time for macaroons

march is quickly becoming a busy month.  i’ve been trying to keep to up with the various holidays, celebrations, and observances.  last week was st. patty’s day, this week passover begins, and next weekend is easter.  i feel the urge to make something for each event because in some capacity or another my family celebrates each one.  so, for passover, i decided to make macaroons.  i chose to make 3 different kinds of macaroons.  why make something more difficult than it has to be? because that’s what i’m good at.

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this is the first time i’ve made macaroons.  i never really liked them until a few years ago when i developed a liking for coconut.  here, i provide 3 different recipes; the first two are egg white based, and the last one is egg and nut free.  the first recipe, coconut macaroons, were a little plain.  so, i decided to dunk them in chocolate sauce…soo (extra o for emphasis) much better.  the almond-coconut macaroons were pretty good;  next time i might add more almonds, and a bit more almond extract.  lastly, the chocolate macaroons.  these are by far my favorite.  i decided to dunk 5 of the 9 macaroons in chocolate because i had some leftover, and because chocolate-chocolate macaroons are naturally better than chocolate macaroons.

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// coconut macaroons

adapted from elana’s pantry

makes about 24

pre heat oven 350°

line a baking sheet with parchment

ingredients:

3 large egg whites

1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/4 cup agave nectar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

directions:

with an electric mixer, beat egg whites with salt until the whites form a peak – about 5-6 minutes

fold in agave, vanilla, and coconut with a spatula

using a tablespoon, scoop macaroon balls onto parchment paper leaving about 1 inch between each cookie

bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned

can be stored in an air tight container for about 3 days, or they can be frozen for up to one month

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// almond-coconut macaroons

adapted from martha stewart

makes 16

pre heat oven 350°

line a baking sheet with parchment

ingredients:

1/4 cup agave nectar

1 large egg white

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup whole almonds, chopped

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

pinch of salt

directions:

in a large bowl, whisk agave and white.  stir in the remaining ingredients

using a tablespoon measurement, scoop macaroon balls onto parchment paper leaving about 1 inch between each cookie

bake until top and bottoms are lightly browned, 15 minutes

can be stored in an air tight container for about 3 days, or they can be frozen for up to one month

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// chocolate macaroons

adapted from against all grain

makes 9

pre heat oven 350°

line a baking sheet with parchment

ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons agave nectar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon full fat coconut milk

in a medium sized bowl, combine coconut, cocoa powder, and salt

in a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients.  combine using a spatula, work the coconut oil into the mixture until smooth

add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  mix until combined

using a tablespoon, scoop macaroon balls onto parchment paper leaving about 1 inch between each cookie

bake for 10 minutes – allow to cool before removing from baking sheet

can be stored in an air tight container for about 3 days, or they can be frozen for up to one month

// chocolate sauce

1/2 cup dark chocolate (either chips or a bar)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

directions:

set a heat proof bowl over simmering water

add the chocolate and coconut oil

use a spoon or whisk to stir until melted

remove from heat and dunk the bottoms, tops, or sides of macaroons

with help from a spoon or spatula, lift the macaroon out of the chocolate sauce

place macaroons on a parchment lined baking sheet or platter.  when all the macaroons are dipped, place in the refrigerator for an hour or so

serve at room temp and enjoy (*if you’re freezing them, seal in an air tight container.  set on counter and thaw a couple hours before serving.)

roons

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chocolate stout skillet brownies

i think my first baking endeavor was baking boxed brownies, either duncan hines, or betty crocker.  i would make them with my mom when i was little, we would load them with chopped walnuts or pecans, and top them off with a dusty coating of powdered sugar. nothing was better! i continued to make them on my own as i got older, often baking them for holidays, and birthdays.  i was always successful until i made a series of bad brownies.  from those times on i started to make brownies from scratch.  as i got to know my ingredients, i loved that brownies were so simple and yet the slightest increase or decrease of an ingredient yielded a totally different, but equally delicious outcome.  there’s nothing better than a really good brownie!

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this recipe hails from the archives of The Beeroness.  a blog dedicated to delicious recipes, both savory and sweet, that incorporate all kinds of beer.  so, who better to turn to when you have a 3 week old chocolate stout beer sitting in your fridge waiting to be  used.  not only did i love this recipe because it called for beer, but i liked the fact that the ingredients were easily interchangeable.  i substituted  coconut oil for butter, coconut palm sugar for cane sugar , and oat flour for unbleached flour.  the results were really good…surprisingly.  i didn’t know if the oat flour would make the brownies too dry, or if the coconut oil’s scent would be too strong, but both worked really well here.  these are not so much a dense brownie, rather, they are a more cake-y brownie.  they have a rich chocolate taste (thanks to some really good 70% cacao chocolate) without being too sweet.  i urge you not to skimp on the chocolate, the lower the percentage of cacao, the less richness you will have.

