My Favorite Stevia Coconut Macaroons
by Chef Rachel Albert
Hands-on: 30 minutes/ Cooking: 20 to 25 minutes / Yield: 24 macaroons
These wheat-free, grain-free, dairy-free treats are easy to assemble. The combination of honey and stevia, a noncaloric herbal swetener, reduces the need for refined sugar. The coconut improves immune function, so bar any guilt about making or eating these.
Note: Test your oven for accuracy with an oven thermometer (the kind that stays in the oven). If your oven runs higher or lower than the temperature it’s set at, you can adjust the temperature accordingly, or have a technician recalibrate it for accuracy.
FYI: Supermarkets rarely sell unsweetened, sulfite-free flaked coconut. Look for it on the baking aisle or in the bulk foods section of natural foods stores or buy it over the Internet. If you get medium- or large-flaked coconut, pulse it in a blender or food processor to create a fine powder, fluff it up with a fork, then measure out what you need. This recipe can be doubled.
Holiday Prep Tip: Assemble batches up to 2 months ahead. Layer the cookies in metal cookie tins or cardboard gift boxes sold in cake decorating stores, separating each layer with parchment paper. If you plan to freeze them, you can slip cardboard gift boxes in zip-top bags, suck out the air with a straw, seal the bag, and freeze. This will keep the boxes from getting wet or attracting ice crystals.
* 4 egg whites from large or extra-large eggs (about 1/2 to 2/3 cup)
* 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
* 1/3 cup honey
* 1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract powder (do not substitute stevia extract liquid)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or alcohol-free vanilla flavoring
* 2 cups unsweetened, sulfite-free, finely shredded coconut; additional 1/4 to 3/4 cup if needed
Virgin-pressed coconut oil or palm shortening to grease baking sheets
1. Start with impeccably clean bowls and utensils. Separate the whites from yolks when the eggs are cold. Crack each egg into a small bowl, then transfer to a 1- to 1 1/2-quart metal, copper, or glass bowl (larger for a double batch). If a yolk breaks, set the entire egg aside for another use, then use a new bowl to crack the remaining eggs. Even a tiny trace of yolk can prevent the whites from forming stiff peaks. Let whites stand at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. Refrigerate unused yolks and any broken eggs for another use.
2. Preheat oven to 300F (lower if your oven runs hot). Oil a large cookie sheet, or line with unbleached parchment paper and then oil, or use a Silpat nonstick bake liner.
3. Using an electric mixer or beaters on medium speed, beat the whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar. Beat until stiff peaks form when mixer is turned off and beaters are lifted.
4. Gradually add honey, then stevia and vanilla. Turn off mixer. Gently fold coconut in with a wide wooden spoon or stiff rubber spatula. Whites may deflate—don’t panic. Add additional coconut, a little at a time if batter appears wet and loose. You want it a to be stiffer than meringue batter, but not as stiff as cookie dough. To test, place a spoonful of batter on a baking tray. It should stand in a mound 3/4-inch thick. If it threatens to run, add more coconut.
5. Drop batter by level tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet(s), creating an oval shape, or use 2 spoons to make a round shape or an upward chocolate kiss shape. If the last bit of batter looks too thin, add more coconut.
6. Bake in the center of the oven until set and lightly brown around edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Immediately remove the cookies from the tray(s) by slipping a thin metal spatula under the edge of each cookie and sawing back and forth. Cool macaroons on wire racks. Store in airtight containers at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, or in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Freeze for longer storage.
7. Serve as is, or alongside scoops of Ice Dream, or crumble and fold into freshly churned Ice Dream.
1 macaroon (24 per batch): 46 calories, 1 gram protein, 6 grams carbohydrate (1/2 gram fiber), 2 grams fat, 12 milligrams sodium
* My Favorite Coconut Orange Macaroons: In step #4, replace vanilla with 1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons pure orange extract.
* My Favorite Cocoa Macaroons: In step #4, before adding the coconut, sift and add 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa and increase stevia to 1/2 teaspoon.
* My Favorite Carob Macaroons: In step #4, before adding the coconut, sift and add 1/4 cup carob powder.
* Mini Macaroon Cups: Liberally grease a 24 cup mini muffin pan with palm shortening or coconut oil. In step #5, divide macaroon batter between muffin tins. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.For a fancy finish, melt 1 1/2 to 2 ounces unsweetened baker's chocolate, then dip the bottom half of each cooled macaroon into the chocolate and place on a parchment-lined tray. Drizzle more chocolate over the tops and allow to cool.
SOURCE: The Ice Dream Cookbook: Dairy-Free Ice Cream Alternatives with Gluten-Free Cookies, Compotes & Sauces by Rachel Albert
Copyright 2008, Planetary Press. Recipe used with permission from Rachel at The Healthy Cooking Coach.