Lemon Ginger Macaroons

If you like coconut and occasionally experience URGENT cravings for a fresh, warm, homemade cookie that require sating in “slice-n-bake” timeframe or less, then this is your recipe.  A handful of ingredients — most of which you probably have, and which are easy to keep on the shelf for just such emergencies — and about five minutes of prep time (plus 20 to bake) and you have a chewy, delicious, vaguely tropical treat for tea time.  As you may have seen, Pirate Caroline is off in St. Lucia today, while we are in a Gulf Coast deep freeze (four words that DO NOT belong together) … so I needed coconut, and a hot cup of tea.

Lemon Ginger Macaroons

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14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup sliced  almonds
3/4 cup sugar
1-2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger*
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites

* I usually don’t like ground ginger.  By the time you use enough of it to get that ginger bite, you have a chalky flavor.  But sometimes, it’s all you’ve got.  You can substitute 1-2 tablespoons of finely grated fresh ginger, or even 1/4 cup of crystallized ginger that you chop very, very finely (mine had become too hard to chop very well).  I’ll try these variations in the future and update the recipe with the results.

I told you this recipe was super simple … after preheating your oven to 325 degrees, throw the coconut, almonds, sugar and salt together in a large mixing bowl and combine well.

Grate the lemon right into the bowl and add the ginger.  Whisk this all together well to make sure the spices are fully incorporated.

Add the egg whites, and mix — as you can see, it’s still a bit flakey, but all the elements are coated with a thin layer of egg white that will make the baked macaroons hold together.

Line your baking sheet with parchment paper — one of those times it’s TOTALLY worth it, as it will crisp the bottoms and make clean up (and, frankly, the cooling and next-batch-baking steps) so much easier.  “Drop” the macaroon mix about 2 tablespoons per cookie onto the paper.  I put “drop” in quotes because you kind of have to wad it together with your fingers as you push it off the spoon.  But as long as it’s loosely together it will bind when baked.

I don’t know about you, but I only have one small baking sheet for my galley oven.  So another nice thing about baking with parchment is you can tee up the next batch on paper while one is in the oven.  Then just slide the new batch onto the tray to bake.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cookies are browned on top but still chewy inside.

“Glamorous test kitchen” instructions are to cool the cookies on the paper for a few minutes, and then move them to a wire rack to cool thoroughly.  I didn’t have a wire rack, and if I did wouldn’t have counter space to put it on!  So I decided sliding the baked cookies on their parchment off onto our mesh cockpit seat covers was close enough.  Worked like a charm…

With the possible exception that, when I turned around…something was missing.  But the Captain was chewing happily, so all is well on this cold January day!

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