Passover: Matzoh, Memories and Macaroons

Growing up, there were quite a few things on my “don’t like” list, and several have been revealed here on the blog: lemon or lime, raw onions and anything spicy (the latter still holds true today).  Coconut was also on that list, yet is one of the ingredients that was omnipresent throughout my childhood.

Coconut Macaroons

Once a year, there were cake stands piled high with coconut macaroons on my grandparents’ Seder table at the Jewish holiday of Passover.  Chewy shredded coconut with sugar and egg whites, baked until browned on the edges, round or irregular shaped, some plain, others dipped in chocolate. Those mounds were there every year. As far as I was concerned, they were as essential to the holiday as the other elements of the traditional Seder plate.

That said, I could not actually tell you who ate them.  My sister simply picked the chocolate off of them, my mom went for the chocolate covered matzoh, and my dad went straight for the halvah… and anything else covered in chocolate too.  For me, I had one little hand on the ice cream scoop, and the other in the candy dishes full of colorfully speckled nonpareils, mint lentils, Joyva marshmallow twists and honey sesame crunch. My tastes have matured since then [giggle], and my go-to Passover dessert is now my matzoh buttercrunch ice cream sundae.

Coconut MacaroonsCoconut Macaroons

I’m still not a big coconut fan, yet after trying some pretty spectacular macaroons over the past few years (and no, I don’t mean Parisian macarons!), including from NYC’s City Bakery and even Whole Foods, as well as discovering the very Australian confection coconut ice, I had the urge to make my own macaroons this year (recipe below). They also just looked too perfect on Mélanger, and a world away from Manischewitz macaroons in a can!  I actually commented on Mélanger‘s blog post last year saying I wanted to make them this year.  Voilà, I stuck to my word!  And you can bet that this year, I was paying way more attention to who actually ate them!

Coconut MacaroonsCoconut Macaroons

Verdict: everyone! They were a huge hit, and I am now an official lover of coconut macaroons. So light, with a moist interior and just enough crunch to the exterior, an excellent play on texture.  And…  a perk for the baker too.  Don’t worry about being too neat shaping the mounds with the batter.  Scoop up the little bits of coconut that will have baked to a crisp and you’ve got yourself a deliciously sweet topping for yet another Passover ice cream sundae.

Coconut MacaroonsCoconut Macaroons

For those of you who celebrate Passover, what was on your Seder tables?  Any traditional foods that show up every year?  A happy holiday to all, and be sure to share your Passover dessert ideas here!

Passover lasts 8 days, so here are a few more recipes to enjoy throughout the week:
Mocha matzoh buttercrunch and ice cream sundaes
Matzoh brei
Dried fig & pistachio nougat (simply omit the cornstarch used for coating nougat to keep kosher for Passover)

Chocolate Chunk Coconut Macaroons
(adapted from recipe by Martha Stewart, as seen on Mélanger)

3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups (250 grams) unsweetened shredded coconut
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine sugar, shredded coconut, egg whites, chocolate chunks, vanilla, and salt. Start mixing with a wooden spoon, and then using your hands, make sure all ingredients are well blended.

Moisten hands with cold water. Scoop up small amounts of batter and lightly squeeze to form a ball. Place on baking sheet and use your fingers to pinch into desired shape (hay stack, pyramid, rock, etc.).

Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown on the edges and the bottoms have a crisp, colored crust. Let macaroons cool slightly on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack.  Bake for a few more minutes if you like them real crispy on the outside.  And be sure not to throw away those coconut crumbs!

17 Responses to “Passover: Matzoh, Memories and Macaroons”

  1. Meeta says:

    macarOOns are tradition during christmas time here in germany. i get my fill of them then – but seeing these i think i could take a huge handful now. loved reading this! wonderful!

  2. katy says:

    I am one of those weird people who absolutely loves coconut. Even as a child. I’d thankfully relieve all the other children of their Mounds Bars on Halloween and nothing delighted me more than getting the coconut chocolate out of the candy box. So, for me these macaroons look delicious. Problem is, I’m the only one in my family who likes coconut. So, I’ll have to wait for an occasion to make these to save myself from eating the whole batch 🙂 Happy Passover and Easter, Kerrin.

  3. Mowie @ Mowielicious says:

    I loooove macarOOns – I grew up with them and we always had them around Christmas time too. I’ve been meaning to make some, so should do that soon (your blog always inspires me to make stuff!). Great post hon x

  4. Sarah, Maison Cupcake says:

    I do like those moist coconutty macaroons, haven’t had them for ages.

  5. Tweets that mention Passover: Matzoh, Memories and Macaroons | MyKugelhopf -- says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rona , Kerrin Rousset. Kerrin Rousset said: early am after 1st passover seder, everyone in house is still sleeping. time to steal the last of the coconut macaroons […]

  6. Melanie@TravelsWithTwo says:

    Bubbelah, these macaroons look gorgeous (and entirely un-can-like)! Well. Done.

    At last night’s seder — held at our friends Tom and Samantha’s house — we had (amongst many other things) Sammy’s spinach mina (a matzoh lasagna with spinach and three kinds of cheese), salmon and whitefish cakes with cucumber dill sauce, and four kinds of buttery chocolate matzoh bark (white, dark, milk and dark w/ almonds). But, because I LOVE coconut, I’m deeply saddened that your macaroons didn’t make an appearance.

