White Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Here in San Francisco there is an Asian bakery chain called Sheng Kee that bakes all kinds of amazing and yummy treats including bread, cakes, Asian pastries, and several types of cookies.  One of the cookies they make are these tiny little coconut macaroons. They are a one bite/pop in your mouth sensation. They are so addicting it is hard to eat just one. My son calls them coconut bombs. They have the perfect chewiness and coconut flavor without being too sweet. Whenever we walk past this bakery my son Seth cannot help but stop and buy a bag. “Oh Mommy, let’s get some coconut bombs”!  he’ll say. One of their bakeries is smack right next to Home Depot; oh so conveniently located while The Husband shops for drill bits. This recipe reminds me of that cookie. I took it one step further and dipped them in white chocolate.

Coconut Macaroons Dipped in White Chocolate

Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine

(yield 4 dozen cookies)

3/4 Cup egg whites

1  1/2 Cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar

12 oz. unsweetened finely shredded coconut

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste

12 oz. finely chopped Ghiradelli white chocolate

1. Position oven racks in the center and upper portions of the oven and heat the oven to 350°. Line two heavy baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.

2. In a large bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy and add sugar, and vanilla bean paste until combined. Stir in the coconut until combined.

3. Scoop the mixture using a one tablespoon scoop (1/2 oz. scoop) onto the pans leaving 1 1/2 inch spaced in between cookies. Bake until the cookies are an even golden color and they appear dry; not at all sticky or wet looking; about 25 minutes. Halfway through baking, switch the pans from top to bottom and rotate them from back to front also for even baking.

4. Let the cookies cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Place the chopped white chocolate in a micro wave safe bowl and at 50 % power melt the chocolate slowly by using 15 second intervals stirring in between until the chocolate is melted. Dip the cookies into the melted chocolate and place onto a wax paper. Let cookies set up until chocolate sets.

My beautiful Son and official cookie taster Seth

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Coconut- Lemon- Passion Fruit Cake

Coconut-Lemon-Passion Fruit Cake

I like the combination of coconut and passion fruit. I was lucky to find this passion fruit jelly a couple of months ago and I bought the jelly with the intention of making passion fruit buttercream. I really liked how it turned out. I also used Monin passion fruit syrup to brush the cakes with and the passion fruit flavor really came through. I kind of whipped out this cake on a busy weeknight so I used a jar of purchased lemon curd, but you can certainly use the leftover egg yolks to make fresh lemon curd. If you don’t like passion fruit or can’t find passion fruit jam or jelly, the cake would be great with either vanilla buttercream, coconut buttercream; flavored with cream of coconut (such as coco lopez brand)  or cream cheese frosting and you could cover the cake in coconut.

Coconut Cake: (yield: 2 layer 9 inch cake)

3  1/4 Cups sifted cake flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 C  unsalted butter, room temp

1  1/3  Cup granulated sugar

6 large egg whites

1  1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste

1/2 tsp. coconut extract/flavoring

1 small lemon, zested

2/3 Cup coconut milk

3/4 Cup whole milk

3/4 Cup sweetened shredded coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying the bottom and sides with baking spray (I use the kind with flour in the spray). Line the bottom of each pan with a parchment paper round.

2. Combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt in  a medium bowl; whisk to combine and set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment; cream the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat on med-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the egg whites a little bit at a time until combined; stop the mixer to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl every so often to insure the eggs combine thoroughly. Add the lemon zest and stir to combine.

4. Combine the coconut milk, whole milk, coconut extract and vanilla bean paste together in a measuring cup.

5. With the mixer on low-speed, add about 1/3 of the flour mixture, alternating with the milk mixture, stopping the mixer after each addition to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Make sure to end with the last bit of flour mixture. Stir in the coconut by hand.

6. Divide the batter equally into the two pans and smooth the tops. Rap the pans on the counter sharply to release any air bubbles.

7. Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes until the tops are just lightly browned around the edges and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. You will not see the cakes turn much color; they will retain a light color, so be careful not to overbake.

8. Cool the cakes in the pans for about 15 minutes and then invert the cakes, peel off the parchment paper, and place onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Filling: Purchased lemon curd (I like Dickinson’s)* you can make homemade lemon curd; I’ve used jar variety here to save time on a busy weeknight after work and one jar is exactly the right amount to fill the cake.

Passion fruit syrup: Purchased Passion fruit syrup (Monin brand)

Passion Fruit Swiss Buttercream:

5 large egg whites

1 Cup granulated sugar

4 sticks unsalted butter (1 lb.)

6 Tablespoons passion fruit jelly (also known as lilikoi)

1 tsp. vanilla

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer place the egg whites and sugar and whisk to combine. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water as a double boiler setup and whisk the mixture until the temperature registers 160º degrees on an instant read thermometer.

2. Remove the bowl from the double boiler, and place on the stand mixer on medium high; using the whisk attachment,  whisk the egg/sugar mixture until you have stiff, glossy peaks and the bottom of the mixer bowl is not warm to touch; this will take about approx. 5 minutes.

