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!
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.
Do 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:
My 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)
1 macaroon (24 per batch): 46 calories, 1 gram protein, 6 grams carbohydrate (1/2 gram fiber), 2 grams fat, 12 milligrams sodium