneous and being greeted by a warm smile and a hug, or a cookie and a martini, is much better than standing on a lonely front porch.
Warning!!! These cookies are rather addicting and seemingly innocent so make sure to have somewhere to take them or send the left overs with your unexpected guests. 😉
Almond Joy Macaroons (Gluten Free)
Recipe by Amber Burke
*You must plan a day ahead with this recipe if you don’t have step one already completed; see below for details.
Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.
2, 14 oz packages of sweetened coconut, shredded(angel flaked as noted on Baker’s brand package)
1 package unsweetened coconut, shredded (looks almost like powder in the package)
1 package unsweetened coconut FLAKES
5 egg large egg whites, brought to room temperature
1/4 t. fine sea salt
1 t. natural vanilla or vanilla bean paste
1/2 t. natural almond extract (my addition)
1/4 c. of all natural maple syrup
24 whole toasted almonds
1/2 c. melted good quality dark chocolate
To make the macaroons:* STEP 1 : Must be done 24 hours in advance. Mix the coconuts together in a large bowl and then store in an airtight container such as Tupperware for a minimum of 24 hours. You will NOT use all of this coconut in one recipe, but you can store the unused mixture so you are ready next time you make this recipe.
After you have stored the mixed coconut, measure out 2 1/2 cups of it, and put it in a large mixing bowl. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line two baking pans with parchment paper or waxed paper. This is important because the batter is very sticky.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk, or with an electric beater, whip the egg whites (first on low speed, then medium and finally high speed) until they form very stiff peaks, almost to the point you would use for a meringue. This will take about 3 minutes or so. As the peaks begin to form, add in the salt, vanilla and almond extract and beat together. Once your egg whites have firmed to stiff peak stage, gently stir them into the coconut. Add the syrup and stir until the mixture forms into a sticky cohesive batter.
Scoop mounds of the batter onto the prepared pans using a small icecream scoop or cookie batter scoop. Place one almond on each cookie and gently press down. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until barely golden on the bottom or on some of the flakes. Let cool completely.
Drizzle chocolate over the cookies using a zig zag pattern with a small spoon. Let the chocolate firm up a bit before serving.
March 30, 2013 at 12:19 am
Hi Geni, why does the coconut have to be mixed the day before? And can I use unsweetened coconut?
March 30, 2013 at 4:40 am
Unsweetened coconut tends to be dehydrated where I can purchase it here but sweetened is moist. When the recipe was tried with all unsweetened the batter was too dry and crumbly. By mixing the coconuts and then storing them together in an airtight container, the coconuts marry a bit and the unsweetened coconut gets somewhat rehydrated.
March 30, 2013 at 5:58 am
Whoa love that she just made these for you on the spot!! I need to keep this recipe in my repertoire so I can seem all cool like that when I have surprise guests!
March 31, 2013 at 6:00 pm
Me too. Thanks for stopping by Joanne.
March 30, 2013 at 6:00 am
These macaroons look heavenly! I think it’ so interesting that you use all of these different types of coconut. Have you noticed it having an effect at the end?
March 30, 2013 at 6:55 am
She wanted to make them with no processed sugar and started out by making them only with the unsweetened coconut and maple syrup to sweeten them but they came out too dry. Sweetened coconut is moist and together they made a nice cookie with less processed sugar than your typical macaroon.
March 30, 2013 at 6:11 am
What a great recipe! They look so delicious!!
March 31, 2013 at 6:01 pm
Thank you…they really are yummy.
March 30, 2013 at 8:15 am
I love any recipe that uses pure maple syrup! These sound fantastic. I’m not much of a hostess either – it would be great to have some recipes that can be made on the spot. My reaction would probably be similar to yours if someone stopped by unannounced!
March 31, 2013 at 6:02 pm
If you keep the coconut mixed and at the ready it’s quite an easy and fast recipe.
March 30, 2013 at 8:19 am
These macaroons look heavenly! I am afraid that I will have to use unsweetened coconut…don’t see the sweetened one over here.
Happy Easter, Geni.
March 31, 2013 at 6:03 pm
Amber said that it was dry and crumbly when she tried unsweetened alone. If you do find a great alternative and make yours moist, let us know! We definitely would love to know the trick.
March 30, 2013 at 10:26 am
On the spot – how wonderful! Mandarine Orange Martinis? Can you share that one too??
March 31, 2013 at 6:03 pm
You bet. Coming to a post near you sometime soon.
