Today’s blog features everybody’s favorite Passover cookie– the macaroon! Flourless, chewy, and delicious, the macaroon has become a staple for Jews avoiding chametz during Passover.
Jews and macaroons go way back. The delectable sweet originated in Italy in the 1700’s, where they were made with almond paste. The recipe was passed on to Italian Jews who appreciated that they contained no flour or leavening, and thus could be enjoyed during Passover.
American macaroons are usually made with coconut. In Mediterranean Sephardic Jewish communities, they are more often made from almonds and flavored with lemon zest. I love the lemon/almond flavor combination, but coconut adds a great chewy texture. So I decided to combine all three ingredients—which resulted in this Lemony Almond Macaroon. They’re so simple to make and really delicious. Try them for Passover, or any time you’d like a sweet, lemony treat!
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Lemony Almond Macaroons
- 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut flakes
- 1 1/2 cups blanched skinless almond slivers
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 large egg whites
- Pinch salt
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. In this recipe, you can use either grated fresh coconut or dried coconut flakes. If using dried coconut, rehydrate it by pouring it into a bowl and covering it with warm water.
Let the coconut soak for 5 minutes, then drain. Squeeze all the excess liquid out firmly with your fingers. Proceed with recipe. If using fresh coconut, no need to prep it-- simply proceed with recipe.
Place almond slivers and coconut in a food processor, pulse into fine crumbs. Add 3/4 cup of sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, almond extract, vanilla, egg and salt to the food processor. Process for about 1 minute until the mixture becomes a sticky mixture of fine crumbles.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Place rounded tablespoonfuls of the coconut mixture onto the baking sheet, evenly spaced, forming the mounds into haystack-like shapes.
Place the macaroons in the oven and let them bake for 30-40 minutes, till the tops of the haystacks turn golden brown.
Remove the macaroons from the oven and allow to cool directly on the baking sheet. Do not try to remove them before they'll cool; when hot, they are delicate and prone to crumbling. They become firmer as they cool. When cooled completely, gently pull them from the baking sheet. The bottoms should be golden brown.
Store macaroons in a sealed, airtight plastic container. When fresh from the oven, the macaroons will be crisp on the outside, soft inside. They become softer over time when stored in a sealed container.