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Raspberry Coconut Macaroons

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I recently read an article that suggests that the centre of the Milky Way may taste distinctly like raspberries and smell like rum. The very idea makes me smile – what could be better?

“Astronomers searching for the building blocks of life in a giant dust cloud at the heart of the Milky Way have concluded that it tastes vaguely of raspberries. The unanticipated discovery follows years of work by astronomers who trained their 30m radio telescope on the enormous ball of dust and gas in the hope of spotting complex molecules that are vital for life. Finding amino acids in interstellar space is a Holy Grail for astrobiologists, as this would raise the possibility of life emerging on other planets after being seeded with the molecules… While they failed to find evidence for amino acids, they did find a substance called ethyl formate, the chemical responsible for the flavor of raspberries … and the smell of rum.”

What a beautiful world we live in.

Speaking of beauty, after reading a recent issue of Bon Appetit magazine, I was reminded of the simple beauty of the macaroon. Not the macaron, the delicate French sandwich cookies, but old fashioned, sturdy school-bake-sale-style coconut macaroons. What rekindled my love affair for these little piles of coconut was the idea of using wide ribbon coconut instead of the finer shred. Plain and simple would be great, but what goes more beautifully with coconut than rum? And while we’re at it, let’s add some raspberries! Why not?

 In the end, there were 18 colossal, perfectly caramelized macaroons – toasty brown, chewy, bright with raspberries and humming with rum.

But don’t worry, you don’t have to travel to the center of the galaxy for the recipe.

Raspberry Coconut Macaroons

preheat the oven to 325°

5 C unsweetened ribbon-cut coconut

5 egg whites

1 C light brown sugar (I used coconut sugar, which doesn’t taste of coconut but is a nice alternative to sugar)

1 tsp dark rum

1 C frozen raspberries

Prepare 2 cookie sheets by lining with parchment. Set aside.

Mix coconut, egg whites, sugar and rum in a large bowl until the egg whites and sugar are syrupy and all the coconut is coated. Stir in raspberries gently – the aim is not to make a streaky pink macaroon, but to have pockets of tart-sweet raspberry. or, if you want a pink, fully incorporated raspberry flavour, keep mixing.

Scoop the mix (it will be ragged and unwieldy due to the large cut of the coconut) and press it into a ¼ C ice cream scoop, or into a ¼ C measuring cup. Release the compacted piles of coconut onto the cookie sheet, leaving about 1 inch between each cookie. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 15 minutes at 325° until the bottoms and very tops are browning. Allow to cool completely on the sheet before carefully peeling off from the parchment. Keep leftovers in a well sealed container for up to 5 days. Makes 18 large cookies.

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