When Harriott Pinckney Horry copied her mother’s old recipes in 1770, she often changed them to suit her own palate. Her mother’s “torte” more appropriately became “Cocoa Nut Puffs”:
“Take a Cocoa Nut and dry it well before the fire, then grate it and add to it a good spoonfull of Butter, sugar to your tast, six Eggs with half the white and 2 spoonfulls of rose water. Mix them all together and they must be well beat before they are put in the Oven.”
Modern recipes for these macaroons are little changed from Eliza Lucas Pinckney’s version of 200 years ago, but seldom is the prudent advice to dry the coconut included. To dry a freshly grated coconut, spread the shreds out on a baking sheet and place in a preheated 300° oven for about 25 minutes, tossing them every 5 minutes or so and not allowing them to brown. Allow the coconut to cool before adding it to recipes.
This recipe makes a delicious macaroon, slightly crunchy on the exterior and rich and moist inside.
Grease a baking sheet and set aside. Preheat the oven to 325°. Mix the coconut and sugar together well, then mix in the egg whites. Using a tablespoon, scoop up heaped spoonfuls of the mixture. Press each scoop of coconut tightly into the spoon to hold it together, then place each spoonful onto the sheet, with an inch between them. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until they just begin to brown. Transfer to racks to cool, then store in airtight containers. They don’t keep long.
© 1992 All rights reserved. Published by UNC Press.