My Favorite Coconut Macaroons

Books,Bread & Baked Goods,Dessert,Healthy Holiday Tips,Nuts & Nut Butters

Are you looking for a great dessert for the holidays? One that’s wheat-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, naturally sweetened, low in sugar, and absolutely delicious? If so, and if you like coconut, I’ve got a recipe for you. These macaroons have even pleased people who say they don’t normally care for coconut. The recipe uses a mix of honey and stevia (don’t worry, if you measure and use the right kind of stevia, you won’t taste it); doing this cuts the amount of honey and sugar calories by a third to a half. I won a blue ribbon for this recipe at bakeoff in July of 2010. They’re that good!

Your options
You can make these award-winning macaroons with or without a drizzle or dunk in melted unsweetened bakers chocolate or dark chocolate for a fancier finish. The macaroons can be shaped into little domes (see picture) or baked in mini muffin tins to make mini macaroon cups. They’re great for holiday gift giving. I’ve mailed them to friends far away. They’d be great for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, or any occasion when you want to bring a healthy and delicious treat to share.

6a00e552ad01da88340154372f2e8c970c-320wiDo you know how to beat egg whites into stiff peaks?
If you already know how to separate egg yolks from whites and you’re experienced with beating egg whites to make stiff peaks, you can skip down to the recipe below. If this is new to you, read through the Basics of Beating Egg Whites. The recipe and instructions are taken from my books, The Garden of Eating: A Produce Dominated Diet & Cookbook and The Ice Dream Cookbook: Dairy-Free Ice Cream Alternatives with Gluten-Free Cookies, Compotes and Sauces.

The Basics of Beating Egg Whites
Stiffly beaten egg whites are a must for meringues and macaroons. Because egg whites are far more finicky than whole eggs or yolks, you need to take special care when you select bowls and utensils and when separating the whites from the yolks.

Secrets for success:

  • Separate the whites from yolks when the eggs are cold (right from the fridge), then allow the whites to come to room temperature for 1 or 2 hours before beating. This will allow them to beat into higher peaks. Cover and refrigerate the unused yolks, which you can use in scrambles, omelets, meatloaf, burgers, or to make mayonnaise. Or, you can smear raw egg yolk all over your face, allow it dry, then rinse it off, for a healing, pore cleansing vitamin A-rich facial. You’ll get two or three facials from each egg yolk.
  • Start with impeccably clean non-plastic bowls. Slightly dirty or plastic bowls will retain oils from foods previously stored in them. This can prevent the whites from whipping. Copper bowls are ideal, but stainless steel or Pyrex work well. Beaters must be spotless.
  • Separate the eggs into three bowls to avoid letting traces of yolks spoil the whites. After breaking each egg, transfer the yolk back and forth between the halved eggshells, letting the white drop into small bowl. Gently drop the unbroken yolk into separate bowl or small jar; if a yolk breaks, set the entire egg aside then wash out the bowl or use a new one for the next egg.  Even a tiny trace of yolk can prevent the whites from forming stiff peaks. Transfer the pure egg white to a 1- to 1 1/2 quart glass, stainless steel or copper bowl.
  • Repeat this process with the remaining eggs, continuing to add the pure whites to the large bowl until you have 4 pure whites. (Use a larger bowl for a double batch).
  • eat the whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar (in the amount specified in the recipe), and beat until stiff peaks form and the tips of the whites stand straight when the beaters are turned off and lifted away.
  • Note: A copper bowl will produce the stiffest and most voluminous egg white foam you can imagine and the whites will rarely deflate after you add the coconut or other ingredients. However, I’ve made this recipe dozens of times over many years without a copper bowl.

6a00e552ad01da88340153935bc47d970b-320wiMy Favorite Macaroons 

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 raw honey
1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract powder with nothing added to it (do not substitute stevia extract liquid; do not use stevia that contains FOS, maltodextrin or other fillers)
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 (omit if using parchment paper)

  • 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.
  • Preheat oven to 300˚ F (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.
  • 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, a little at a time.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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