March 30, 2013 at 3:37 pm
I remember those days well, Geni! I was the same, funny, I’m not sure who we thought we were fooling because every one of us must have had disastrous homes.. unless they had a cleaning lady. I loved your sentiments about entertaining and couldn’t agree more! And.. I would have to share those macaroons.. they’d be calling to me all through the night:) xx Happy Easter Geni! xx
March 31, 2013 at 6:04 pm
Glad to know I am not alone in my shame Barb. 🙂
March 30, 2013 at 4:55 pm
Almond Joy was one of my favorite candy bars when I was a teenager! All that coconut is just sublime paired with almonds and chocolate!
March 31, 2013 at 6:05 pm
Almond Joy’s are pretty much the only grocery store candy bar that I still crave, except I am perplexed why they don’t add an additional third bar to their choice and make a dark chocolate version WITH almonds. Because sometimes you feel like a nut AND you still like dark chocolate best.
March 30, 2013 at 7:18 pm
I love Almond Joy. These look delicious!
March 31, 2013 at 6:05 pm
March 30, 2013 at 11:01 pm
You know when your young you are always worried about what people think of you but as we get older we realize we really could care less. We realize with age that people do not come to visit our disaster homes but they come to visit us. Loving these little macaroons as they would help any guest forget about my dishes piled in the sink. Happy Easter, BAM
March 31, 2013 at 6:06 pm
Yes, I would take yummy cookies any day over a neat house. Totally agreed. And one of the nicest things about aging is that you do finally let go of the worrying about other peoples’ opinions of you. It’s a nice consolation prize to aging.
March 31, 2013 at 6:28 am
One of my favorites. These look wonderful.
March 31, 2013 at 6:07 pm
Thanks Greg! Hope your Easter was happy and delicious!
March 31, 2013 at 8:19 am
“sometimes life is spontaneous and being greeted by a warm smile and a hug, or a cookie and a martini, is much better than standing on a lonely front porch” — ah, so well said! As I continue writing a hospitality series, this is exactly the warm, inviting sentiment I hope to convey, you’ve hit the nail on the head, Geni. I think we can all relate to the paralyzing feeling standing behind the peephole of our front door, unable to let people see what’s behind the door. I am saving this post to reference in coming weeks — thanks!
March 31, 2013 at 6:09 pm
You actually inspired me too Judy when I read your post. I should have given you a mention, but my memory lately is driving me crazy. Once you posted this comment my memory was jogged and I realize where I had recently read about and revisited the thought on hospitality. So much of what you had said struck a chord with me. Please forgive the omission. Thank you.
April 1, 2013 at 5:28 am
Oh Geni, I totally know what you mean about memory, you should see all the post it notes on my desk! Ha! No worries, really. 🙂
March 31, 2013 at 9:34 am
Ok, You are really making me blush. I entertain all of the time, for business purposes, so I always have a ton of simple recipes and ingredients on hand just for these types of little surprise guests to knock up. So much nicer than something out of a package. Plus, since I am now gluten free, and try to eat healthy, these are a winner!
March 31, 2013 at 6:10 pm
I am so glad you shared these with us and had us in to visit. It was really a nice time.
March 31, 2013 at 9:00 pm
I cannot get over the fact that the woman whipped up a batch of macaroons and mandarin martinis on a moment’s notice. Though my house will never be so clean as to pass inspection, I just want it to look presentable – and that’s not for guests. That’s for me. 🙂
Love these macaroons, Geni. Their being GF is a big bonus! Hope you shared a wonderful Easter with your family.
March 31, 2013 at 10:02 pm
I have to agree with John,I can’t believe she was so kind as to invite you in and make you macaroons 🙂 I still freak out when I get guests out of the blue but I hope I can get that undercontrol soon
Those macaroons look heavenly Geni, I need to give them a try soon!
April 1, 2013 at 7:09 pm
Oh I have had those days too Geni! I’ve left the door closed a few times. I’m getting better at it – learning to relax a bit about the state of my house (or my person), because really I can’t do it all. And I’m learning that those fun moments are much more important than if there are dishes in my sink or I don’t have make-up on my face. It’s nice to read that I’m not crazy though. Still…spontaneous visits do tend to freak me out. I’m getting there though. I can’t imagine whipping up this dessert and martinis though. Wow! That is some hospitality. 🙂
April 2, 2013 at 1:28 pm
I made some of this last week but its the Filipino version I bet its both equally delicious. Will be posting it soon
May 6, 2013 at 12:37 pm
Reblogged this on yummysweetdates and commented:
Sounds quite yummy to make!