Almond Ginger Coconut Macaroons

For 99% of the year I am firmly set in a rhythm of predawn wake-ups — obssesed with watching the sun rise — and tucked inbed weellllll before midnight. The other one percent I trade my stalking of daybreak for inky nighttime skies when the moon puts on a remarkably super show.

November’s full “Beaver/Frost” moon earlier in the week was the second of three consecutive supermoons of this year. The supermoon occurs when a new or full moon is at its closest approach to Earth in orbit — normally a distance of about 238,900 miles, the gap narrowed on Monday by more than 17,000 miles. A phenomenon not seen for 68 years!

In addition to being closer and brighter, the full supermoon is a fittingly autumnal amber upon rising, then fades to the usual buttery white as it climbs higher. Though dense, low cloud cover obstructed my views on Monday and Tuesday, I did catch a glimpse of the creamy, almost-full giant as it set behind a stand of tall loblolly pines early Sunday morning.

Maybe it was sleep deprivation, but my mind wandered as I watched, conjuring visions of golden coconut macaroons. Perfectly domed and big enough to fill the palm of my hand. #superm[acar]oons

Giant macaroons

Practically effortless to prepare, these maple-sweetened macaroons are proof that delicious treats can come from healthier ingredients without compromising taste, texture, or flavor.

Their crisp and golden exterior of gives way to a tender and chewy interior, spiced up with fresh ginger and vanilla. My leftover pulp-turned-flour from homemade nut and seed milk works exceedingly well — thumbs up so far for pepita, almond, and pecan — though you can absolutely use store-bought almond or another nut/seed flour.

I portioned these macaroons out on the larger side because why not, but if you’re catering to smaller appetites, or prefer one-bite to multi-bite treats, just use a smaller scoop. For a touch of holiday glamour, fold in fine bits of bright red dried cherries or cranberries, or dip the bottoms in satiny melted dark chocolate!

What’s in it for me?

Sweetened very lightly by only pure maple syrup, each serving (1 large or 2 small macaroons) comes in at only 6 grams of natural sugar, while also providing 2 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. Like most coconut  macaroons, these use no actual flour, and are therefore gluten-free. Many other recipes employ sweetened condensed milk for binding and moisture; these do not, and are completely dairy-free.

Nut flours provide plant sterols (also known as phytosterols), heart-healthy poly- and mono-unsaturated fatty acids, as well as essential minerals and fiber, all of which contribute to improved cholesterol levels and digestive function, promote heart, immune and bone health, and are linked to better control of blood sugar. Almond flour in particular is naturally low in carbohydrates, and is a small source of protein, plus plant-based non-heme iron, zinc, and copper.

One egg white is cholesterol-free and virtually fat-free. Its more than 3 grams of protein is considered one of the highest-quality sources because of the body’s ability to utilize it so readily and quickly, and because it contains all nine of the essential amino acids.

Unsweetened shredded coconut provides a subtle rich sweetness, and adds to the total of fiber and ironFresh ginger adds a spicy, sweet kick plus potent antioxidant properties that may boost immune cell activity. This pungent root is also known for aiding digestion, alleviating nausea, and its anti-inflammatory properties.

These chewy, moist, not-too-sweet macaroons are bursting with flavor. And if you’re pulling dessert duty for the holidays, this recipe can be prepared up to two weeks ahead of time. As part of your celebration, or given as gifts, they’re lovely and light, sure to please all of your family and friends!

Cheers, Heather

Tell me… Did you get to see the supermoon? If not, there’s one more for the year with the December full moon. In the meantime, bake some macaroons as a substitute!

5 from 1 reviews
Almond Ginger Coconut Macaroons
 
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You can use two spoons to form the mounds, but cookie scoops make quick work of perfect portioning. Go with a large (size #20) scoop for large macaroons (http://buff.ly/2eBh5QY), or a medium (size #40) scoop for smaller, two-bite macaroons (http://buff.ly/2fcqdYs).
Author:
Recipe Type: Dessert, baking, gluten-free, dairy-free
Makes: 8 large or 16 small macaroons
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup almond flour (see HGN Notes for instructions to make your own + alternatives)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour (or milled unsweetened coconut flakes/shreds)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp coconut cream (see HGN Notes)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 275 F with a rack placed in the center. Line a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the dry ingredients, and use a wooden spoon or rubber scraper to mix. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together the egg whites, maple syrup, coconut cream, grated ginger and vanilla until just combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and briefly work everything together with the wooden spoon or rubber scraper until the mix begins to hold together.
  4. Using a medium #40 scoop (makes about 16) or a large #20 scoop (makes about 8), portion out the macaroons onto your prepared tray -- no need to leave much space between each, as they do not spread. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through.
  5. Remove the tray from the oven when the macaroons are firm to the touch and lightly golden on top. Cool on the tray for 2 minutes before serving or storing. Will keep in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week, or refrigerated up to 2 weeks.
HGN Notes
Instructions for homemade nut flour can be found in the Leftover Nut Pulp + Homemade Flour post: http://www.heathergnutrition.com/2014/10/16/frugal-files-leftover-nut-pulp-diy-flour/.

If you don't want/need milk, a quicker method than the above is to run 1 cup raw nuts -- pecans, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc. (or seeds, to make them nut-free) -- through a food processor or high-speed blender on high until a fine meal is achieved.

Coconut cream can be purchased in the store, but is often loaded with preservatives, stabilizers and sometimes added sugar. There are 2 tricks to make your own at home:
1. Chill a can of full fat coconut milk for several hours in the refrigerator; NOT the freezer. The thick part that separates and rises to the top is your coconut cream. Spoon that off, and reserve the remaining milk for other uses.
2. You can also make your own: Soak 1 part unsweetened coconut shreds or flakes with 1 part hot water for 10 to 20 minutes. Let cool, then puree in a high-powered blender for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture is fairly smooth. Strain through a cheesecloth or fine sieve, squeezing or pressing out as much liquid as possible. After refrigerating this coconut milk for several hours, you can proceed as indicated in option 1 above.

MORE IDEAS
+ Dip the bottoms of the macaroons into melted chocolate, return to the lined baking tray, and refrigerate 5 to 10 minutes until set. Feeling extra decadent? Drizzle any remaining melted chocolate over the tops.
+ Whip the egg whites and maple syrup into a meringue before mixing into the dry ingredients to yield a crunchier macaroon.
+ Fold chopped nuts, seeds, chocolate, or dried fruits into the macaroon "batter" before portioning out.
Nutrition Info
Serving Size: 1 large (or 2 small) Calories: 148 Fat: 11 Saturated fat: 4 Unsaturated fat: 7 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 10 Sugar: 6 Sodium: 18 Fiber: 2 Protein: 4 Cholesterol: 0

Recipe adapted from Happy Hearted Kitchen.

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