These delicious egg-free coconut macaroons are made in minutes. I've flavoured them with dark chocolate pieces and organic almond extract. They have a great texture, crisp on the outside, with a soft centre. A perfect recipe for your children to bake (with supervision), no machines needed, just a bowl and spoon. For an extra special treat, you might like to dip the bottom of the macaroons into melted chocolate.
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Preheat oven to 170c. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Add the coconut, almond meal and salt to a large mixing bowl, mix well making sure to remove all lumps. Add the chopped chocolate and stir through.
Add the coconut oil, maple syrup and almond extract to a small bowl and whisk. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well making sure all ingredients are well moistened.
Use a rounded measuring tablespoon or a mini ice cream scoop to measure out the mixture. Scoop up the mixture filling the spoon or ice cream scoop, then drag the spoon up the side of the bowl to firmly pack the mixture and to give a flat bottom to the macaroon.
Tap the measuring spoon on the lined tray to help the mixture drop out (you can also form the mixture into mounds by pressing and shaping with your hands) or release the ice cream scoop handles to allow the mixture to drop onto the tray. Repeat with the remaining mixture. (If using a measuring spoon and the mixture sticks, greasing the spoon with oil will help. The ice cream scoop should be fine).
Bake for 12 - 14 minutes or until lightly golden. Baking time will depend on the size of the macaroons. Turn once during cooking for an even colour. (Keep an eye on them as they can brown very quickly).
Allow the macaroons to cool completely on the tray before handling.
Storing in a glass airtight container will keep them crisp.
In the majority of my recipes where I use dried coconut, I have used finely-shredded desiccated coconut (unless I have stated otherwise). Make sure you are purchasing unsweetened and organic - many regular brands contain preservatives (sulphur dioxide).
The most favoured gluten/grain free flour substitute in my kitchen is almond meal. It is finely ground blanched almonds and is also known as almond flour. It has a slightly sweet flavour so you don’t have to add as much sweetener when baking with it. Almond meal/flour is rich in manganese which helps the body heal after injuries and also helps the body break down carbohydrates. Almond flour is also rich in magnesium, which can help control your blood sugar levels. It's rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of serious health conditions like cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Almonds are also a good source of calcium.
All kinds of nuts can be ground down to make a meal and are excellent for raw cheesecake or pie bases. Nut meals/flours are best stored in airtight containers in the fridge or freezer to prevent them going rancid.
Raw pink Himalayan salt crystals is unlike common table salt which can be a highly refined industrial byproduct, otherwise know as sodium chloride. Himalayan salt is completely pure and may naturally balance the body's alkaline/acidity and regulate water content. In addition Himalayan salt helps in the absorption of nutrients from food and contains many trace minerals for healthy cell structure. I purchase fine pink Himalayan crystal salt so I can use it in my shaker and for cooking.
In some of my recipes I have used Paleo approved dark chocolate drops/chips, they are dairy, soy, and gluten-free (my favourite brands are, 'Absolute Organic' or 'Chef's Choice' certified organic 70% cacao, purchase online or from health food stores). I also used 70 - 85% organic dark chocolate blocks, they can be broken into pieces or melted for recipe. I also make my own chocolate from: cacao butter or coconut oil, raw cacao powder and sweetened with 100% maple syrup, pinch of sea salt and vanilla extract.
Coconut oil is one of the most nutritious fats to cook and bake with. Use organic extra-virgin coconut oil which is unrefined and unbleached from non GMO coconuts. Coconut oil has a high smoking point and it is slow to oxidize due to its high saturated fat content, thus, resistant to going rancid. Some studies suggest coconut oil helps with digestion, including irritable bowel, tummy bugs, candida and parasites due to this oil containing short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a healthy form of saturated fat.
Maple syrup is an earthy, sweet tasting amber liquid that is produced by boiling down the sap of maple trees. Use organic 100% maple syrup which is a natural food sweetener, not a flavoured maple syrup. Pure maple syrup contains a decent amount of some minerals, especially manganese and zinc, some traces of potassium and calcium but it does contain a whole bunch of sugar. I try to reduced the amount of sweetness in each recipe to the lowest possible without compromising taste. Feel free to adjust to your liking. I use maple syrup in place of raw honey when I don't want the strong honey flavour coming through in a recipe. I have paleo cookies and desserts in my cookbook made from whole food ingredients with natural sugars but please don’t overindulge. Use as a treat only for special occasions.
Organic almond extract manufactured by ‘Frontier Natural Flavors’ has the best flavour, and price I've found. I purchase it online from iherb.