Pineapple-Coconut Macaroons

pineapple-coconut macaroons

By now, just about everyone is familiar with Parisian macarons, those little almond meringue sandwiches pressed together with a creamy filling, which are now available far and wide. But if you go to neighborhood bakeries in Paris, you’ll find another kind of “macaroon” – Rochers à la noix de coco, which, because the French are fond of abbreviations, is often shortened to rochers coco.

They’re a similar take on American-style coconut macaroons, which are said to have gotten their moniker when almonds (which are the base for traditional Italian and French macarons) were hard to find at one time, so coconut was substituted in their place.

pineapple-coconut macaroons pineapple-coconut macaroons

“Coconut Rocks” can take any number of forms and sizes, and I don’t usually order them because I like to make my own. That urge also prompts me to make a trip to a Sri Lankan or Indian market up by La Chapelle, which are always a treat to visit since I stroll the aisles for what seems like hours and hours, picking up all the colorful bags of baking ingredients, sniffing the unusual spices, and wondering what the heck one does with all those strange-looking, marvelous roots, leaves, and vegetables. I always leave with a few kinds of jaggery (sticky brown sugar), a bag of vegetables that I have no idea what the heck I’m going to do with (because I can’t help buying something because it looks really cool), and a big sack of snowy white unsweetened dried coconut.

pineapple-coconut macaroons

While I was at one of my favorite stores (VT, 11-15 rue de Cail, 10th) doing some shopping, I also picked up a can of pineapple. I don’t regularly buy canned fruit, but it works very well for these cookies and is a lot easier than peeling and trimming a fresh pineapple. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of fresh produce. But since we’re cooking it down to a paste, I’m okay with using the tinned stuff. If you can only find pineapple in rings or chunks, pulse it a few times in the food processor, or hand chop it, until it’s in smallish chunks.

pineapple-coconut macaroons

Once baked, the nicely browned cookies will have a delightfully crackly crust. But the inside remains soft and slightly sweet, thanks to the bits of caramelized pineapple tucked inside. So be sure to cook them so they are entirely browned all the way up the sides.

pineapple-coconut macaroons

Pineapple-Coconut Macaroons
About 35 cookies


I prefer to use unsweetened pineapple packed in its own juice, but if you can only find pineapple packed in light syrup, reduce the amount of sugar to 3/4 cup (150 g) for caramelizing the pineapple. If you want to use fresh pineapple, you’ll need 1 1/4 cups of caramelized crushed pineapple paste.


  • One 20 ounce (about 600 g) can crushed unsweetened pineapple
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 1/2 cups (245 g) dried unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Put the pineapple in a wide skillet (preferable nonstick) with the sugar and a pinch of salt.

2. Cook the pineapple until the liquid is evaporated, then continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the pineapple gets thick and sticky, and just begins to brown. Remove from heat and scrape the caramelized pineapple into a large bowl. Then mix in the coconut into the pineapple, then the egg whites and vanilla.

(The mixture may be rather difficult to mix with a spatula. You can mix it with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or use your clean hands.)

3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

4. Use your hands to gather a bit of the batter, about the size of an unshelled walnut, and form it into a round or a pyramid-like shape, onto the prepared baking sheet. Continue forming all the cookies then bake them for about 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheet midway during baking. The cookies are done when they are nicely browned up the sides.


Storage: These cookies are best served the day they’re made, since over time, they’ll lose their slightly crunchy crusts. You can store the batter up to five days in the refrigerator and bake them off as desired.

Notes: Unsweetened coconut is available in shops that specialize in ethnic ingredients and in natural food stores. It’s also available online at Bob’s Red Mill, King Arthur, and Amazon.

I’ve not tried this recipe using sweetened coconut flakes since it often contains additives and preservatives. So do try to seek out unsweetened shredded coconut, which is sometimes called dessicated coconut.

Eagle-eyed readers will note that I baked these on foil, since I was using a kitchen that wasn’t mine. You can use it as well, although I prefer parchment paper.


