Christmas Macaroon Cookies
Many years ago, I worked in a local office supply store. The boss hired a new lady to help us out on the retail floor. I’ll be honest, this lady was kinda nuts. You never really knew what she might say or do. I was not sorry when she quit.
One day, around Christmas, she mentioned fruitcake, and I said I was not a fan. She insisted I would LOVE her fruitcake. I smiled and nodded, thinking that was the end of it.
The next day she came into work, and came up to where I was working, and when I said hello, she plopped something in my mouth, and started talking again about her fruitcake. She is really lucky I didn’t kill her, because I DO NOT like random food shoved in my mouth. Just ask Bridgette.
But there really is a silver lining to almost everything. I DID like her fruitcake, mostly because it’s not a traditional fruitcake at all. She gave me the recipe, and I’ve been making it and modifying it ever since.
It was called “Chinese Christmas Fruitcake.” I didn’t see anything remotely Chinese about it, so I dropped that from the title. It wasn’t a traditional fruitcake. The best part of it was the gooey brown outer pieces, so instead of making it in a loaf pan, I went to mini loaves, then muffins, mini muffins, and eventually to cookies. And since coconut is a big ingredient, they became Christmas Macaroon Cookies.
It’s so easy to go blindly through life, not even thinking about the difficulties other people face. My sister is allergic to sulfites. It’s a puking her guts out on the side of the road kind of thing. And they are added as a preservative to SO much processed food. Again, I don’t even think about it – the recipe calls for coconut? Wham – dump in a bag of coconut.
Every once in a while, she’ll give me a reality check. Like when she mentioned the other day that she couldn’t eat my macaroon cookies, because of the sulfites in the coconut. She also mentioned she couldn’t eat maraschino cherries. Double whammy. I’ve been sending them to her for years, and she just feeds them to her husband. Which is fine, but I want her to enjoy them, too.
So this year, I bought unsweetened organic coconut, and sweetened it myself, based on this recipe: https://www.80cakes.com/2015/12/natural-sweetened-coconut-recipe/.
It worked perfectly, although I thought it needed a touch more sugar. It calls for 4 teaspoons, I used 2 Tablespoons. It was easy, and delicious.
The cherries are proving a bit more challenging. I used this recipe: http://www.sewhistorically.com/candied-cherries-recipe-quick-easy-delicious/?unapproved=109054&moderation-hash=f6129a9e3c8993226c608ee3ac3ff28d#comment-109054
The cherries are good, although they made a ton of juice. If I make them again, I’ll probably add just 1/4 or a 1/2 cup of water. I also thought they needed more sugar, but having less water might take care of that problem.
So I have made a batch of test cookies with cherries. And also some with cranberries, because I love dried cranberries and it’s a “fruitcake”, so maybe they’ll be a decent replacement. At any rate, even if she gets cookies with everything except cherries, they are still delicious!
Update – the home sweetened coconut was easy, and worked great – I will do this from now on.
The cranberries were a nice addition to the cookies, but weren’t really a substitute for the cherries. I’ve decided to include them in my recipe.
The cherries were okay. They taste good, but they are extremely sticky. Anywhere they touched the cookie sheet, they were completely glued down. If you use them, just dot the tops of the cookies with them before baking. I also missed the color from the store bought cherries. Without them, the cookies were pretty boring looking. In the future I think I will probably end up sending Desna cookies with no cherries, and then mixing the store bought cherries into the mix for everyone else. Or maybe I’ll try adding food color to the coconut. Haha.
Christmas Macaroon Cookies
8 ounces chopped pitted dates, chopped pretty small
4 ounces candied cherries, red or green or both, OR 4 ounces home candied cherries – chopped into quarters.
4 ounces dried cranberries, optional. Or raisins, or any dried fruit would probably be good.
7 ounces sweetened coconut flakes
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 ounces toasted chopped pecans. Don’t even think about skipping the toasting part. And chop them by hand. If you use a chopper you’ll get a couple of big pieces, and a pile of pecan dust.
Preheat oven to 325.
Mix everything together.
A MUST – use non-stick aluminum foil for these things. I’ve tried parchment, sprayed my pans, you name it. Non stick aluminum works the best for these very sticky cookies. (Have you discovered non stick aluminum foil yet? It’s the best invention since sliced bread!)
Make whatever size cookie you like – I usually go without about 2 tablespoons. They don’t spread.
Bake 15-20 minutes, or until they get a good amount of gooey brown on them.
Let them cool completely before trying to remove from the foil.