Similar to macaroons but with a (salty) charm all their own, Aquavit's salted coconut cookies manage to be sophisticated and moreish while remaining easy and homey, not unlike the New York establishment restaurant from which they originate.
I found this recipe printed on a bag of organic sugar years ago and have been making it ever since. It comes from Marcus Samuelsson, the Ethiopian-Swedish chef who started his career at Aquavit, a Scandinavian restaurant in Midtown New York. Aquavit's coconut cookies are every bit as haute-tasting as you'd expect, while being dead simple and unassumingly wonderful. They aren't, truth be told, so different from their close Jewish relation, coconut macaroons. I'd say the difference is in their bite: Aquavit's cookies are flatter, so they have less of the squishy center than do macaroons, are a bit more tender overall, and have wonderfully salted tops that provide an alluring contrast to the sweetness of the coconut. Both are delightful, so my advice? Switch it up, make them both. Your cookie arsenal has room for more than one coconut cookie!
Making the coconut cookies
Whereas macaroons are made with whipped egg whites, Aquavit's coconut cookies are made with whole eggs, which are also well-whipped. The recipe starts off by melting butter or coconut oil in a pot. I've made these both ways and while there's no substitute for real butter, the coconut oil version is truly excellent as well. After it's melted, you'll take the butter/oil off the heat and stir in that coconut so that it gets good and coated. I like finely flaked, unsweetened coconut here; a medium shred would also work.
The next step is to whip the eggs and sugar until they turn a paler yellow and are more voluminous, sort of "fluffy." You can do this with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Then, you just fold in the coated coconut and shape your cookies.
To shape, you can use a small cookie scoop or your hands, and don't neglect to flatten the tops of the mounds. For what I imagine to be some quasi-scientific reason, this makes the cookies come out right (highly technical term, I'm aware). And finally? Sprinkle some nice finished salt over the tops of the cookies for a wonderful pop of flavor. (I used Real Salt.)
Looking for more cookies?
- Dairy-Free Cowboy Cookies
- Michigan Rocks - Date and Nut Cookies (dairy)
- Deborah Madison's Nut Cookies (dairy or parve)
- Almond Mandelbrot (parve)
- Classic Chocolate Rugelach (dairy)
Aquavit's Salted Coconut Cookies (dairy or parve)
- 2 Tbsp butter or coconut oil
- 2 ½ cups finely flaked coconut (unsweetened)
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- Sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C and line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut, mixing well to coat the coconut.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a mixer on medium speed until combined. Add the sugar and beat on medium-high speed, until pale and fluffy.
- Fold the coconut into the eggs, stirring gently to combine.
- Using a small cookie scoop, drop the batter onto the prepared sheet pans in rows. Flatten the top of each cookies with the back of a spoon. (They will spread further in the oven, so leave some room around each cookie.) Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with sea salt.
- Bake for 7-10 minutes, until golden and set.