These coconut macaroons are suitable for Passover: We hope

Passover is to the Jews what Lent is to Catholics: a time of ritual, of family, a time of faith.

And a time when you have to stop eating some of your favorite foods.

For Catholics, it’s no meat on Fridays. Not so bad, really. Adults usually enjoy fish, anything from broiled salmon to Tuna Wiggle. Kids can always get by on pizza, or mac and cheese. For the more imaginative, a cheese soufflé, spinach lasagna, or Thai stir-fry are options.

But for the Jews, the eschewed foods are flour and leavening. Which means baking, as we know it, is pretty much out the window.

Sure, there are all the matzoh-based dishes, where crushed crackers step in for flour. (Matzoh-meal chocolate chip cookies, anyone? Recipes exist…) Still, for 7 days you won’t be enjoying challah, layer cakes, muffins, or all manner of other traditional baked goods.

Which is where chocolate comes in. Chocolate, in all of its luscious incarnations, is the balm that soothes even the most Passover-challenged palate.

Last year at this time we shared a recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cake, suitable for Passover. And hoo-boy, clueless Catholic girl that I am, did I ever have a lot to learn about the intricacies of both Passover and keeping kosher.

Thanks to you, loyal readers, I learned that confectioners’ sugar isn’t suitable for Passover, at least in some branches of Judaism. And that butter in cake makes it unsuitable as a finale to any dinner containing meat or fowl. And then there was something about the vanilla, too—alcohol is taboo?

Anyway, I’m taking a stab at Passover baking again this year. Halley, our e-commerce manager, told me that coconut macaroons might be a safe bet. Coconut, coconut flavor (alcohol-free), coconut milk (not dairy, OK for meat/fowl meals; sweetened, but not with confectioners’ sugar), and chocolate for dipping. Chocolate melted with light corn syrup…

Or, let’s make that honey…

…and butter…

Uh-oh, how about if we make that margarine?

See? I’m learning.

Read along with our recipe for Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons as you look at these pictures.

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I decided to start with a known entity: Manischewitz. My local supermarket currently has a whole range of Manischewitz offerings on display, including these chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons. They gave me a starting point, to try to match size, and texture of the filling.

Most of the coconut macaroon recipes I found were nothing more than shredded coconut, and sweetened condensed milk (milk and meat? Hmmm…) But to my taste, they made a VERY sweet macaroon, one where sugar, not coconut, was the overwhelming flavor. So I decided to raid the King Arthur pantry:

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You can make coconut macaroons. And then you can make COCONUT macaroons. Here are three ingredients you might want to try: extra-strong coconut flavor, coconut milk powder, and unsweetened coconut.

Coconut flavor is the coconut equivalent of vanilla extract, only much stronger. Just 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon in your treats gives them wonderful coconut flavor. Coconut milk powder is simply dried coconut milk. Add it to cookies, cake, muffins, sweet bread, etc. Or reconstitute with water to make liquid coconut milk; saves having to buy a whole can when you only need 1/4 cup.

Finally, unsweetened coconut is nice in this particular recipe. To my taste, regular sweetened coconut makes macaroons cloyingly sweet.

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And here’s another ingredient perfect for this recipe: cream of coconut, which you can find in the mixed drinks section of your supermarket. You know how most macaroon recipes call for sweetened condensed milk? This is condensed sweetened coconut milk.

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Looks like, acts, and weighs the same as sweetened condensed milk.

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So, talk about simple. Combine coconut, cream of coconut, salt, and coconut flavor.

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Mix thoroughly.

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Add coconut milk powder, if desired. I found that it helps hold the mixture together, making it easier to scoop. Do you absolutely have to use it? No. But it’ll make a smoother macaroon. And if you like coconut, I promise you’ll find lots of other uses for it, including this wonderful Pepperidge Farm-style Coconut Cake.

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Stir till the coconut milk powder is thoroughly dispersed throughout the mixture.

