I think of coconut macaroons as an adult cookie. In my opinion they don’t possess the sophistication of a French macaron, but coconut really adds some maturity to a cookie. As a child I disliked coconut, along with nearly everything else. The chewiness did not agree with me, and the tropical sweetness wasn’t appealing to my young and ignorant palate. I remember once while on vacation in the Bahamas my mother bought me a young coconut cracked open with a long straw sticking straight out at me. “It’s refreshing coconut water”, said the vendor. I tried it, and “no, I don’t like it” burst from my lips. “You better drink it” replied my mom, but I just couldn’t. It tasted like dirty water, and was far from refreshing. Refreshing was a cold Sprite with no ice, or sweet iced tea; this coconut water was just plain nasty!
From that one experience, I made up my mind that I hated coconut, in every form.
Age brings maturity. I now delight in coconut water, but only when it is flavored, otherwise it does taste like dirty water. I love shredded coconut, I can eat it by the handfuls. The only coconut product I didn’t shy away from is coconut milk, and now I’ve got an even greater appreciation for it. Oh, and coconut oil!
So you see, if I had been handed a coconut macaroon as a child I would have gagged, and this is perhaps the reason I see this flavor packed and aromatic cookie as an adult pleasure.
I found the recipe for these Walnut Macaroons in The Artful Vegan cookbook. The book is the second cookbook from San Francisco’s famed Millennium Restaurant. I have read it front to back, back to front multiple times, and each time something new pops out. This book is truly addictive!
On my second or third read, I found pastry chef Amy Pearce’s recipe for Walnut Macaroons. I won’t go into how I used to hate walnuts, and, well, all nuts, as a child; but I will say it’s good to be a grown up open to almost all of the earth’s delicious non-meat offerings. Walnuts give these healthy vegan macaroons substance and bite, while shredded coconut lends its delicate flavor and chew. I love the tiny specks of sweet potato, and the brown sugary bottoms. The recipe calls for rice flour to hold them together, but I used arrowroot powder. The arrowroot worked well, but my batter was very watery, perhaps because of the substitution.
My roommate loved these, and said they’re like Girl Scout cookies…she meant it in a great way : )
When you make these macaroons you’re in for a serious treat. Equal parts crispy, crunchy, and chewy, these have got to be some of the most satisfying cookies I’ve ever made.