Coconut macaroons were one of my favourite treats from childhood. Soft, coconutty and usually covered in a delicious chocolate that would melt in your mouth. Normally made using condensed milk, egg whites and a LOT of sugar it was a challenge to make them taste just as good by only using nourishing ingredients.
It began with fresh grated coconut that I found in my local Asian store for under €3 (and theres enough in the bag to make 3 batches of these). I cut off what I needed, defrosted it, sprinkled on a baking tray and roasted until it started to turn slightly golden. Don’t skip this step, roasting enhances the delicious flavour of the coconut and makes them taste even more delicious.
Next the sweetness! I don’t eat any processed foods or refined sugars so using condensed milk and white sugar were out. Instead I made an almost caramel sauce using the juice of only half an orange, coconut oil and 3 medjool dates! That means there is only 1/4 of a date in each of these little bites. The caramel sauce is then mixed with the coconut until it turns into a breadcrumb texture and is then folded into the egg whites. Finally, I used an ice-cream scoop to tightly press the mixture into little mounds before baking for 20 minutes and finally drizzling with chocolate. If you don’t have an ice-cream scoop just make tight little balls of the mixture in your hands and slightly press to flatten them onto a baking sheet.
These little macaroons are super cute and will fool most people into thinking they are having a treat yet they are full of goodness. Egg whites are high in protein while the coconut is rich in fibre and vitamins, right down to the chocolate which is rich in antioxidants and minerals. Yummy little treats you won’t mind giving your little ones.
2 + 1/2 Cups Grated Coconut (I buy it frozen from the Asian store) Use can also use unsweetened desiccated coconut.
3 Pitted Medjool Dates
Juice 1/2 Orange
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1 Teaspoon Orange Oil or Vanilla Extract
2 Egg Whites (or 1/4 liquid from a tin of chickpeas)
100g Cacao Butter
1 + 1/2 Tablespoon Cacao Powder
1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon Cashew Butter (or other nut butter) (leave out for nut free)
1 Tablespoon Tahini
How to make it...
Pre-heat oven to 160ºC.
Toast the coconut by placing it on a flat tray and baking for about 15 minutes. This helps release that delicious coconutty flavour.
Meanwhile, add the medjool dates, orange juice, coconut oil to a saucepan and gently heat stirring all the time. Once the mixture starts to bubble turn to a low heat and keep stirring until the dates start to break up and dissolve turning it into a sticky caramel mixture.
Take off the heat and add in the orange oil and allow mixture to cool.
When the coconut has started to slightly brown take out of the oven and add to the caramel mixture. I used my spatula to break it up and it should look almost like breadcrumbs. (see the photo above).
Add the egg whites to a separate bowl and using an electric whisk, whisk until they are light and fluffy and forming stiff peaks. This only takes about a minute or so. (See tip below for egg replacement)
Fold the eggs into the coconut mixture and when it is completely combined pack an ice cream scoop with the mixture tightly and then place onto a baking sheet.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until they start to go brown.
Remove from the heat and leave on a wire wrack to cool.
Melt the cacao butter over a bain marie or glass bowl over hot water. Be careful not to let the water touch the bowl as it destroys the good enzymes in the butter.
When it has melted remove from the heat and add the cacao powder, maple syrup, tahini and cashew butter (or other nut butter). The tahini and cashew butter make the chocolate more milky tasting.
Drizzle the chocolate over the macaroons or if you like you can dip the base into them also.