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Now, grab your tablespoon cookie scoop, and scoop out level balls of the mixture. You’re making fairly large macaroons here; they’re about as big as a ping pong ball.

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Plop them onto two parchment-lined (or well greased) baking sheets. These first ones I was scooping didn’t include the coconut milk powder; notice how they’re pretty shaggy. The milk powder helps hold them together.

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Here we are, scooped and ready to bake.

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Place in a 350°F oven.

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Bake for about 10 minutes. They might be JUST barely beginning to brown. But for chewy-gooey macaroons (which I was informed is the RIGHT texture for coconut macaroons), don’t overbake.

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Wait till the macaroons are cool, then make the chocolate coating. Combine chocolate chips, butter or margarine, and light corn syrup (or honey, for Passover) in a microwave-safe bowl.

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Microwave till the chips are soft, then stir till smooth.

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Working quickly, dip half of each macaroon in the chocolate.

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Like this.

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Or coat the entire top surface by submerging the macaroon in the chocolate upside-down. Don’t cover the base; it’s not necessary.

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And how do you get it out again? With a toothpick or cake tester. Just stab it…

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…and haul it out.

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Place the macaroons back on the parchment so the chocolate can set.

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Serve to coconut lovers. And/or those seeking a Passover-friendly dessert.

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons.

Buy vs. Bake

Buy: Manischewitz Dark Chocolate Covered Macaroons, $6.39/eight 1-ounce macaroons; 80¢/ounce

Bake at home: Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons, 32¢/ounce

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Josh

    Wow, I think your macaroons look way better than the Manischewitz ones. I just wanted to point out that people have layer-cakes on Passover regularly, even in strict households. It’s amazing what one can do with potato starch now-a-days :-)

    Reply
  2. Hanne

    Hooray for non-dairy baked goods! Kashrut isn’t really my issue so much… but I’m allergic to casein, and finding non-dairy baking recipes on my favorite baking blog makes my day. Thanks!

    Reply
  3. jami

    I don’t have any coconut milk powder on hand and won’t have time for much extra shopping… do you think nonfat dry milk powder would do the same basic thing to bind it together nicely?

    Don’t know, Jami – I think I’d try maybe 3 tablespoons and see? PJH

    Reply
  4. Julian

    I am definitely going to try these this year. FYI, the meat vs dairy thing isn’t that big of a deal with respect to baked goods…they can’t be mixed or eaten one right after the other. That isn’t to say that on Passover one can’t have any products made with dairy or that all meals during Passover contain meat. Remember that Passover, and its dietary restrictions, lasts for 7 days. It is perfectly fine…if not necessary…to have snacks around to munch between meals or after a dairy meal.
    Two things to watch out for in this recipe for the strictly Orthodox Jewish folks:
    – your coconut milk powder contains actual milk solids, probably should omit it for a “parve” recipe (“parve” = “neutral”, neither milk nor dairy)
    – double-check the chocolate chips…they might have some questionable ingredients in them.

    If you are still into experimenting for this year, most Passover cakes nowadays are made using matzah cake meal (which is matzah ground very thing to a flour-like consistency) and potato starch/flour. The proper combination of these ingredients along with egg whites (or chemical levening depending on the stream of Judaism) make for pretty believable “normal” cakes. :-)

    Thanks for the “continuing education,” Julian! PJH

    Reply
  5. Maria

    Wow! These look great! Now how about some love for the Greek Orthodox Christians? Vegan Lenten treats? C’mon!

    Maria, how about these coconut macaroons without the coconut milk powder and using margarine instead of butter? PJH

    Reply
  6. Mike T.

    Mmm, I love fresh macaroons! I usually get some from my local megamart (as someone is found of calling them) just after they’ve been baked… But this is even better!

    On the topic of dried coconut milk, I’ve reconstituted it and used the coconut milk in several baked goods to add a hint of coconut in the recipe, without adding the actual coconut. I have a SIL and a friend that can’t stand the texture of the shredded coconut, but don’t mind the flavor.

