The Mac­a­roon Bible

Dan Cohen; Alice Gao, photographs
  • Review
By – August 29, 2013

Mac­a­roons, for me, encom­passed every­thing that was wrong in Passover cui­sine: canned, arti­fi­cial treats” with the tex­ture of an over­priced mealy apple sold at a theme park, tast­ing any­where from bland to bad.

With the pub­li­ca­tion of The Mac­a­roon Bible, Dan­ny Mac­a­roons founder Dan Cohen sets out to redeem the cook­ie from this unfor­tu­nate affil­i­a­tion. The cook­book intro­duces a new gen­er­a­tion of the home­made mac­a­roon, ac­cented by beau­ti­ful pho­tographs (by Alice Gao) and car­toon anthro­pomorphized rep­re­sen­ta­tions of the cook­ies, and explores how far it can reach in fla­vor pro­files. From bour­bon to hibis­cus to s’more incar­na­tions, Cohen’s book is a cre­ative reminder that mac­a­roons aren’t so much coconut cook­ies as they are cook­ies that uti­lize coconut as the vehi­cle to deliv­er hap­pi­ness to mouths” to coconut lovers and the coconut-curi­ous alike.

Though a bit friv­o­lous for a year-round cook­book, The Mac­a­roon Bible is a wor­thy addi­tion to the Passover culi­nary library — espe­cial­ly for those with chil­dren or teens at home for the hol­i­day: they’ll delight in the fla­vor vari­a­tions and the ease with which they can be made. The direc­tions are straight­for­ward and easy to fol­low, and Cohen writes the entire list of ingre­di­ents and instruc­tions for each cook­ie instead of ref­er­enc­ing back to the sta­ple vanil­la mac­a­roon: open the book to the mac­a­roon you want to make, and all the infor­ma­tion you need is right on that one page. A cute anec­dote or encour­ag­ing com­ment accom­pa­nies each recipe. The Mac­a­roon Bible is writ­ten with a charm­ing humor that only occa­sion­al­ly miss­es the mark, slip­ping briefly into mil­len­ni­al self-assur­ance; over­all, Cohen’s writ­ing is engag­ing and approach­able — much like his recipes!

With the excep­tion of a veg­an vari­a­tion at the end of the book, the mac­a­roons all call for con­densed milk — some­thing to keep in mind for those look­ing for a pareve dessert recipe. Mac­a­roons are, how­ev­er, inher­ent­ly gluten-free, though the book makes no men­tion of it, and they keep well. The vari­a­tions that Cohen pro­vides range from sophis­ti­cat­ed and sub­dued to sweet and smoth­ered, but there is still plen­ty of room to exper­i­ment with your favorite fla­vors! Notes, index.

Nat Bern­stein is the for­mer Man­ag­er of Dig­i­tal Con­tent & Media, JBC Net­work Coor­di­na­tor, and Con­tribut­ing Edi­tor at the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and a grad­u­ate of Hamp­shire College.

Discussion Questions