Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

coconut macaroons Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons
If you’ve been following the posts this week on Savory Sweet Life, Instagram, or my Facebook page, you probably noticed a surge in posts – particularly baking ones. One could easily come to the assumption that I’m eating way too decadently and indulging beyond what is normal. Ah….if it was only that simple.

Life is never simple, is it? We go through ups and downs and everything in between. Sometimes when we least expect it, something so big will happen that it changes our life course forever – for better or for worse.
As I mentioned earlier this week, my mom sold the house I grew up in and it closed today. But what I didn’t mention was the tsunami like waves of emotions that would hit my mother and I as if we were little people in someone’s snow globe and they were shaking it furiously.

My mom and dad came to this country with nothing and raised 6 children under the poverty line. The only thing of value they ever owned was a home in Seattle, which is the only home my mom has ever owned and lived, that is before she came to live with us after Dad died. For the last seven days my mom has been over there sitting in it alone, and I know she’s been grieving. When she walks through our front door, I always ask her whether or not she is okay. With a valiant effort to conceal her true emotions she tells me she is okay in a way that sounds to me like she’s in denial.

Growing up 2nd generation in the era I did, I essentially lived in two worlds. I lived in the ‘old country’ culture with its own set of rules and values as well as the ‘new American’ culture, which often conflicts with the former. I had to learn to balance both. Respecting and honoring your elders was a top priority (as it still is today) – even when it means submitting to an ideology you don’t agree with. I also appreciated the sacrifices my parents made in order for their children to have a better life.

I view taking care of my mother very seriously. I look after her like a mama bear cares and protects her child. I try to make her breakfast each morning along with a hot cup of coffee. I check her bedroom almost daily when the weather is cold outside to make sure she’s warm enough. I encourage her to spend time enjoying her favorite hobbies now that she has time to.  For her this means learning how to make certain types of Korean foods or cook a few recipes I have taught her.  The no-knead bread recipe on this site is her favorite.

Every time I think about my mom’s current pain I start to well up with tears. I’ll distract myself with something because I don’t like to cry. So all this week I’ve been occupying myself with baking projects as a coping mechanism. Self-therapy in the form of baking has its advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, I don’t remember pushing myself so much like I have this week. I have given much thought to the science of baking and have attempted different methods of baking. The creative-inventor part of me thinks of an idea and cannot let it go until I know if it is possible or not.
grape clippings Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons
Today I have a Coconut Macaroon recipe I am in love with. This recipe idea was inspired by my mom. Yesterday she spent one last day at the house and came home with some clippings from the grapevines that my dad planted when I was a baby. The vines now hang on about 400 feet of fence. Not knowing how to start a new plant from her clippings, I set up her with my laptop to watch YouTube videos on how to do this sort of thing because this was going to be the project she wanted to take on today.

mom grapes Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

I walked away from that our conversation as quick as I could to compose myself because I could feel a big lump in my throat and my eyes starting to water. I decided that today was a, “I’m going to comfort myself” type of day… a macaroons type of day.

So today’s baking therapy session are these macaroons. I’ve always been a coconut fanatic. As much as I love the chewy milky macaroons made with sweetened shredded coconut with condensed milk, these are not the macaroons I made.  Instead, I baked the more delicate type of macaroons made with desiccated unsweetened coconut which is dry and fragile, like I was today. As I thought about the texture, the idea for the method occurred to me. I would make a macaroon similar to the method of making the sweetened coconut version.  My only concern was the macaroon falling apart if I bit into it.

bubbling sugar syrup Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

After a few failed attempts I came up with a method of boiling water, sugar, and Asian coconut milk. By cooking these ingredients together they make a thick syrup so the desiccated coconut is held together considerably more than it would be if I had just added sugar to egg whites. Adding a little bit of coconut milk also gives it more rich coconut flavor and a beautiful bright white filling. I could have left the macaroon alone at this point but I couldn’t because that’s not how I do things. I needed to add a touch of ‘specialness’ to these beautiful mounds of coconut bliss. After I topped them off with a little drizzle of dark chocolate and a few small flecks of Fleur de Sel (sea salt) they were perfect. They had a thin crunchy coconut shell on the outside and a tender and delicate mound of sweetened coconut on the inside.

coconut macaroon recipe Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

As I contemplate everything happening right now, I take great joy in knowing my grieving process is not in vain. And at the very least, I am very happy to be able to share a delicious treat with you. Hope you enjoy these macaroons as much as Mom and I did.

dark chocolate coconut macaroon 1 Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Makes 16 pieces
A delicate and memorable coconut macaroon recipe topped off with dark chocolate and fleur de sel.
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup Asian coconut milk (full fat version)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1 egg white (approx. 3 tablespoons)
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ teaspoon Fleur de Sel
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a non-stick pan, heat the sugar, water, coconut milk, and salt on medium heat.
  3. Allow the mixture to come to a medium simmer and cook for 5 minutes. The mixture should look white and bubbly and be slightly less thick than maple syrup but more than than water.
  4. Add 1½ cups of coconut to a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the warm sugar coconut water and stir the coconut.
  5. Stir in the egg white followed by the remaining coconut until well mixed.
  6. Using a small cookie scoop, firmly pack the scoop with the coconut mixture and place on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper.
  7. Place unbaked macaroons 2 inches apart from one another.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes until the outside shell is crispy to the touch and the tips of a nice light golden brown.
  9. Remove the sheet from the oven and allow the macaroons to cool on the sheet for 30 minutes.
  10. White the macaroons are cooling, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir the chips and if needed, microwave again for 15 seconds.
  11. Drizzle the chocolate over the macaroons and top each one off with a few flecks of Fleur de Sel.
  12. Allow the macaroons to completely cool before serving.