    I’ll be making these either tomorrow or Wednesday for the Sedar Wednesday night!

    Oh, and PJ, FYI, during the sedar you go thru LOTS of wine, so yes, alcohol is very much permitted! ;-)

    Well, gosh, what was it with vanilla last year then, that someone told me it wasn’t permitted? Hmmm… I get more and more confused. Lucky for me Passover only comes once a year! PJH

    Reply
  7. Mary

    Be careful when buying cream of coconut. Some brands use corn syrup instead of sugar and would not be suitable for kosher Passover.

    Reply
  8. Mike T.

    Lucky for us too! ;-)

    Question, someone just introduced me to Agave Nectar. It is like honey, only not a viscous. Thoughts on using it in the chocolate?

    And don’t even ask about it being KfP, I have no idea…

    I’ve heard more and more people are using agave. You could probably substitute – or just use more cream, it would probably work just as well… PJH

    Reply
  9. nona

    hi, regarding the confectioner’s sugar – some avoid corn and cornstarch on passover. But everyone can use confectioner’s sugar. You can buy Passover versions that use potato starch in place of cornstarch (it works fine) or else you can make your own. take one cup sugar less one tablespoon, replace that tablespoon with one tablespoon potato starch, put the mixture in food processor or blender and whiz and you get a replacement for confectioner’s sugar. (If you can buy it kosher for passover, the companies do pretty much the same thing, but the texture is probably a little better and closer to confectioner’s sugar than what you can get on a home machine. But you can make homemade confectioner’s sugar all year….

    Reply
  10. Josh

    Alcohol is fine on Passover, the only issue is the source of the alcohol. Any grains (wheat, oats, barley, spelt, or rye) that aren’t prepared properly are usually avoided, with the exception of matzo and its derivatives(example: matzo meal). Specifically, grain alcohol is avoided on Passover. So wine is fine, and potato or plum vodka may also be used. I have a feeling this was the source of the vanilla issue last time. Thanks again for the detailed recipe!

    Reply
  11. Kathleen

    These look delicious, what did the “tasters” think of them?
    Kathleen

    The Web team thought they were just right. They commented on their moistness. PJH

    Reply
  12. Jesurgislac

    Since one of my co-workers came out as coeliac, I’ve been having a lot of fun making non-wheat/gluten-free cupcakes and scones – a few rather flat disasters, but on the whole, it all works.

    I suppose these would be good for Passover, too – multipurpose baking!

    (I don’t use corn syrup.)

    Reply
  13. janet

    I’m one of the King Arthur “webbies” and had the wonderful job of tasting each round of PJ’s macaroons as she pursued the perfect macaroon. These are as near perfect as any I’ve ever had – not overly sweet, just the right texture and then the chocolate -well that simply put them over the top. And, so easy to make. My husband is Jewish and we will have these along with the almond cloud cookies in the cookie tin for the next week.

    Reply
  14. MsDrPepper

    Wow, saw the email and panicked because I was thinking about making a different macaroon for Passover, and all I could see (at first) was the bit about the cocoanut mixes, and I was thinking “wow, look good, but not enough time to ship these out before Passover THIS year!” (well, I suppose 2 day air but I’m not gonna mess with THAT!). Then at the bottom I saw the link to the recipe and whew! Was relieved. We aren’t specifically Jewish, more of a Messianic Christian thing but we still observe Passover – with some differences. And so I have made Coconut Macaroons in the past, but I’m like you mentioned – the sweetened condensed milk is too sweet. These days I’m avoiding high fructose corn syrup and incorporating more coconut so I think I’m good to go here, except the cream of coconut from the Mixers department at the grocery store. SO I’m outta here to get some shopping done!! Thanks! I’ll let you know how it turns out. Oh and the 33 servings?? pfffth I’ll be lucky if I get out of the kitchen with 30 or 25. I better get some extra ingredients to make enough for 60 or 70 (everyone at the dinner will want to try one).

