One of the best parts of summer is sipping on far too much iced coffee. I’ve often found myself grateful for later sunsets just to balance out my poor caffeination decisions. Among my favorite versions is Vietnamese iced coffee, which is brewed strong and dark into a decadent and invigorating shot and lightly sweetened with condensed milk — which balances the bitterness of the coffee so perfectly that it’s impossible to put down.
To save my wallet from my cold-brew obsession, I started making it at home. After making a batch of a family favorite recipe of coconut macaroons for Passover, I enjoyed the remaining condensed milk in homemade cold-brew coffee and was in heaven. And then it struck me: I could combine all these flavors into one delicious coffee coconut macaroon dessert.
The first time I tried this recipe, the coffee I added was too coarsely ground, and the coconut, unsweetened. The finished product was… not attractive. I tried again, thinking that perhaps infusing the condensed milk with the flavors I wanted would yield a better result. I even tried several times to make my own condensed milk to that end, but the coffee raised the acidity of the milk too much, and I couldn’t keep it from curdling. Besides, dear reader, I have better things to do with the summer than babysit gently simmering milk for hours over the stove — and I suspect you do, too.
The final coffee coconut macaroon recipe below is simple to create but offers a complex flavor payoff with a tiny bit of caffeine. And it’s the perfect treat for the coffee snob in your life. The recipe requires little more in the way of equipment than a bowl, a spatula, and some cookie sheets, so it’s a kid-friendly project, too.
To make these Vietnamese coffee coconut macaroons, you’ll need:
1 7-ounce package sweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons espresso powder or dark-roast coffee, ground very finely
1 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
Which coffee should you buy?
Cafe du Monde, New Orlean’s famous destination for beignets, serves a blend of coffee and chicory for their au laits, and the local Vietnamese community adores this bitter brew for iced coffee. You can purchase it online, and when ground super-finely, it makes an excellent choice for these macaroons.
How to make coffee coconut macaroons
To start, preheat your over to 250F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. The low baking temperature keeps the macaroons chewy.
In a bowl, whisk together coffee, cinnamon, cardamom and flour until combined. Combine the flour mixture with the coconut. Since the flour isn’t doing much work in this recipe, making a gluten-free version is easy: Just swap the flour with a baking mix of your choice.
Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir to combine.
Drop the mixture by teaspoonfuls onto lined baking sheets. The recipe will make about 2 dozen haystacks.