Matterhorn macaroons

The coconut macaroon from the Jolly Holiday Bakery is an unexpected find at Disneyland – pure coconut perfection, crisp outside but gloriously soft and moist inside, and topped with melted white chocolate to look like the snow-capped Matterhorn mountain ride across Main Street.

I tried a gut-busting number of macaroon recipes before I hit on this technique (used by baking wizard Alice Medrich): easy, minimal and right on the money. The simple dough is thickened briefly on the stovetop, after which it’s easily shaped into Alpine peaks for baking.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Optional

  • White chocolate for melting (bars better than white chocolate chips, which are designed not to melt)

Preparation

  1. Optional: Briefly grind coconut in a food processor until the shreds of coconut are cut into small bits. The taste of the shredded is the same, but for looks the Jolly Holiday macaroons definitely start with ground coconut.
  2. In a medium saucepan, mix coconut, sugar, flour and salt.
  3. Use two small bowls to separate eggs; crack and let white slip into one bowl and save yolk in a separate bowl for another use. Add each egg white to saucepan before cracking the next egg, so if you mess up one, it won’t ruin the whole batch (although this recipe is forgiving; a drop of egg yolk won’t ruin it).
  4. Mix egg whites into dry ingredients. Heat saucepan on medium-low until egg whites turn from translucent to opaque and mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Set aside until dough is cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using your hands, mold a heaping spoonful (about 2 tablespoons) of cooled coconut mixture into a mountain, with a flat circular base and peaked top (the size of the cookies doesn’t matter as much as keeping them relatively similar so that they cook in the same amount of time). The cookies don’t spread much, so don’t need to leave too much space between cookies on the baking sheet.
  6. After you put the cookies in the oven, turn the temperature down to 325 degrees F and bake about 15 minutes, or until edges turn golden. Keep an eye on the cookies as time gets close; actual cook time will depend on the size of your cookies.
  7. For white chocolate snow cap: Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Start with a small amount in a bowl (this takes some trial and error depending on your chocolate and your microwave) and melt at 50% power in the microwave, in 30-second increments, stirring in between. White chocolate burns very easily, so take it slow and be patient. Dip top of cookie in melted white chocolate, or hold cookie sideways and use a knife to spread melted white chocolate on the peak. Stand cookies up for white chocolate to cool and harden. Dust lightly with powdered sugar if desired.

Makes 12-16 mini Matterhorns, or about 6 Disney-sized Matterhorns.

Notes

  • You can cut the sugar to 1 cup, but the recipe as written is closer to the Disneyland version (the extra sugar adds moistness as well as sweetness).
  • The macaroons store very well for days in an airtight container.
  • Gluten-free/Passover version: substitute almond flour for wheat flour.
  • I haven’t tried this recipe with sweetened coconut – after early efforts with both, I concluded that the Jolly Holiday macaroon employed the drier unsweetened coconut as its base – but if all I had was sweetened shredded coconut, I’d reduce the sugar to 1 cup and keep the rest of the recipe the same. Let me know if you give it a go.

Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.