    Oh and I’ve been using the Xocai healthy chocolate so I’m gonna try it instead of chocolate chips. 1 1/2 cups is 1 1/2 cups whether they were squares or chips before being melted. Xocai is certified kosher and certified gluten-free so I should be good to go!!

    Reply
  15. Lorraine

    Has anyone ever tried adding a drop or two of mint flavoring or almond flavoring to the macaroons? Or, to the chocolate?
    I like the idea of adding the flavoring to either the macaroons or chocolate! A nice quick hint to give a different flavor. Joan@bakershotline

    Reply
  16. Denise in Kent, WA

    Thanks for a wonderful recipe! It looks delicious. Although I won’t be making them for Easter, I will definitely be ordering the coconut milk powder for future use. These macaroons and your Coconut Cake are high on my “must try” list. :)

    Reply
  17. Elizabeth

    PJ, is coconut powder and coconut flour interchangeable?

    Also can I place a dark chocolate disk on top of the warm macaroons instead of dipping into chocolate frosting? or maybe two disks?

    Our coconut milk powder is not the same as coconut flour. And yes that is a great idea to use disks as soon as they come out of the oven. If they do not seem to melt quickly you may pop them back in the oven for a minute or two. Joan@bakershotline

    Elizabeth, not sure how well the disks will melt if you wait till the macaroons come out of the oven. As Joan said, you might want to apply them the last couple of minutes of baking. If you can balance them atop those round macaroons, that is! Give it a try- PJH

    Reply
  18. Patricia Anane-Sefah

    The chocolate chips in the recipie are not Kosher for Passover. I know this not because I am Jewish but because my daughter in law is very allergic to SOY and she loves chocolate. About the only time I can find chocolate to buy her is at Passover. I look for chocolate marked Kosher for Passover which cannot contain soy. There is a site choclat.com where I buy the chocolate chips, but they only make them at Passover.

    Reply
  19. Bridget

    Well, I know nothing about what is Kosher and what isn’t as a Catholic girl, but looking at the picture of those cookies is making me drool! They look incredible!

    Reply
  20. Kimberly D

    If you didn’t want to dip them in chocolate could you toast the coconut before making them into cookies? Or how do you get that toasted look? I like them plain. And I too always bought them made from a store bakery but would love to make them…….which I will as soon as I get most of the ingredients.

    Sure, try making them with toasted coconut. You can also bake them longer to toast them as they bake, but then they’re a lot drier… they lose that ooey-gooeyness. PJH

    Reply
  21. Lisa Davis

    The picture of the macaroons looks great!! Can’t wait to try the recipe! What about a recipe for the macaroon bar cookies in the picture that look like they have a chocolate base?

    Not sure what picture you’re talking about, Lisa, but maybe you’re seeing brownies with macaroon topping? That’s one of the things we suggest with our macaroon mix. Take a look. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  22. Mike T.

    Okay, I took 1 ounce of Coconut Rum and soaked the coconut for a day with it. Didn’t make it overly wet, but it did infuse the rum flavor… I removed about the same amount of liquid from the Cream of Coconut (fortunately the Coco Lopez separated in the can and I could do that easily enough). Taste great, tho I haven’t done the chocolate as yet. I did notice that since they were wetter, I wound up leaving them in the oven for a total of about 25 minutes before I removed them.

    Mine were a little difficult to work with, even after they cooled (due to the extra moisture perhaps?), so I refrigerated them. I’ll pull them out in a bit, dip the bottoms in chocolate and bring them back to room temp… Something unexpected for after dinner tonight!

    Reply
  23. Sharon

    This recipe is great, but the ingredients needed are not labled Kosher for Passover. And one of the posters, who said that mixing meat and dairy is not a big deal, may be correct for his home, but he is wrong about other people’s standards of kashrut.