    Oh, well. Next year, maybe. In Jerusalem. 🙂

  7. Emma says:

    I honestly know nothing about Passover, but hopefully I will learn a bit tonight when I go to what may actually be my second seder. I might have attended one at a friend’s house when I was little, but any religious overtones would have been lost on me then.

    I had to search at three grocery stores last night before I found unsalted matzo meal still in stock! I only need four tablespoons so if you’d like I’ll lob the rest over the pond towards Zurich. I’m going to make a dessert I found on sassy radish courtesy of a link from Martha Stewart, it’s an almond lemon torte with strawberry puree that apparently collapses easily and without provocation. Wish me luck!

  8. Kerrin says:

    Meeta, thanks ! I didn’t know macaroons were around during Christmas time, are they similar to these here ? I’ll have to compare the wintery German version to these for sure. Let’s do a tasting together ! 🙂

    Katy, too funny – I am totally picturing the pile of mini Mounds bars that we used to push aside when going through our Halloween bags as kids. Had you gone with us too, you could have had them all ! (Well, if you traded something good in return, haha !) 😉 Happy Holidays to you too Katy !

    Mowie, aha, the German macarOOn tradition confirmed. I already can’t wait to see your version on your blog. It’s going to be spectacular and inspire me in turn to make them again. Thrilled to know I can inspire you too Mowie, thanks so much for that.

    Melanie, un-can-like did you say… ooh, that’s the ultimate macaroon compliment ! 😉 Just those few dishes from your seder menu sound extraordinary. My mom wants Sammy?s spinach mina recipe and I want the recipe for those salmon and whitefish cakes, yummm. And seriously, any seder with multiple types of buttery chocolate matzoh bark is one I should attend. So yes, next year perhaps… in Jerusalem ! (Or Cali or Zürich…!)

    Emma, how exciting to experience a seder and learn as you go. Hope you’ll share a tidbit with us thereafter. And let us know how your ingredient search and baking all went. That lemon torte sounds pretty fabulous to me. Lemon and strawberry, great combination. Good luuuuck !

  9. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    I’m loving your macaroons!

    So glad that you made them, and for your family, too! 🙂 How great are they? I have an urge to make a batch myself now, too. A friend just called and mentioned she was making some for her son’s school tomorrow. It’s a sign.

    I would love to try your Matzoh buttercrunch – but not sure where to get Matzoh here in Brisbane. Anyone? Hmmmm, think there may be one place in West End I could try. I absolutely need to investigate this further. So then I can make that, and the famous Matzoh Brei. Yes!!!

  10. Sarah says:

    They look delicious! I’m going to have to give it a try…

  11. Mom says:

    Well, I have to say that the macaroons were delicious. I really enjoyed making the macaroons with you at this Passover time. Yes, I do remember you and your sister picking at them and not really liking them! Tasting them right out of the oven was the best….hot and melting chunks of chocolate.

  12. mspigeon says:

    I had completely forgotten about coconut macaroons until last Friday when I was in a technical theatre rehearsal and the lighting director brought in a huge box (like, a house moving box – this is baking on a near-psychotic level) of delicious baked goods that his mother had turned out for the cast and crew. They are AMAZING. I felt like a small child. I’ve always loved coconut and I’m going to try them out as soon as I get back to the UK. I’ve never seen them with chocolate in, that’s a peculiarly American addition I think (which I applaud).

  13. Kerrin says:

    Julia, I love that I made *your* macaroons and you have now made my grandfather’s matzoh brei, soon my matzoh buttercrunch too ! A Passover recipe exchange from Switzerland to Australia. Thank goodness you found matzoh over there in Brisbane. I already can’t wait to make these macaroons again, so good ! I’m so glad you had posted them on your blog.

    Sarah, thanks so much ! Soooo, did you give it a go ?? 🙂

    Mom, yes the best part certainly was being able to make them together. AND eating them straight from the oven ! 😉 Again for Passover 2011 ?!

    mspigeon, I can not even imagine that big a box full of macaroons, ha ha ! Wow, for how many people ?! That man’s mother must have been baking for days ! You’ll have to let me know how it goes when you try them yourself – definitely with chocolate ! But perhaps a small batch to start… 😉

  14. jen laceda says:

    not a big fan of coconut as well…i dislike the desicated stuff, although fresh coconut meat is delish!

  15. Sarah Melamed says:

    woa, who would have thought you would be a lover of coconut macaroons? all I remember from childhood are the canned kinds (blech). Wow, if you can do it, mark my word, this time next year it’s my turn 🙂

  16. Kerrin says:

    Sarah, I know, right ?! From the Manischewitz cans… to this, ha ha ! This was my first time making macaroons, and I don’t think it will be my last. You’ve got to try it – but don’t want until next Passover… 🙂

  17. Suzanne says:

    I love your blog, Kerrin! I have been making Martha Stewart’s coconut macaroons for years. I usually dip them in semi-sweet chocolate. They sort of remind me of coconut patties from Florida. Unlike you, I’ve always loved coconut.

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