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adapted from The Beeroness

1/2 cup coconut oil

3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (preferably 70% cacao)

1/2 cup chocolate stout

2 eggs

2/3 cup coconut palm sugar

1 tablespoon decaf espresso

1/2 cup oat flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of fine grain sea salt

preheat oven to 350°

heat a 8 or 10 inch cast iron (or oven safe) skillet, on low.  melt the coconut oil on low, once melted add the chocolate – stir until melted.  remove from heat and stir in the chocolate stout

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in a medium bowl, combine the eggs and sugar – whisk until combined.  add flour, cocoa, baking powder, espresso, and salt, to the egg mixture – whisk until combined.  now add to the stout mixture – stir gently until ingredients are combined

place in the middle of the rack and bake 25-32 minutes – the top should be set when ready

top with some almond milk ice cream (or regular ice cream), grab a spoon, and enjoy

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♥ whoopie pies!

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i have been meaning to make these whoopie pies for a while now and thought valentine’s day was a perfect excuse to do so.  we live across the street from Baked, a bakery known for all things sweet and indulgent.  occasionally frank will get one of their whoopie pies, and even though i cannot eat them, i always find myself taking a bite (and then regretting it).  the cake is light, moist, and not too sweet. while the cream is smooth and buttery, and also not too sweet.  after tasting some other whoopie pies in and around brooklyn, frank and i both believe that Baked has mastered the art of the whoopie pie! why might you ask i try to remake something that is already perfect? i’m not attempting to outdo the Baked whoopie, i am merely trying to make a whoopie pie that i can eat without feeling ill.  some might be scared that these pies are grain-free, and gluten-free (these can easily be vegan if you replace the eggs with ground flaxseed),and that the cream is completely vegan. but fear not, frank (the man has no dietary restrictions whatsoever) has tested the whoopie pies (3 of them, in one sitting!) and he has given them his solid stamp of approval ✓

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adapted from Health-Bent

:: makes 16 cookies and 8 whoopie pies ::

pre heat oven to 350°

line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

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**just a note on the coconut milk.  do not shake the can.  the top half of the can is where the “full fat” coconut milk resides.  i usually get 3/4 cup full fat coconut milk out of a single can.  you will notice a watery looking liquid when the full fat is gone.

:: directions ::

2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup natural cocoa powder (non-dutched)

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon powder

1/2 cup full fat, canned coconut milk

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

whisk all the dry ingredients until combined

then add the coconut milk, eggs, and vanilla – mix

using a cookie scoop (i didn’t have one so i used a tablespoon), scoop even amounts of the batter onto the lined baking sheets.  make sure you leave at least 2 inches between each cookie

bake for 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through

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:: vanilla bean cream ::

3/4 cup palm shortening

3 tablespoons coconut oil

3 tablespoons raw honey (you can also use powdered sugar, or agave)

1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

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in a bowl, beat the shortening, coconut oil, vanilla bean/extract, and honey with an electric mixer.  beat for 2-3 minutes or until ingredients are combined and creamy

**let the cookies cool completely before assembling with cream

put as much or as little cream between the cookies, i put about 1/4 inch of cream – i may use more next time

i stored my whoopie pies in the fridge and took them out 15-20 minutes before serving

:: enjoy ::

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two minute chocolate cake

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so i was wanting to make a dessert for tonight but i wasn’t wanting to do much work or cleanup.  i’m sure many of you can relate to having days like this.  i was trying to think of something simple, that would still be yummy, but not make me hate the idea making it.  i remembered this easy little cake recipe that i surprised frank with one weeknight after he came home from work.  it’s a fun dessert you can get away with making anytime because you don’t need any fancy ingredients or baking pans, you just need a coffee mug.  one of frank’s favorite drinks is a cafe mocha, so this was perfect for him because it delivers chocolate in a mug.  if you can believe it, you just mix the cake mix in a mug, microwave it, and you can pop it right out and onto a plate or eat it out of the mug.  this is a great single serving and fast cooking dessert if you’re ever in a mood or a pinch that won’t leave you with any hassle of leftovers (and by “hassle of leftovers,” i mean no temptation to eat more than a healthy portion) or a bunch of bowls to clean.

i ended up adding some unsweetened coconut and walnuts.  but you can add whatever you like, whether it’s various nuts, espresso grounds, chocolate chips, or cinnamon. this cake will taste awesome with whatever you choose, even if you choose to keep it plain.