    Not to be picky – but there are tons of kosher for passover cookbooks out there. Why not consult those before completely faking it?

    And, whilst in this mood, I should point out that flourless nut tortes are great cakes to try for Passover.

    Reply
  24. Marcia

    I love coconut and years ago had a recipe that called for walnuts in the macaroons.

    All I had was black walnuts–used them and never went back to English walnuts. I’ve also had coconut macaroons with chocolate mini chips and they were delicious.

    Reply
  25. msdrpepper

    waaah I just sent a twitpick to @kingarthurflour on twitter – my macaroonies all melted away….tastes absolutely yummy. I had just unwrapped chocolate but not melted it yet, when I heard the coconute macs “talking” rather loudly in the oven, almost as if they were starting to burn. Well, it hadn’t been a full 10 minutes yet but already it was dripping over the pan (I shouldda used the jellyroll pan, I know, it has nice sides and I’d just end up with a nice coconut puddle in the pan).

    So the ones that spilled off the cookie sheet onto bottom of freshly cleaned oven bottom were the ones that were getting richly carmaelized, like toasted marshmellows. Yummy. I guess I should be bawling but oh well, it’s Passover. Gotta figure out a Plan B. Meanwhile, I’ll have some nice Coconut Peels maybe??

    I had 5 cups of coconut unsweetened but I didn’t just pack them in the 5 cups and actually had some going over the 5 cups, but wonder if I should have had more and really packed the coconut flakes into the cups as I was measuring it out.

    The other thing is what I had for “coconut milk powder” was some “coconut cream powder” that I got from the Asian market few months back – it was more than the 1/3 cup recipe calls for, so I ended up using the entire package because the mixture still looked very gooky. I also had the same Coco Casa “Cream of Coconut” brand of sweetened condensed coconut milk, 16 oz can, had no problem buying it this morning at the grocery store… so not really sure what made it so much wetter that it wouldn’t stay in balls (they didn’t look anything like the dryer ping pong balls that yours looks like).

    So my guess is the powder stuff wasn’t quite the right kind of coconut milk powder and maybe I shouldda used the Sanalac evaporated milk powder that we also had on hand (thicker stuff maybe) and/or more of the coconut flakes???

    Hmmm

    I’d up load the photo here but maybe ya’ll can find it on twitter and look at it and have a good laugh. But I still get to eat the yummy carmalized gooey mess. Maybe drizzle the melted chocolate and scoop up arbitrary amounts and make little homemade coconut chocolate rollup thingys??

    Ummmm huffing that yummy coconut smell…too bad this isn’t scratch-n-sniff over the internet yet….

    whatever shall I do? Time to hit the recipe book and fast, because the kid comes home in about an hour and I still have things to do before dinner.

    Well, gosh, thanks for the great description! Sorry ’bout that… Did you use a 16-ounce bag of coconut (or two 8-ounce bags)? That’s the best way to measure, by weight. Sounds to me like you simply didn’t have enough coconut to hold it all together… Anyway, happy holidays! PJH

    Reply
  26. msdrpepper

    Well..seems like I might have salvaged them using an unleavened brownie recipe. Now they are “coconut macaroon disaster brownies” – taste yummy!

    Reply
  27. fleegal

    In response to Kimberly D on browning the macaroons, in my house we have to bake two different set. Some like the lightly browned version, which keeps it soft and chewy. I like it medium browned, which gives a crispy-like, chewy texture. Love these cookies!

    Reply
  28. Sue

    I tried these, but, unfortunately I ended up throwing them out. For some reason, the liquid came out of the cookie while baking and they never got firm once they were out of the oven. I did use sweetened coconut; I could not find unsweetened. I would love to try this recipe again; however, I don’t know what I could do differently. Do you have any suggestions?

