Recently, I was the happy recipient of a random act of kindness: one of my coworkers brought me handmade ravioli and vodka sauce from her favorite Italian specialty shop. She knew that Mr. W. and I have been trying to eat local foods, and she thought we would enjoy a quick pasta dinner. Before buying the ravioli, she even ensured that all of the ingredients were locally sourced to the extent possible. We were so touched by her thoughtfulness that we wanted to do something nice in return.
We decided that a gift of almond macaroons and chocolate-covered pretzels would fit the bill. Macaroons have always struck me as a “fancy” cookie because they have such a delicate flavor. But they’re actually a quick and easy dessert. They’re also economical to make at home. Whereas the macaroons at Whole Foods sell for $5.99, this recipe costs about $2 for a batch of the same size. How could you go wrong? Well, I guess you could go very wrong if you have a nut allergy. In that case, just omit the almond extract and increase the vanilla extract to ½ tsp. Emergency room visit avoided.
I’ve played around with the balance of coconut/sugar/egg/extracts a few times, and this is my favorite version. You could even drizzle these with melted chocolate or salted caramel, for a little extra pizazz.
- 2 cups coconut ($2.49/bag = $.93)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar ($3.79/5 lb. bag = $.11)
- 2 Tbsp. flour ($1.99/5 lb. bag = $.01)
- 1/8 tsp. salt (free-ish)
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract ($4.99/1 oz. = $.21)
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract ($2.99/1 oz. = $.12)
- 2 egg whites ($1.99/dozen for standard large eggs = $.33. Or, $4.99/dozen for cage-free local eggs = $.83)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
2. Combine coconut, sugar, flour and salt in a medium bowl.
3. Separate egg whites from the yolks.
|We made a double batch, so we had four yolks|
4. Stir egg whites, almond extract, and vanilla extract into coconut mixture.
5. Using a tablespoon, drop coconut mixture onto prepared cookie sheet.
6. Bake approximately 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer immediately to cooling rack.
Yield: 12-14 macaroons
Total Recipe Cost: $1.71 -$2.21
We save the egg yolks for omelets or frittatas. At $4.99/dozen, we’re not about to pour those yolks down the drain!
Obviously, coconut is not a local ingredient. I really wish it were, because I love a good pina colada. However, it’s a go-to ingredient for people who keep Kosher and/or follow a Paleo diet. Although Mr. W. and I don’t have these dietary restrictions, many people in our circles do. We use a lot of coconut in foods that we share with these friends and colleagues.