This gluten free coconut macaroon recipe is an easy introduction to cooking for a gluten free diet, as no special flours are required.
If, like me, you can't resist the sweet, exotic flavour of coconut then these light, melt in the mouth treats won't last long after baking.
Preheat oven to 170oC / fan oven 150oC / 325oF / Gas Mark 3.
Prepare 2 baking pans by lining them with baking parchment (this prevents your coconut macaroons recipe from sticking to the pan)
With your egg whites in a bowl, whisk them until they form soft peaks, either by hand or using an electric whisk. The latter will be much quicker and make your arm ache less!
Sprinkle in the sugar, almond essence and cinnamon, a little at a time, and continue to whisk gently (at a lower speed if using the electric whisk) until the ingredients are all incorporated. You don't want to be too heavy handed at this stage or you will knock out the air you whisked into the mixture in the first step.
Put the whisk to one side, grab a large metal spoon, and gently fold in the coconut. To "fold" you use the edge of the spoon in a cutting motion to mix the ingredients together slowly.
Place spoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking pan. Try to make them about the size of a golf ball. Ensure the piles are separate and have a little room to spread without touching each other.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until the macaroons puff up and start to turn golden. Once cooked they should feel dry to the touch and not soggy.
Gently peel the macaroons off the parchment paper and cool on wire racks.
Store in an airtight box or container.
You might like to try the following variations on the basic gluten free coconut macaroons recipe...
Instead of using parchment paper to line the trays you can use edible rice paper. This does not need peeling off the bottom of your macaroons and will help to support them and stop them from crumbing as you eat them.
You can melt 75g dark chocolate in a bowl over hot water (or in the microwave) until runny. Then either dip the tops of the macaroons into the chocolate or drizzle it off the back of a metal spoon over them, for a decorative, indulgent finish.
You could swap out half the caster sugar for brown sugar.
You might prefer vanilla essence instead of the almond.
You could add 2 teaspoons of lemon zest (the yellow outside part without the inner white section of the peel) to your ingredients to give a citrus tang to your macaroons.
Have ready two bowls. Make sure they are spotlessly clean as any grease in with your egg whites can prevent them from whisking correctly. Once separated cover your bowl of egg whites until you are ready to use them to prevent anything dropping in.
Transferring between egg shell halves...
I use a knife to crack the centre of the egg shell, and then carefully pull the two parts of the shell apart. Hold the egg over your bowl when you do this so that the egg white can fall straight into it. To make sure you get all it, tip the yolk gently from one half of the shell to the other a couple of times. You will end up with the yolk in one half of the shell and the white in the bowl.
Using a separator...
If you are nervous about the method above, you can break the eggs into an egg white separator. This can be quicker, but makes more washing up.
Using your hand...
If you don't have bowls or the separator, and don't mind getting messy, you can crack the shell and then tip the contents of the egg into your closed hand. Gently spread your fingers, letting the white slide through into the bowl while holding the yolk in your hand.