Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and spread coconut on a baking sheet (or more baking sheets if making a larger batch). Toast for 2-4 minutes or until just slightly golden brown (be careful not to burn // see photo). Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F (162 C).
Transfer coconut to a food processor (or a mixing bowl) and add just under half of the maple syrup (3 Tbsp or 45 ml maple syrup as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Pulse a few times (or stir) to combine, being careful not to overmix. This will slightly moisten and sweeten the coconut (see photo). Set aside.
To a large mixing bowl, add aquafaba and cream of tartar (optional), and whip with a hand or stand mixer (you can whisk by hand, but it takes longer).
Once fluffy and semi-stiff peaks have formed (see photo), add remaining maple syrup (4 Tbsp or 60 ml maple syrup as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size), vanilla, and salt and whip again to combine. Lastly, pour in melted coconut oil and whip again to combine. At this point, taste your aquafaba and see if it needs any more sweetness. You can add either a little stevia or a bit more maple syrup. But don’t go overboard with the maple syrup or it may deflate your aquafaba.
Start with adding 3/4 of your coconut to the aquafaba and fold/stir to combine. If it looks too wet, add more coconut flakes a little at a time until you get a very moist “dough” (see photo). If the dough is too wet, they won't rise in the oven. If it's too dry, they will be crumbly. So be sure to add a little at a time until the proper texture is achieved. If you add all of the coconut and it still appears too wet, it's fine to add a little untoasted coconut!
Measure out heaping 1 Tbsp amounts (I like this scoop) and scoop onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees F (162 C) for 25 minutes. Then increase heat to 350 degrees F (176 C) and bake for 8-10 min more or until golden brown and semi-firm to the touch (see photo).
Let cool. Then enjoy. For a chocolate coating (optional), melt vegan dark chocolate and coconut oil over a double boiler (or in the microwave in 30 second increments) until smooth and creamy. Then dip the macaroons into the chocolate and place on a parchment- or wax paper-lined baking sheet or serving platter. Drizzle the tops with remaining chocolate and set in the refrigerator (or freezer) to cool until the chocolate is firm to the touch.
Store leftover macaroons covered and at room temperature up to 3 days, in the refrigerator up to 5 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month. They are crispy the first day and then tend to soften, which is normal. They are still delicious though! Just best when fresh.
*The brand of shredded coconut you buy will determine how much you add. I used a mix of Trader Joe’s unsweetened shredded coconut (which is light and stringy) and Let’s Do Organic Unsweetened Shredded Coconut, which is light and fluffy and shredded (but much lighter in texture and weight than desiccated coconut, which is entirely different). In the recipe, I recommend starting with 3 cups and then working your way up to 4 cups, depending on how fluffy your aquafaba is and which brand of coconut you have. *Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with 4 cups shredded coconut per 22 macaroons and without the chocolate topping/shell. *Recipe loosely adapted from the Kitchn.