Related Recipes

Lamingtons

German Chocolate Cupcakes

Quick Coconut Ice Cream with Saffron

French Chocolate Macarons

Chocolate-Covered Coconut Macaroons

62 comments

  • I’m a huge fan of coconut macaroons and I enjoy making them as well. This twist with the pineapple sounds really good.

  • I’m so glad coconut macaroons haven’t been completely forgotten amidst the macaron craze – they may be less fussy to make but that doesn’t mean they are any less tasty – thanks for sharing this recipe, the pineapple sounds like the perfect flavor pairing with the coconut.

  • I always laugh when I see them in the store called ‘tetes de negre’- so UN-PC!

    Ever thought about adding rum to the pineapple? Keller’s recipe for pineapple upside-down cake calls for it, and it’s a lovely addition. Maybe it could work here? (Pina Colada macaroons)…

  • I love making coconut macaroons, in some ways I think they are far superior to their macaron cousins. I love the combination of the crunchy coconut with the syrupy pineapple too.

  • When I make these macaroons for dessert (usually after a spicy Asian meal) I serve them with super thin pineapple and mango slices. I will have to try this next time.

  • Does this mean your kitchen is done?!?!? If so, we would love to see pictures.

  • This is an awesome variation of the coconut macaroons!

    I’m definitely making them before I fly to San Francisco in June…or save a couple for my flight over since we all know how abominable airplane food is. :)

  • So David – since you seem to be cooking a lot now, does that mean that you are finally in your new home? Details, man – we can’t wait to see you settled in!

  • Oooh! I almost always throw a handful of chopped tart dried cherries into my coconut macaroons, but next time I’ll definitely try this! With a little cardamom for good measure too :)

  • My grandpa, the one with the world’s biggest sweet tooth, would’ve loved these. He loved macaroons and pineapple-upside down cake.

  • These look delish! I am obsessed with your chocolate coconut macaroons. This recipe comes at a perfect time, in the middle of Passover!!

  • Wonderful idea to put pineapple in the center! I’ve been squishing coconut macaroon mixture around chocolate almond kisses (maybe I shouldn’t admit that). Your comment of shopping ethnic markets makes me think I should try these with Pandan flavoring, it’s vanilla-ish and used with coconut in Asian Pacific areas. I’ll make these this weekend!

    ‘Tetes de nigre’ reminded me of the renaming of Middle Eastern candies ‘moor’s heads/ras el abid’ now called ‘tarbouche’.

  • I second Cheryl’s idea of rum. Recently I made a colomba di pasqua with candied pineapple that I soaked in coconut rum for a few days. It made it taste phenomenal.

  • These look great, David! And just in time for the last couple days of Passover! Do you have a recommendation for a way to substitute the pineapple? I am allergic to it.

    • You could try another fruit pureée that’s strongly flavored – I gave a quantity in the recipe headnote although since pineapple is naturally sweet, depending on what fruit you choose, you might want to sweeten it a bit.

  • I’ve been on a biscotti baking kick lately and just made a batch that had coconut and dried pineapple in it. I went rogue and added dried mango as well since the color looked pretty and the taste was so mango-ey. They’re the pina colada biscotti from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion book and they were a hit. I really like the addition of pineapple to this recipe. Great flavor combination!

  • Should the egg whites be beaten before adding?

    Many thanks,
    M.

  • Do you have to shape these into a cone, or can you do just a regular scoop of the mixture for baking? I love coconut macaroons. I am also wondering if you have to beat the egg whites before adding?

  • This sounds delicious and I love pineapple, will certainly give these a try. Thanks, Diane

  • A bit burnt, aren’t they…

  • Hillary: You can certainly shape them into rounds, and the egg whites just get stirred in, as it.

    Petra: No, they’re not. They’re supposed to be like that. If you underbake them, they won’t be crispy on the outside. But if you make them, you can certainly bake them less.

  • Thanks for this recipe! Pineapples are available all-year round here and I would like to make the most of them!