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adapted from Delighted Momma

:: makes 1 small cake ::

3 tablespoons almond meal (or flour of your choice)

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons raw honey (or sugar)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 egg

1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut

a handful of walnuts

a few pinches of fine grain sea salt

:: directions (or lack thereof) ::

mix all the ingredients in a large coffee mug until combined. (i would use a small spatula or a spoon.)

place in the center of your microwave oven.  cook for 2 minutes.

cool for a minute or 2.

:: enjoy ::

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whole wheat chocolate chip cookies

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this is a variation of a recipe that i make often. however, i got inspired to make these delicious cookies with coconut oil, in lieu of butter, after a conversation i had with my mom. i figured if i was going to go butter-free, then i might as well try egg-free as well, and use ground flaxseed meal. basically, this is an almost vegan cookie. to make it entirely vegan simply use vegan chocolate, and vegan sugar. in addition, i substituted regular cane sugar for coconut palm sugar, because its low glycemic index. the end product -to my immense surprise – was a complete and utter success! not only are these cookies chewy, but they are crunchy as well. there is also a slight hint of coconut when you’re finished chewing. all-in-all this recipe can be made with ingredient replacements or not. either way, these are yummy and super satisfying.

adapted from the Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe from Good to the Grain

:: make about 17 cookies ::

pre heat to 350°

adjust the racks to the upper and lower thirds of your oven (i baked my cookies one sheet at a time because my oven cooks unevenly).

line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

:: dry mix ::

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup oat flour (you can substitute any other flour or use 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat – i’ve used almond flour with good results)

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

:: wet mix ::

1/2 cup unmelted coconut oil (or 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp)

1/2 cup dark brown sugar (i use dark brown muscovado sugar, regular brown sugar works fine as well)

1/2 coconut palm sugar (or raw cane sugar)

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal (or one egg)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 ounces (1/2 cup) bittersweet chocolate (you can use a chocolate bar and chop it, or use chocolate chips)

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:: directions ::

in a bowl combine the dry ingredients and sift, or combine with a whisk.

in a separate bowl combine both sugars and add the coconut oil. use a hand mixer on low to combine until the ingredients are blended, about 2 minutes.

add the flaxseed meal (to activate the flax, combine 1 tablespoon flax meal with 3 tablespoons water. let it sit for about 5 minutes), and mix until combined. next, mix in the vanilla.

add the dry mix to the wet mix, and blend on low until the ingredients are combined, about 30 seconds. make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. add the chocolate and use a spatula to mix in.

depending on what ingredients you are you using, you may need to scrape the batter out onto a work surface to fully incorporate your ingredients.

scoop mounds of dough on the parchment lined baking sheets. (i used a tablespoon to make even balls of cookie dough.) leave about 2 inches between each cookie.

bake the cookies for 16-20 minutes rotating the sheets halfway through. cookies will be dark brown when fully baked.

:: enjoy ::

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maple syrup almond meal scones

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tonight we are heading off to north carolina where frank’s grandfather will be inducted into the north carolina tennis hall of fame.  it will be a quick trip, but we will both be happy to spend time with his family, as we don’t often get to do.  because airport food is a nightmare for me – there is frequently nothing there that is substantial to eat and also digestible – i decided to make these scones to snack on.  they are grain-free, meaning that they contain zero flour of any kind.  rather, they are made with almond meal.  i have dabbled with almond meal, substituting parts of recipes with it, and once making chocolate chip cookies with it.  the almond meal yields a slightly denser cookie, and a less flaky scone.   in any event, almond meal has proven to be a good replacement and easier to digest!

recipe adapted from Delighted Momma

::dry mix::

2 cups almond meal

¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup currants (or fruit of your choosing)

¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

::wet mix::

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 egg

::directions::

preheat oven to 375 degrees

in a large bowl combine the dry ingredients: almond meal, salt, baking soda, currants, coconut

in a small bowl combine the wet ingredients: maple syrup and egg

combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir until mixed (I would suggest using a spatula, the mixed ingredients can be sticky)

turn dough onto the counter and form a round disk about an inch thick – cut into 8 slices

place slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

bake for 10-12 until lightly golden

::enjoy::

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