Recipe: Grandma Esther’s Coconut Haystacks Macaroons

This delicious heirloom recipe from Sara Berger’s great-grandmother packs a lot of flavor into a bonbon-sized bite. Simple to make, the only tricky part, as Sara says, is forming them into little haystacks. She suggests either using two spoons or working with wet fingers and aiming for uniform size. 

To add another dimension, you might combine some tart dried fruit with Esther’s original mix of coconut, dates, and walnuts. I’ve tried shards of California apricots, but dried sour cherries or cranberries would also work well.
 
Yield: about 50 to 60 macaroons

 Photo by Muriel Amaury from France (rochers à la noix de coco (1)) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Muriel Amaury from France (rochers à la noix de coco (1)) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Ingredients

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons kosher-for-Passover vanilla extract
  • One pound (about 4 cups) shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 pound (1 cup) chopped dates
  • 1/4 pound (1 cup) chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking pan(s) with parchment. 
  2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and continue beating until stiff but not dry, while gradually adding sugar and salt. Near the end of beating, add vanilla extract. Fold in coconut, dates, and walnuts. 
  3. Scoop about 1 tablespoon of batter, pinch into haystack (pyramid) shape, and place on baking pan. Continue making haystacks with remainder of batter, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
  4. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. (Sara’s family prefers these Goldilocks-style: not too light, not too dark. But bake for more or less time according to your own preference.) If not using parchment, remove from pan immediately.
  5. Store the macaroons in an airtight container for about 5 days or, if refrigerated, up to 2 weeks. They also freeze very well.