pin it button Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons
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  1. says

    Hey Alice,
    Thanks always for sharing from the heart and in honesty about what is going on with you. My prayers are with you in this time of grieving and that in the darkness, the light becomes more profound and illumines your way. I love how you have always wrestled with the good & the bad of life and giving space to both of these things in your life without negating either…that’s your beautiful gift. Without death and mourning and darkness of Good Friday, Resurrection Sunday has no meaning & purpose.

  2. says

    Beautiful recipe and beautiful thoughts. How special it is that you can care for your mother in such a way and even more special that your mother allows you too. Life is a journey and we never know what it will bring; however I predict lots of grape jam in your future. What an exquisite gift your mother has given you.

  3. says

    for Alice’s Mother,
    We are joined by the same pain in our hearts. You and your husband were so brave coming here to usa, for what was to be a better life for your family. you deserve comfort now, especially starting another journey, and leaving yet another home behind. you have a glorious daughter, Alice, to love respect and support you here. When i saw the 2 buckets of “life” you brought to Alice’s home, now yours as well, I thought of a special tree , when i moved I was going into an apartment (for a time), and dug it up, and my son brought it to his home. ( a pretty rare pink dwarf Asian crape Myrtle). It flourished. he dug a fish pond around the base and his children enjoyed the tranquil beauty. when he moved, i brought a cutting to my new home, it is flourishing, and the momories of this tree is like my heart beating w/ love for my family and the many birds who have enjoyed it’s life giving branches, buds, and insects. Now i find myself contemplating yet hopefully my last move…and i think of this tree, how could i leave it behind…
    in the home we are looking at there is a tiny space (it’s a zero lot home)., and i am now starting to dig around the root line, so i will be able to move it to the new home, if we are fortunate enough to be able to secure this home. I need the ‘legend’ of this tree to be with me…it’s life it’s memories.
    I cried when i viewed your buckets of vine branches and what look like lilies/iris roots.
    I understand at the deepest level how you feel, and why you had the need to bring some of this life with you. Your Karma is gentle love.
    we have a thread which unites us…all these miles away.

  4. says

    Thanks so much for sharing what’s going on in your life right now. I am tearing up reading your post as I have 1st generation Korean parents who came to the US alone and with nothing (my parents actually met in chicago). . all I remember as a child was how much and how hard they worked. . and for us kids. I’m sure it’s hard but I totally envy you having your mother with you now. . my parents live in Dallas and I wish I could see them everyday. It’s just wonderful to hear how you are taking care of your mother. I’m sure she cannot express in words how she feels. That is love.

  5. Maria in NJ says

    I know you didn’t mean it but now I am crying…that is a very heartfelt post…we just sold our mom’s home too, its sooo…she looks cute, cherish her… and like you, baking takes me to a place that is far away from here..it is like my little Nirvana…

  6. says

    You’re a wonderful daughter! As painful as it is now, you can share the memories with your mother. My mother has dementia, and has probably had undiagnosed mental illness much of her life. Empathy, sharing, and caring were not something I grew up with. Motherless daughter, is one of the ways to describe. It sounds like your family is rich in love and all the qualities that matter. Great recipe, thanks.

  7. Stacey says

    My heart is breaking for you and your mother. I admire you for how well you take care of her. My grandmother came to live with us the last year of her life, and while at first it was so hard for all of us, now I look back and cherish that precious time we were blessed to have with her. Praying for her comfort and healing as she deals with selling her house.

  8. says

    What’s wrong with crying? You and your mom are losing your childhood HOME. It IS a sad time and you both need to grieve. Put your arms around your mom and cry together. It will help BOTH of you and will show your mom how much you loved your first home! My mom and dad lived in their home for 60 years and my mom, sister, and I cried our eyes out when we sold their home. Mom went into a lovely “home” setting but lasted only about 1 year. I’m sure she was still grieving for dad and THEIR home. Go ahead and cry. You will feel better letting it out. Blessings on you and your family.

  9. lydia says

    can you help decipher the many types of coconut milk? when you say Asian–do you mean canned? now that I see coconut milk in cartons and tons of recipes that call for coconut milk–I’ve found that some mean the carton milk, some mean canned.. but there is no real way to figure it out. do you have a resource or chart for help with this?
    on the other topic–your childhood home. as hard as it is to let the house go, the love and emotions are held in your heart. I hope you have taken your mother’s photo on the doorstep, with your family on the doorstep and many photos–so you will always be able to look back and say–remember the house that love built? time moved on–but love never ends. blessings to you and your family.

    • says

      Hi Lydia,
      Asian coconut milk is in a can. It can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores as well as Trader Joes. The main difference as I understand is that canned coconut milk is typically used for cooking and baking. However, the ones that have become very popular and mainstream in the cartons is mainly for drinking as an alternative dairy milk substitute. Hope that helps.

  10. says

    What a beautiful recipe. I like the idea of using coconut milk to incorporate more coconut flavour and moisture into the macaroon. Much love to you and your mom.

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