Did anyone else feel like Passover snuck up on them this year? Maybe because it’s on the early side this year, it just didn’t dawn on me, say, last week to stock up on matzah, and there I was yesterday, mad-scrambling to multiple supermarkets in desperate search of a few boxes. At one Safeway, the person I asked didn’t know what Passover was and asked for a picture of “Passover”. I politely said that I don’t have one and simply exited, the panic increasing multi-fold after each failed stop. But did you notice that Trader Joe’s started making their own this year? I admit that I saw a huge matzah display at one TJ location last week, and yes, I thumbed my nose at it because I always buy the Israeli brand, Osem. So it’s not like I didn’t have an opportunity to buy matzah in a calm, stress-free, lah-di-dah way. NO, I had to take the last-minute-wild-goose-chase route. K, cool.
Fortunately I did finally pop into a Trader Joe’s and they still had some boxes, so basically TJ saved Passover 2023… yep. I hope they’re on the tastier end of the cardboard spectrum than some other brands– we shall see soon enough. I’d like to tell you that this was a one-time occurrence, that in most other years I’ve shopped and prepped weeks in advance… but I would be lying. (And if you know me in real life, you know that although baking and cooking are my favorite things, I am utterly terrible at the time management aspect of preparing elaborate meals, so let’s be honest… this all tracks.) At least for the past two years, I’ve been on a similarly time-impaired hunt, although in my defense, in 2021, I was right in the middle of moving, and Passover was ridiculously early at the end of March, and last year I had the joy and pleasure of spending Passover in Israel with my best friends and family, so I was preoccupied with packing and wasn’t cooking for a Seder anyway. (I sure missed making matzo brei at home though!) All this to say that I really had no excuse this year, and hopefully I will have learned for 2024 to plan ahead a little better. (Feels like a realistic goal… but is it, really??)
Anywho, one of the few things left on the Passover shelves was a canister or two of the dreaded Manischewitz coconut macaroons. I made known my feelings about those previously (also here), so I’ll spare you the soap box; let’s just say, I’ll never buy a box of pre-made macaroons ever again. Why, you ask? Because Smitten Kitchen gave me the gift of the absolute best coconut mac recipe, which is infinitely easy and customizable, and one of my now-favorite Passover traditions is creating new flavors each year. I made these Funfetti Coconut Macaroons a few years ago and decided to revisit them this year and post them here because they are, well, FUN, and they feel right this week. We are still waiting for the warmth of spring to emerge here in San Francisco, and hopefully this colorful holiday offering will wishfully coax Mother Nature along just a smidge. (We’ve had months of destructive “atmospheric river” storms throughout the winter, and frankly, us Californians are not built for this. I know, you may not feel that sorry for me/us. Please just let me have something with sprinkles on it.)
One quick ingredient note: I use clear artificial vanilla flavoring here (à la Christina Tosi) to give that old-school funfetti box cake flavor, like in her Confetti Cookies, which remain after many years one of my favorite-ever cookie recipes. If you prefer to use pure vanilla or vanilla paste, you can absolutely do that, though the macaroons may have a slightly beige color due to the dark vanilla. Either way, they will be pretty and delicious.
These are so festive and bright for your Passover dessert table, and after honoring the suffering of our ancestors, I think we deserve a little color. Obviously the kids will flock to these, and they’re also easy enough to make with kids for a fun baking project. I hope you enjoy these, and I wish you and your loved ones Chag Pesach Sameach / Happy Passover!
Funfetti Coconut Macaroons
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yields about 30 – 1½” cookies
- 3 tablespoons colored sprinkles, divided
- 14 ounces (400 grams) sweetened, flaked coconut
- ⅔ cup (130 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 large egg whites
- Heaping ¼ teaspoon flaked sea salt or level ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons clear artificial vanilla flavoring (pure vanilla is fine as well)
Preheat the oven to 325°F and position a rack in the center. Line two large sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.
Place 1 tablespoon of the colored sprinkles into a ziplock bag and crush them with a kitchen mallet or similar object so that you have some multi-colored “dust” along with other tiny pieces of varying sizes. Set aside.
Pour the flaked coconut into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade; process for 1 full minute and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sugar and blend for 1 minute. Add the egg whites, salt, and vanilla, and process for another minute. The mixture will be the consistency of a chunky paste.
Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and fold in the remaining 2 tablespoons of colored sprinkles with a rubber spatula until the sprinkles are evenly incorporated.
With a medium spring-loaded ice cream scoop or a tablespoon measure, scoop the batter into 1″ mounds directly onto the prepared cookie sheets. The cookies can be placed about 1-2″ apart since they don’t really spread– they just puff a little. Sprinkle the top of each mound with a few pinches of the crushed colored sprinkles.
Bake the macaroons for about 23-30 minutes, or until they take on a bit of golden, toasty color. Transfer the sheet to a wire cooling rack and let the cookies cool for 10 minutes undisturbed, as they will be too fragile to move right out of the oven. You can then transfer them directly to the rack, or just leave them on the sheet to cool completely.
The macaroons will keep for about a week stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2023.