  • I love macaroons but these look sensational. I have to make these!

  • David, thank you so much. This is a marvelous recipe for those of us who are lactose
    Intolerant and thus can rarely enjoy desserts. I am on my way out the door to purchase the ingredients.

  • So glad macaroons are getting their due :-). I’ve tried a couple of local macarons and they have been teeth achingly sweet – both the merengue and the filling. Is that the standard?

  • Reminds me way back in the day when you could buy little bags of shards of fresh coconut on the streets of Paris.
    Thems was the days…

  • Without the pineapple, this is already one of my favourite recipes…..with the pineapple, I can only imagine…..(and thats me with the missing sweet tooth!)

  • Thank you for the response! I will have to give these a try. We are planning our first trip to Paris in May and have enjoyed your blog and restaurant recommendations.

  • When I was little, I was fond of the Maneshevitz tins of macaroons this time of year…. no so much anymore, though.

    This recipe looks delightful, and I have a container of unsweetened coconut just calling my name in the pantry!

    And I know how you must be feeling being out of your kitchen. When I am on vacation, I have baking withdrawal…

  • Making these today! Nothing is better than pineapple and coconut together and these are sort of like volcano macaroons, such fun! Thanks again for sharing, they look sensational!

  • I made a pineapple coconut chess pie for Easter this year and the recipe for the filling is very similar to your cookie! It uses the whole eggs though, and only a cup of the coconut. I’d always thought that with a few adjustments it would make a great cookie. Thanks for the push!

  • These look great, though the chocolate coated ones will be hard to beat. I’m wondering if these might be ok for diabetics as I’ve heard that flour can be a problem. I’ve been asked to make a cake that a diabetic friend can eat and don’t know where to start :-(

  • I had no idea that macaroons were that closely related to macarons! I have always sort of looked sideways at macaroons (a childhood steeped in poor quality ones didn’t help), but this gives me a whole new appreciation for them. Love it!

    Nicole

  • Wow! I’ve never seen macaroons with pineapple in them. We buy canned pineapple to use in marinades for meat and I always have unsweetened coconut around: this is a good way to use it because of the sweetness from the caramelized pineapple. Have you tried these with brown sugar (since you mentioned jaggery)?

  • I always though too much was made by Ibsen scholars of Nora being ‘infantilized’ by her love of the surreptitious macaroon in ‘The Dolls House’; it’s a perfectly respectable adult passion.

  • Coconut macarons are delicious. We always did them for Christmas when I was a kid. I’m fascinated to see how beautiful yours are! And what a great idea to combine them with pineapples, I’m sure this is delicious.

  • Delightful!
    Macaroons are a huge hit in my household, so I will definitely try these out.

  • What kind of “weird” vegetables did you end up buying? How about you tweet a picture of those and let’s see if we can help you come up with ideas of how to use them!:)

    Also, I am curious to know what kinds of jaggery you get to buy in Paris? I love that stuff (especially date palm jaggery)!

  • I love how finely grated the coconut seems. I think it would give a great texture to bite into, even though I also love the standard big strands American macaroons usually have. Also love the pointy cone shape. Altogether a very fun new twist.

  • Macaroons are a natural pair for things like lemon curd where you only use the egg yolks, and this version looks amazing! And uses unsweetened coconut too. I’m always bemused by the idea of sweetened coconut – unsweetened is the only kind we get in New Zealand. (Not sure why anyone woud want their coconut to come presweetened.)

    • Coconut comes sweetened because it helps it last longer (which is why the sweetened stuff often has preservatives added.) I buy unsweetened coconut in shops that have a high turnover and I also take a look at it – and smell it, if possible – to ensure that it’s fresh.

  • I love how these look so much like volcanoes. The combination of pineapple and coconut is one of my favorites, but I haven’t seen it in macaroons before. I’m excited to try these out.

  • These look absolutely delish, and your photo of the macaroons on the foil is beyond stunning!

