Olive oil gives the cookies a fascinating flavor: slightly nutty and with a vaguely lemon-like flavor that lingers on the tongue.
Combine the sugar, vanilla, salt, and olive oil. Whisk until combined. Add the egg whites, and whisk until combined.
Add the coconut, and switch to a wooden spoon or spatula to mix until fully coated
Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan, large enough that the mixture fits with room to stir. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly but gently, for 5 minutes, to reduce excess moisture. Keep the mixture moving in the pan so that there’s no scorching or toasting. After five minutes, remove the pan from heat, and let sit until it has reached room temperature. You can hasten the process by transferring the mixture to the refrigerator; if you need a break, you can let the mixture rest in the fridge for several hours or up to overnight at this point. (Note: after cooking the mixture for five minutes, you might not see a huge difference in the mixture. But this will reduce spreading when you bake the macaroons.)
When you’re ready to move on, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat, or with parchment paper coated with non-stick spray.
By hand, with a spoon, or with a small cookie scoop, form the dough into approximately 1-inch (or slightly larger) balls. Place on the cookie sheet. The cookies can be quite close together as they do not spread.
Bake for 12 minutes, or until toasted to your liking. 12 minutes or so leaves you with gently golden macaroons; if you like them really toasty, bake for a few minutes extra. Rotate the pan about 6 minutes into baking, to ensure even baking.
Once the macaroons are toasted to your liking, remove from the oven. Transfer the entire baking sheet to a wire rack. let the cookies cool on the sheet for about 15 minutes to “set” before removing.
If you’d like to incorporate chocolate, go ahead and melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Using a spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate mixture over the finished macaroons.
Let the cookies sit for about an hour at room temperature, or for 15 minutes in the refrigerator to let the chocolate “set”. Serve at room temperature.
Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.