3. Add one tablespoon of butter at a time and beat on medium high-speed. You will notice that  the mixture will start to take on a curdled appearance and separate, (this is because of the high water content in the butter)  but continue to add in the butter and the buttercream will come together. Add in the vanilla and combine. Add in the passion fruit jelly and turn the mixer down to low-speed and combine.

Cake Assembly:

Brush one cake layer with passion fruit syrup. Pipe a ring of frosting on the top of the cake layer around the outer edge around the cake circumference to create a dam so the lemon curd does not squirt out. Spread the lemon curd on top of the brushed cake layer within the buttercream dam; brush the 2nd cake layer with passion fruit syrup and invert the cake layer so the brushed layer rests over the lemon curd. Brush the top of the cake with more passion fruit syrup. Frost the cake with the buttercream frosting in your desired choice of design. Store the cake in the refrigerator until one hour before serving. Let the cake come to room temperature for about hour before serving. Serve at room temp. Chill any remaining cake in the refrigerator.

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Happy Baking,


Almond Joy Cookies

Apparantly I’m a jam hoarder. I didn’t realize how bad this habit of mine was until we recently got a new refrigerator. Jams, preserves, jellies. Whenever I see jam on sale I can’t stop myself; if it’s something I even fancy I’m apt to buy it and squirrel it away. It’s not that I eat it on toast. I rarely eat jam on toast. It’s more about what you can do with jam. You can take an ordinary buttercream and make it raspberry by just adding a bit of jam. I was shopping one day and right next to the jams and preserves I came across coconut curd. I have never seen “creme coconut curd” in my life.

When I saw this little jar of Dickinson’s creme coconut curd   www.dickinsonsfamily.com  you know I had to buy it. On the way home from the store I was already thinking of ways to use it. In between soft chewy cookies, as a filling in cake…the possibilities started swirling in my head as I drove.

The sublime combination of chocolate, sweet chewy coconut and almonds which make up an almond joy are the inspiration for these cookies. The cookie portion of this recipe is similar to a parisian macaron type cookie but because I live in serious heavy fog; I created the recipe to suit the weather here. (Macaron’s do not come out well when the weather is foggy). The result is a very fudgy, soft, and chewy cookie.

Almond Joy Cookies


1  1/4 C almond meal

2 cups confectioners sugar

1/4 C dutch processed cocoa powder (I like Valrhona)

3 egg whites (from large eggs)

pinch salt

pinch of cream of tartar

3 Tbsp. granulated sugar

*whole salted almonds (save for garnache-for the top of the cookie)

Purchased Dickinson’s creme coconut curd 

OR Coconut buttercream filling: (see recipe &  method below)

Coconut Buttercream: (see method below)

2 egg whites

1/2 C granulated sugar

1  1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1 tsp. coconut flavoring/extract

1/2 cup dried dessicated coconut

Bittersweet Chocolate ganache (see method below)

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips

4 oz. heavy cream

Method for cookies:

1. Combine the almond meal, cocoa powder,  and confectioners sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment; whisk the egg whites, pinch of salt and cream of tartar on high until foamy. Add the granulated sugar and continue whisking on high until the meringue has stiff peaks; about 3-4 minutes.

3. Add about a third of the sugar/almond meal mixture to the meringue and fold until combined. Add the rest of the almond/sugar mixture until the cookie dough is combined and flows like lava when you lift the spatula and let it fall in the bowl.

4. Spoon the cookie dough into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip (I use a # 806 Ateco). Pipe the cookies on a parchment lined tray about 1 inch in size and leave about 2 inches in between each cookie. After you have piped all the cookies; take the tray and rap it on the counter to help release any air bubbles in the cookies. Let the trays sit out for 1 hour so the tops become fairly dry.

5. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and bake for 10 minutes, drop the temperature to 300 º degrees and continue baking the cookies for another 6 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the cookies it in the oven for about 30 minutes-40 minutes or until the cookies are able to be pulled from the parchement paper without falling apart. (This takes long at my house because of the high humidity/heavy fog where I live). Check the cookies- they should be set and look wrinkly on top, and you should be able to pull them off the paper easily upon lifting.

6. Remove the cookies and let sit on a wire rack to cool completely.

Method for coconut buttercream:

Place the egg whites and sugar set over a bain marie and cook until the sugar is dissolved and the temperature is 160 degrees. Remove from heat. Whip the mixture with a handheld beater (in a large bowl) or on a stand mixture until the bottom of the bowl is no longer warm to the touch. Add one tablespoon of butter at a time while continue whisking; you will see the mixture start to separate (that’s normal) and continue adding the butter a piece at a time until all the butter is incorporated. Add in the extract and dried coconut and whip until combined.

Method for ganache:

Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl. Heat the cream in a measuring cup in the microwave until the cream is hot. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let sit for 1 minute before stirring the mixture to become smooth.

Assembly: Dip half of the cookies in the ganache and let sit for about ten minutes and top with one whole almond.  The other half of the cookies pipe or spoon about 3/4 tsp. of coconut filling onto one cookie half; carefully place the ganache topped cookie on top of the half with the coconut filled cookie and twist gently into place.

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