Having had a Jewish father, I grew up eating wonderful cookies and cupcakes at the Jewish-style bakery my parents frequented by my dad’s office in Red Bank, New Jersey. If you lived in the area in the 1970s, it was the bakery by Red Bank Catholic High School and down Main Street from Norman’s Deli, if I remember correctly. I don’t think it’s there anymore.
I always thought of these treats as “back East cookies” that you could only find in New York City and Northern New Jersey. I never came across them in other parts of the country and only see them when I go back to New Jersey for someone’s bat or bar mitzvah.
My favorite Jewish cookies are the rainbow ones. I was hoping to experiment and come up with a gluten free version. (You can see a non-GF version of rainbow cookies here on the publisher’s website.) However, since they contain almond paste and almond extract – and I have a child who’s allergic to nuts – I didn’t think it was too smart to cook up a batch. Plus, I’d have to eat them all myself, which is a recipe for disaster especially with all the holiday treats out there this time of year.
Instead, I chose to make gluten free coconut macaroons. When my mother-in-law went gluten free over 11 years ago, there were very few premade gluten free products around. One exception was coconut macaroons that I’d find in the ethnic section of the supermarket during Passover. Here’s my healthed up, alternative sweetener version of Inside the Jewish Bakery’s recipe.
If you’re using “natural” unsweetened coconut from the health food store, you may need to chop up the coconut into smaller pieces. You can do this in a food processor or a blender. Chop until the coconut is confetti-sized.
Blend all ingredients except egg whites on the low speed of electric mixer.
Increase speed to medium. Then add egg whites in a thin stream, mixing until smooth. Use only enough egg to get dough to the consistency of putty.