Coconut seems to be a very divisive ingredient.
Some people luurrrrrve coconut. They want to put it in everything, especially granola and desserts. Especially desserts with chocolate or bananas. It's true love. They want to marry it. We may or may not be referring to ourselves.
However, some people out there hate coconut and don't want it anywhere near their desserts (ahem, a certain blue-eyed's boy who shall remain nameless...ok, his name is RTT). Anyhoo, not sure what coconut ever did to them to deserve such disgust, but we're sure it's sorry. We know coconut fairly well and it is actually very sweet and lovely once you get to know it.
In fact, let's plan a wee coconut meet-and-greet. Today. Now. Are you free? Yes, it can be a cocktail party.
We'll start simple. Keep it easy because we don't want you to be scared off by anything complicated like Coconut Cake or Coconut Cream Pie.
These coconut macaroons from Ina Garten (aka Kitchen Queen and Baking Buddah) are about as straight-forward as it gets and they really showcase the flavor of coconut.
Yes, of course we were tempted to dip them in chocolate about 32 times, but this is supposed to be about the coconut. We refrained. You can too. It will be like a return to your roots. Return to the purity of coconut. Er, or something.
Makes 18-20 macaroons
Adapted from Ina Garten
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whip the egg whites and salt on high speed with a hand mixer (or using the whisk attachment on an Kitchen Aid mixer) until they make medium-firm peaks. Then, gently fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.
Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a small ice cream scoop or 2 teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and serve.
The macaroons keep for several days at room temperature in an air tight container.