Friday, April 22, 2011

Coconut Macaroon Brownies

I'm back from Istanbul, and fighting some mean jet lag, but before I show you a peek at the sights we saw, I wanted to share with you one of the most delicious things I made before we left.

I have always been a huge fan of coconut and chocolate together and this recipe for Coconut-Macaroon Brownies caught my eye immediately as I was reading Alice Medrich's Bittersweet.

You can use any favorite brownie recipe as the base, even a boxed mixed if you are so inclined, but I would recommend the easy brownie recipe from Alice's book which I have provided below. If you can find a high quality unsweetened chocolate, such as Callebaut, I would recommend that too. {Note: I buy all types of Callebaut chocolate at either Whole Foods or our local Market District in one-pound blocks.}

A small piece will satisfy you, as the brownie base is rich and the coconut top is sweet, but the combination is heavenly!

Fortunately, these keep quite well for several days in an airtight container at room temperature, so if you can resist eating the entire pan on day one, you can treat yourself with a little morsel of goodness all week long. I imagine these would freeze wonderfully as well.

Classic Unsweetened-Chocolate Brownies
from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich
Makes 16 brownies

Note: This is Alice's basic recipe for brownies, which calls for an 8-inch pan. If you are using this recipe for the coconut-topped brownies (recipe below), use a 9-inch pan and reduce the sugar by 2 tablespoons, and reduce the oven temperature to 350, as noted in the coconut brownie instructions.

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons (1 stick or 1/4 pound) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional - I omitted)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on at least 2 opposite sides.

Place the chocolate and butter in a medium to large heat-proof bowl (big enough that you are able to add all of the ingredients to this bowl) over a pan of simmering water (a double boiler). Stir frequently until the chocolate and butter are melted and the mixture is hot to the touch.

Remove the bowl from the double boiler and stir in the sugar, vanilla, and salt with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring until the first one is incorporated before adding the next. Stir in the flour and beat until the batter is smooth and glossy, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the nuts if using. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth to even it.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the brownies just begin to pull away from the side of the pan. The surface will look dry, but a toothpick inserted in the center will come out quite gooey. While the brownies are baking, prepare an ice bath with about 3/4 inch of water in a roasting pan large enough to fit the brownie pan inside.

When the brownies are ready, remove the pan from the oven and immediately set it in the ice bath. Let the brownies cool. Remove the pan from the ice bath and lift the brownies out of the pan using the overhang of parchment to help lift them out and place the brownies on a cutting board. Cut into squares.

Coconut Macaroon Brownies
(called Lacy Coconut-Topped Brownies in the book)
from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich

Note: This is the recipe as written in the book, however, I had only finely shredded unsweetened coconut on hand so I used that and increased the sugar by a tablespoon or two. If you use sweetened coconut, your brownies will probably look even better than the brownies in the photos above.

1 recipe brownie batter, {recipe above}, made with 2 tablespoons less sugar
1 large egg white
1 cup (3 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Spread the brownie batter in the lined pan and set aside.

Combine the egg white, coconut, sugar, salt and vanilla in a medium stainless steel bowl, and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. (Or you may place the mixture in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over very low heat and keep an eye on it so it does not burn.) Stir the mixture, scraping the bottom to prevent burning, until it is very hot to the touch and the egg whites have thickened slightly and turned opaque, about 3-4 minutes.

Use your fingers to drop lacy clumps of coconut topping over the brownie batter. Bake until the brownies puff at the edges and the shreds of coconut look deep golden brown and crusty, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 25 squares.


  1. Wow!!! My favorite candy bar is Almond Joy, so I know I will love these.

    Thanks so much for sharing this decadent beauty

    janet xox

  2. These are SO good! Thanks for the recipie. I know my kids will want to make these too. We really don't use cookbooks anymore around here. They're all packed away, and it's just so much more convenient to just search your blog for all of the "really good stuff"!

  3. I'm feeling the got my mental message that I wanted you to post this for me :) I don't really use a cookbook anymore either....because all of my favorite stuff is on your blog :)

  4. Your brownies remind me of yummy Mounds bars. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link your brownies up.

  5. Those look so rich and wonderful. Cannot wait to make them.

  6. I think I just cried a bit. Coconut is my most favorite thing ever...and paired with a brownie?? You're my hero! :)



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