3 cups coconut flakes - I chose unsweetened for a mildly sweet treat, but either variety would work.
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat the egg whites with the 1/4 teaspoon salt to stiff peaks. In a separate bowl, combine the coconut, vanilla bean, vanilla extract, and sweetened condensed milk. If you do not have a vanilla bean, just leave it out - no biggie. Add about one third of the beaten egg whites to the coconut mixture and stir to combine. Then add the remaining egg whites and fold gently until everything is fluffy and mixed.
Scoop tablespoon sized balls onto the baking sheet. A mini ice cream scoop works wonderfully for even portions. You can make large snowball macaroons, but I prefer the minis.
Bake at 325 for about 25 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool on the pans, then store in an airtight container. Do not refrigerate. Coconut macaroons are extra decadent with a little dip in some melted chocolate. Just melt a little of your favorite chocolate by 30 second increments in the microwave, then dip thebottom of each macaroon and return it to the parchment sheet to cool.