Coconut macaroons are simply the easiest cookies I know how to make. And they’re pretty darn good just in their plain form. But add a couple of drops of food coloring, a dab of imagination and possibly a few props and you’ve got a centerpiece!
If you’ve got kids aboard — even toddlers — these are a great kid project. There might be a bit of a mess, but they are easy and great for those who don’t have very long attention spans. Just don’t blame me for the sugar buzz!
The basic recipe is simple:
Mix a 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk (aka Eagle Brand in the US, Leche Dulcera in Latin America) and a 14-ounce bag of flaked or shredded coconut.
Drop by teaspoons (these are very rich, don’t make them too large) onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. Baking time will vary by brand of milk — some are slightly thinner than others and will take a few more minutes to bake. When done, there will be just a few golden spots on each cookie.
Remove from the oven and let sit on the cookie sheet for just a minute to firm up a bit, then remove to a plate or cooling rack.
Now for the fun — making macaroons for a special occasion!
Use a few drops of food coloring when mixing the “dough,” and possibly add some props to the serving plate. Over the years I’ve created all sorts of scenes from just what was around the house/boat . . . and I’m not the world’s most artistic person! And the nice thing is that the whole “decorating” bit took me less than 5 minutes after the cookies were cool. Again, great for kids as an art project, maybe on a rainy day.
Some of my ideas:
- Easter (shown at top) — green food coloring to make “grass” and a few Peeps bunnies and some jelly beans scattered amongst the cookies on the plate
- 4th of July — red, white and blue cookies
- Halloween — tint orange (red and yellow food coloring), press flat and use black paper cutouts to make jack-o-lanterns
- Valentines — pink, red and white
- Groundhog Day — tint brown with cocoa power (makes a wonderful chocolate flavor) and find a plastic “groundhog” to come out of the dirt
- Any football game — color green and instead of making individual cookies, press into a solid layer on a cookie sheet and bake about 30 minutes. Use white decorator icing to mark out a football field on the “grass.”
- Any game — tint in team colors
- Christmas — red and green and maybe gold sprinkles — or toss some Hershey kisses onto the plate, too