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Pass over the can, make your own macaroons

If you grew up eating macaroons from a can, chances are you have a fondness for them, despite their tasting like — they came from a can. And so in the mad rush to prepare for the first Passover Seder on Friday, the host might grab a few cans of the cookies and pass them around at the end of the meal.

This year’s macaroons should be different from all other years. It’s not difficult to turn nuts or coconut into the popular little confections. There’s no flour or leavening (they’re not permitted during Passover), but you can use egg whites to bind the batter.

Sometimes egg whites are beaten to firm peaks, as for meringue, other times the whites are simply mixed in to create a paste-like dough. Both ways yield fine macaroons. Coconut- or nut-based macaroons are naturally gluten-free and when made without milk, they’re also dairy-free. When freshly baked, they boast delicately crisp shells and chewy, moist interiors. Before baking, you can pinch the mounds to have a triangular look with pointy tops or leave them as free-form rounds. Using a mini ice cream scoop gives them perfectly rounded tops.

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These are different cookies from the popular French macarons (with one “o”) in many bakery cases. Those petit cookies, often vividly colored, are sandwiched with richly flavored fillings. Confections like these larger macaroons, made with almonds and sugar, have been around for centuries.

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If you make macaroons days in advance, you can freshen up the taste and texture by placing them in a 350-degree oven for 5 minutes. Once cool, the outsides should be nicely crisp again.

Serve the little rounds plain and let the nuts and coconut shine or dip them into chocolate to gild the lily.

Lisa Zwirn can be reached at lisa@lisazwirn.com.