Coquitos (Coconut Macaroons)

Coquitos (literally “little coconuts”) are the Argentine version of coconut macaroons. These sweet, chewy gems of coconut often grace the table as part of the merienda or late afternoon snack, a custom many Argentines indulge in given that they typically sit down to dinner around 10 pm (or later!).

When first baked, the coquitos have a rather light texture, but the next day, you’ll find that they’ve become moist and dense with tons of coconut flavor. If you want your coquitos to look like the ones at the bakeries here in Argentina, brush them with a bit of apricot glaze after they’ve cooled off from their stint in the oven.

This recipe calls for finely shredded, unsweetened, dried coconut, a coconut product widely available here in Argentina. Do not use the sweetened coconut flakes typically found in American supermarkets, as they will alter the texture of the coquitos and make them too sweet. Look for finely shredded, unsweetened, dried coconut (sometimes called macaroon coconut) at natural food stores, ethnic markets or purchase it online.



For the pastry cream:

2 cups milk
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract


For the coquitos:

1¾ sticks (14 tablespoons) butter, softened
1¼ cups sugar
5 eggs
¾ cup pastry cream
5 cups (14 oz.) finely shredded, unsweetened, dried coconut
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cornstarch


For the glaze: [optional]

tablespoon apricot jelly
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon water



For the pastry cream:

1. Scald the milk in a heavy saucepan along with half the sugar (milk should foam but not boil).

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the other half of the sugar, the cornstarch and the flour. Add the eggs to the bowl and whisk together the ingredients until smooth.

3. Slowly incorporate the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to avoid curdling the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until it just comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

4. Transfer the pastry cream to a clean bowl (pass it through a fine-mesh strainer if you spot small pieces of curdled egg), and cool the pastry cream to room temperature.


For the coquitos:

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the pastry cream, whisking to fully incorporate it into the mixture before adding the coconut, vanilla extract and cornstarch. Mix thoroughly to combine.

3. Place the mixture in a pastry bag with a large star tip or use a large, heavy-duty zip top plastic bag with one of the corners cut off. Pipe out uniformly-sized coquitos onto a greased baking sheet or silicone baking mat. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

4. Allow the coquitos to rest on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to completely cool.

Optional step: Make as much glaze as you like, respecting the ratio between the 3 ingredients. Bring the apricot jelly, sugar and water to a low boil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring often. Let the glaze reduce until it has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Lightly drizzle or brush the coquitos with glaze to give them shine.

Transfer the coquitos to an airtight container to ensure freshness and to keep them from drying out.

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