COCONUT CARAMEL MACAROONS

Coconut, caramel, and chocolate, oh my! These are scrumptious little bites of goodness. Easy and fun to make with just a few ingredients.

Chocolate and coconut are one of those quintessential food pairings. They just go together. Add caramel and…(this is where my mouth starts watering)…it becomes phenomenal!

I am a huge coconut fan. Living in Hawaii we have an abundance of coconut – even fresh off the tree! My favorite way to eat coconut is right out of the coconut husk. But first you have to get the coconut open…which I usually leave up to my husband and his machete!

Much can be said about the pleasures of eating coconut. Yet coconut is one of those foods that seems to ping-pong between the ‘good food’ and ‘bad food’ list, and if you’re confused about this, don’t worry – even the experts can’t quite agree.

The confusion starts because of the differences between the use of coconut oil in cooking, and the use of coconut milk, or coconut flesh. Both the American Heart Association and the National Heart Foundation recommend avoiding the use of coconut oil for cooking, but both their websites include recipes that contain coconut milk. So while the experts continue their back and forth as to whether coconut is healthy or not, I am going to continue to enjoy it to the fullest (of course in moderation)!

To Make This Recipe:

  • Start by preheating the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone pan liners to keep the macaroons from sticking to your pans.
  • In a large bowl, toss together the coconut and the flour until the coconut is evenly coated with the flour.
  • Measure out the sweetened condensed milk, set aside. In a microwave safe bowl, add the unwrapped caramels and 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk. Adding the sweetened condensed milks helps the caramels melt smoother, and will make it easier to stir it into the remaining sweetened condensed milk.
  • Heat in 30-second intervals at 50% power. Be sure to stir every 30 seconds until the caramel is melted and smooth. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
  • Stir in the remaining 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, and stir until completely incorporated.
  • Add the caramel/sweetened condensed milk mixture to the coconut, and stir until the everything is evenly mixed together.
  • Using a 1 ½ tablespoon cookie scoop, drop the coconut mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, about an inch apart. Gently press any loose coconut into the cookie so they do not burn. If any tips are sticking up they tend to burn quickly.
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. You want the tops golden brown and toasted, but not burnt. Coconut does burn easily, so you do need to watch it closely. Cool completely on the baking sheets.

Dipping Chocolate:

  • Add 1 teaspoon of Crisco or vegetable oil to the chocolate before melting. This gives the chocolate a very smooth, shiny finish and makes dipping easier. I like to use the microwave and heat in 30-second intervals at 50% power. Be sure to stir every 30 seconds until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
  • Dip the bottoms of the macaroons in the melted chocolate, tap off any excess chocolate. Place them back on the baking sheet, resting them on their side. Allow the chocolate to cool and set up completely. You can place them in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to speed up the process.

Chocolate and Caramel for Drizzling:

  • When the bottoms are set, drizzle any remaining chocolate over the top of the macaroons. The easiest way to do this, is to put the melted chocolate in a sandwich bag. Seal the bag and snip off just a bit of the corner. Then drizzle the chocolate, using a back and forth motion.
  • For the caramel, melt a handful of unwrapped caramels, 8 or 9, in the microwave, mixed with a teaspoon of milk or cream. This helps the caramels to melt smoothly, and makes it easier to work with. Using the microwave, heat for 15 to 20 seconds at 50% power. Stir until the caramel is melted and smooth. Repeat if not melted enough. Put the melted caramel in a sandwich bag. Seal the bag and snip off just a bit of the corner. Then drizzle the caramel, using a back-and-forth motion.

These can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature, but if you live in a warmer or humid climate, they will set up better in the refrigerator. I actually prefer them in the refrigerator. The chocolate and caramel set up harder so they are not as sticky, and it seems like the flavors come out more when they are cold.

Coconut Caramel Macaroons

Coconut, caramel, and chocolate, oh my! These are scrumptious little bites of goodness. Easy and fun to make with just a few ingredients.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course cookies
Servings 25 cookies

Ingredients
 

  • 5 cups shredded coconut, 14 ounce bag
  • cup flour
  • ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 7 ounces soft caramels, Kraft or Werther's Originals
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

For Dipping:

  • 8 ounces semi- sweet or dark chocolate baking bars
  • 1 teaspoon Crisco or vegetable oil

For Drizzling on the Top:

  • leftover melted chocolate used for dipping
  • handful of soft caramels + 1 teaspoon of milk or cream

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone pan liners.
  • In a large bowl, toss together the coconut and the flour until the coconut is evenly covered with flour.
  • Measure out the sweetened condensed milk, set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl add the unwrapped caramels and 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk. Heat in 30-second intervals at 50% power. Be sure to stir every 30 seconds until the caramel is melted and smooth. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
  • Stir in the remaining sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, and mix until completely incorporated.
  • Add the sweetened condensed milk/caramel mixture to the coconut, and stir until completely and evenly incorporated.
  • Using a 1 ½ tablespoon cookie scoop, drop the coconut mixture onto the lined baking sheet, about an inch apart. Press any loose coconut into the cookie so they do not burn.
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. Cool completely on baking sheets.

Dipping Chocolate:

  • Melt the chocolate according to the instructions on the package. Be sure to add a teaspoon of Crisco or vegetable oil to give the chocolate a smooth finish.
    Microwave instructions: Using a microwave-safe bowl, heat in 30-second intervals at 50% power. Be sure to stir every 30 seconds until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
  • Dip the bottoms of the macaroons in the melted chocolate, tap off any excess chocolate. Place them back on the baking sheet, resting them on their side. Allow the chocolate to cool and set up completely. You can place them in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to speed up the process.

Chocolate and Caramel Drizzle:

  • When the bottoms are set, drizzle any remaining chocolate over the tops of the macaroons.
  • Melt a handful of soft caramels, 8 or 9, with a teaspoon of milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat 15 to 20 seconds at 50% power. Stir until the caramels are melted and smooth. Drizzle over the tops of the macaroons.
  • Store in an airtight container for 6 to 7 days. If your home is warmer or you live in a humid climate, store in the refrigerator.

Notes

These freeze well. Freeze in an airtight container and consume within 6 months.

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