    Hmmm…. I’ve never heard of this happening. Yes, probably unsweetened would be better. And maybe the coconut you used was cut in too big flakes, so they simply didn’t bind together well? You could try adding a couple of tablespoons of flour, for insurance, if you don’t use the coconut milk powder. I’m guessing a lot of little things contributed to what happened; but bottom line, it sounds like the liquid and coconut just never got together very well. Sorry it didn’t work for you- PJH

    Reply
  29. Jen

    Maria: try vegetable oil instead of butter for the choco and it should probably work for your Greek Orthodox Easter.

    Oh, that picture of the Manischewitz is straight out of my childhood! I miss them so much! I’m going to try this recipe today!

    Reply
  30. Nel

    Hi,

    I want to make these with a coconut-loving friend for her and her gluten-intolerant husband, but I have a couple of questions.

    First, in Europe, where I am, I can only find dry unsweetened coconut, unless I want to buy a coconut (probably none to fresh). Is dry coconut what you are talking about when you say ‘unsweetened’? As far as I remember from growing up in the states, coconut came in a can and was sweet and moist. What’s unsweetened coconut like over there?

    The other question has to do with coconut cream. I can buy it in my supermarket’s exotic goods section, but it doesn’t show any kind of sugar as an ingredient. It just says ‘coconut cream.’ Does your coconut cream have sugar added? If so, what would I do to make my plain, no-sugar-added coconut cream into something like what you used? Add powdered sugar? How much?

    Any help would be appreciated. I e-mailed the link to my friend and said, ‘Let’s make these!’ before I checked the ingredients in the store, and now I’m not sure it will work for us. :( We’re willing to experiment, though, even if it means a gooey, chocolate-and-coconut mess. :)

    Hi Nel – Our dry unsweetened coconut is pourable – it’s not sticky, like sweetened. Probably the same as what you have there. As for cream of coconut, I’d stir in confectioners’ sugar till it tastes very sweet. Really wouldn’t know how much… you’ll have to experiment, I’d say. Have fun – hope they turn out well for you. PJH

    Reply
  31. calli

    Re Nel’s question about dried coconut; having moved to Europe all I can find is dry unsweetened dessicated coconut, which resembles grated coconut rather than the flakier US dry coconut. I’ve substituted it on a weight basis in baking, regardless of whether the recipe required sweetened or unsweetened, with no ill effects taste-wise IMO, although texture may be different. Someone else might want to up the sweetener.

    Reply
  32. Esther Shacham

    Dear PJH.
    Coconut cream or Cream of coconut? They are not the same.
    The recipe calls for coconut cream. The blog shows cream of coconut.
    I bought all the ingredients from King Arthur, except for the cream. I could not find it anywhere in my area, so I started to research on line. If you Google “coconut cream” you will get Amazon, and it offers both Coconut cream and cream of coconut.
    Cook’s Country Jul 2009 page 3. “Ask Cook’s Country” writes:
    “Coconut cream is a concentrated version of coconut milk. 4 parts of shredded coconut and one part liquid.
    Cream of coconut is coconut milk that is emulsified and sweetened. Thick syrupe and intensely sweet. It is often used in baking”
    So what is it Coconut Cream, or Cream of coconut?

    Well, who knew, Esther? Apparently not I! It would be cream of coconut – it’s like sweetened condensed milk. PJH

    Reply
  33. Megan

    These were super easy! I liked the texture of them, not as dry and cakey as most macaroon recipes. I mistakenly missed the direction to use UNSWEETENED coconut. I didn’t even think and just picked up the first bag of coconut I came across. They were way too sweet, but I can’t wait to try it correctly, because otherwise they were great.

    Reply
  34. Ginny Girl

    Hi
    I am struggling to make the perfect macaroon! I’ve tried three recipes and they all fall apart before I can get them dipped in choclatel Helip!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hello Ginny, I would strongly suggest to give our Baker’s Hotline a call. We can help troubleshoot your macaroon problems a little better over the phone! Jon@KAF 855 371 2253

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