Did the Swedish vikings eat coconut macaroons? Well, not exactly. Coconuts are a relatively new part of the Swedish kitchen, and coconut macaroons—kokostoppar—seem to be a 20th century acquaintance.
In 1902, Franska Frukt- och Blomsterimporten advertises a wealth of fruits and nuts in Svenska Dagbladet, and coconut is one of them. Before that, coconuts are only referred to in features from “exotic countries”.
I’d expected to find coconut macaroons in Charles Emil Hagdahl’s cookbook from 1896, but no luck. Instead, the first recipe in my collection is from Husmoderns 1000 recept from 1924. The simple recipe only features three ingredients—desiccated coconut, sugar, and egg. Based on that, a similar recipe in Svenska Dagbladet, and one in Mera god mat (1939) it seems like the early recipes didn’t include any kind of fat. Instead, they were a coconut version of the already popular almond macaroons. Nowadays, you do get butter in the batter, though!
Are coconut macaroons really typically Swedish?
I’ve eaten plenty of delicious English coconut macaroons and have no claim on them being particularly Swedish. Based on the recipes I’ve reviewed in cookbooks and Svenska Dagbladet’s historical archive, coconut as a baking ingredients seem to have taken off in the 20s and 30s.
So why talk about coconut macaroons if they don’t have pre-historic ancestry in Sweden? Well, cultures change as inclusions from other countries enrich and influence them. Today, these kokostoppar are common sights in Swedish cafés, and they are a practical cookie to whip up quickly if you get cravings or unexpected company. Another bonus is that they are naturally gluten-free.
How to make coconut macaroons
The Swedish name, kokostoppar, means coconut tops or peaks. You can of course just spoon the filling out on the baking tray. Also, chocolate drizzles are completely optional. Makes 16-20, depending on size
50 gr (1/4 cup) butter
1 1/2 dl (2/3 cup) sugar
5 dl (2 cups) desiccated coconut
Flavoring (optional): 1/4 tsp vanilla powder, or lemon peel from half a lemon
For drizzling: 50 gr (2 oz) chocolate of your choice
- Set the oven to 175°C (345°F). Prepare a baking tray with a baking sheet.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and let it cool slightly.
- Whisk the sugar and the eggs together in a large bowl.
- Add the desiccated coconut and butter, plus any flavouring of your choice.
- Form coconut macaroons of the size and shape of your choice. The easy way is to just spoon them out on the baking tray. If you want the pointer look as on the photos, shape them with your hands.
- Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, maybe slightly longer, until the macaroons start to get golden on the top.
- Let them cool and eat as they are, or melt chocolate and drizzle over.
Experiment with the flavors! One of my favorite combinations was cardamom and cedro oil (lemon oil). Another amazing version was a drizzle of caramel sauce with sea salt flakes sprinkled over. You can for example add chopped chocolate, fruit peel, or berries to the batter.