The 5-Ingredient Ina Garten Dessert I Make Every Easter

It's perfect for Passover too!

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Sarah Crowder / Getty Images / Molly Adams</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Sarah Crowder / Getty Images / Molly Adams

Coconut macaroons—not to be confused with their fancy French cousins, macarons—are the one dessert I make every Easter. For some reason, the fluffy piles of coconut always scream spring to me.

I fell in love with macaroons as a young culinary student in New York. I’d never tried this classic confection until visiting a fancy bakery in the city, and with just one bite I was in love. How were they so impossibly light, yet decadent at the same time? I figured that such a perfect food must take years to master, and I never considered that I could make them myself.

Just a few weeks later, a client requested that I make a batch of macaroons for Passover. Whenever I'm faced with tackling a new-to-me recipe, I check to see if Ina Garten has a version. Her recipes have never failed me, so her cookbooks are the first place I look for inspiration.

Lucky for me, Ina not only has a recipe for coconut macaroons, but it's unbelievably simple. Surely I was missing a step? How could something so delicious require just five ingredients and less than 10 minutes of prep? Were the instructions missing the part where I have to meticulously boil sugar to a specific temperature while stress-sweating?

The recipe was even easier than it seemed, and my first batch of macaroons could not have been more perfect. What I love most about Ina’s recipe is that it is foolproof thanks to the fact that two of the main ingredients are sold in the exact quantity the recipe calls for. In other words, it leaves very little room for error when measuring. In fact, there's no need to measure the ingredients at all.

<p>Simply Recipes / Molly Adams</p>

Simply Recipes / Molly Adams

How To Make Ina Garten’s Coconut Macaroons

To make Ina's macaroons, add one 14-ounce bag of sweetened flaked coconut to a large bowl, drizzle one 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk over the coconut, and add a splash of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste, my preference for more flavor.

Then comes the fun part: mixing it all up! I’ve found over the years that using gloved hands is the easiest way to mix the thick sweetened condensed milk into the coconut and ensure everything is evenly distributed.

Whisking two egg whites is the trickiest part of the recipe because you need to whip them to medium-firm peaks. This means that when you pull the whisk out of the egg whites, they should form a peak that quickly curls over. If the egg whites stick straight up, you’ve gone too far. I recommend doing this step by hand with a whisk so you have more control over the process—plus you get a killer arm workout.

Once the egg whites are ready, gently fold them into the coconut mixture along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Scoop the mixture onto a parchment-lined sheet pan—a spring-loaded cookie scoop is very helpful here—and bake at 325°F for 25 to 30 minutes. The macaroons should feel dry to the touch and have a beautiful toasted coconut hue.

Easy Upgrades for Coconut Macaroons

Once the macaroons cool, you can take them in a few different directions. They're perfect just as they are, but if I’m feeling fancy, I drizzle them with a little melted chocolate. You could even use white chocolate if desired.

If I’m in a festive mood, I turn them into little bird’s nests. Right after they come out of the oven, make a well in the center with the back of a teaspoon, then let them cool. Tuck a few mini chocolate eggs into the center before serving. Or fill the nests with store-bought or homemade lemon curd.

Whether you have been baking for years or are just getting started, Ina's easy coconut macaroon recipe is one you'll make again and again. 

Get Recipe: Ina Garten's Coconut Macaroons Recipe

<p>Simply Recipes / Molly Adams</p>

Simply Recipes / Molly Adams

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