coconut clouds

about 15 cookies    |   
Prep Time:
15 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
40 minutes total

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coconut cloud cookies

Here’s how summer worked in San Francisco when I was growing up: the day you got out of school in June, the fog would roll in. The day you went back to school in September, the fog would roll out. Times don’t change, really. Today, on the tail end of the month of Fogust, my nieces went back to school and out came the sun.

That’s what put me in mind of these cookies, which look like clouds but can be eaten in any weather. They can be made in any weather, too. Unlike regular meringues they aren’t sensitive to humidity (read: fog) because the coconut and almonds give them structure, not just the air (and you can add the sugar more quickly, for the same reason). The flavor is more like a macaroon than a meringue, very light and almondy. And there’s no flour, so it’s a good choice for the gluten-averse. An all-around A+ sweet. I’ll take some to school with me this week since I’m back for the last semester of my MFA. Wish me luck on my thesis.


2/3 cup (3 oz) sliced almonds
1 cup (3 oz) shredded unsweetened coconut
2 egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract


Heat an oven to 300°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the almonds on one sheet and the coconut on the other. Toast both in the oven until barely golden and fragrant, 8 to 12 minutes, stirring the contents of each pan once about halfway through. Set almonds and coconut aside in pans to cool.

In a stand mixer or in a bowl with electric beaters, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. With the motor running, pour in the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, until mixture is bright white and glossy. Beat in the extract. Now fold in the almonds and coconut; to do this, lift the parchment paper holding each one and pour it like a spout into the egg whites, then gently fold with a rubber spatula until everything is blended. Replace the used parchment on the baking sheets.

Scoop the mixture into 2-inch mounds with one spoon and scrape it onto the re-lined baking sheets with another, setting mounds about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies are dry and very lightly colored, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and pull parchment, with cookies attached, right off the baking sheets and directly onto the counter and let cookies cool on paper. Once cool, store airtight for at least 3 days (cookies may get a little chewy from absorbing moisture from the air…if the fog rolls back in, that is).