  • Perfect exotical sweets for warmer days. Pineapple / coconut is a magical combo of dazzling flavours.

  • I always have a pineapple sitting on the counter as they grow well here. I thought I’d put pineapple into just about everything but not a macaroon. Can’t wait to try this.

  • Do you know where this type of macaroon (coconut over almond) was developed? Thanks!

  • So glad I clicked on this in my inbox. I thought they were the Parisian macaroons and though “eh” but these sound so much better. I didn’t know the history behind them either and I always love learning about food history.

  • Thanks for the recipe – these look amazing! And you’re not the only one who can’t resist the cool-looking produce at ethnic markets. I consistently come home from my local Southeast Asian grocery with bags of things I don’t have a clue how to cook. Sometimes that’s the best way to learn!

  • A Passover staple, this recipe will save people from the manischewitz macaroons in a can (though the cans themselves can be repurposed in many ways).

  • an interesting take on a coconut macaroon! i’ve never seen anything like them before. also good history to know how french macarons might have become american macaroons! i always wondered where that association came from, since the types of cookie seem so different.

  • Huge fan of coconut domes, especially those with caps of chocolate on them. I do already have a recipe that I usually stick to…but I’m adding this one to the list of course.

    In other things not related to macaroons: I used Paule Caillat’s boiled butter pastry dough for a coconut custard tart a few days back…and I’m ecstatic to report how fantastic it was!
    All this time I’ve been intimidated by homemade pastry crust and you know how pastry can smell fear? I always ended up with either dry or soggy pastry. Yeah well, not anymore – all thanks to you, I kicked ass with that tart!

  • David: many thanks for the response about the reason for sweetening coconut – I had no idea! I also had no idea freshness was an issue with desiccated coconut – I have to admit mine sometimes hangs around for, um, years. Seems OK, but now I will look at it with a newly suspicious eye.

  • I like the shape, can I say that?

    Ciao
    Alessandra

  • David:

    These look fantastic. I’m currently making a batch (and I added a little touch of rum since, well, the weekend is upon us)!

    Do you think honey could work in place of the sugar? I was thinking of experimenting with that in a future batch.

    Thanks for such a wonderful recipe!

  • Love the idea of pineapple & coconut together in a cookie–reminds me of a pina colada! When I make American-style macaroons I always use my hands to mix the batter, they really are the best tools for the job.

    I noticed that you mentioned that you can substitute foil for the parchment and I have one additional suggestion–grease the aluminum foil with a bit of vegetable oil spray, it helps the macaroons not stick to the foil as much.

  • David:

    Just made these and they look exactly like yours and taste great. The sweet/tart flavor of the pineapple makes them great.

    I adore macarons, which I think represent the apogee of French pastry, and I make them often. When in Paris, I buy them frequently, and favor the ones at Dalloyau.

    Macaroons are an entirely different thing, made for an entirely different purpose (mainly Passover for me). Fortunately, one does not have to choose one or the other.

    Thanks for this and so many other great recipes.

  • I made these like 5 minutes after you posted the recipe. They’re phenomenal. Brought them to a dinner party; long after the kids were up from the table, we adults sat around over tequila and these macaroons, whittling the hours away.

    I added the zest and juice of 1 lime, which helped offset the sweetness. This recipe is a true keeper, and I’ll be making it often.

  • MMM Looks divine:) I really like your blog and will happily follow
    If you want some swedish decor inspiration, you can check out my blog:)
    Have a great week.

  • I made these with sweetened coconut (all I had, and I had to use up some egg whites after making ice cream). The coconut had sugar and salt added so I skipped these from the recipe and they came out very well. I must check the packaging for preservatives.

  • i love coconut macaroons and never thought to incorporate another flavor into the mix. these sound delicious! i also like rivka’s suggestion of adding lime zest. can’t wait to try these!

  • Coconut macaroons are an Australian country baking classic. I also love them with almond meal.

    Great to see someone with your cred acknowledging their place alongside the posh macaron as a wonderful afternoon tea treat!