Friday, November 23, 2012

Chocolate Almond-Coconut Macaroons

Today I experimented with making a macaroon cookie using the beautiful shredded unsweetened coconut I purchased recently from Tropical Traditions (they call them "coconut flakes").  It looks more like the longer shreds of coconut that I am used to using (minus the sugar) instead of the short, very dry pulverized "shredded" unsweetened coconut that I've found and purchased at my local grocery stores.  I snapped a photo of both kinds that I have so you can see the difference I am talking about.  One of my favorite combination of flavors is chocolate, coconut and roasted almonds (much like the flavors in Almond Joy candy bars).  So, I decided to make chocolate macaroons with coarsely chopped roasted almonds.  I made a small batch of 12 to test them out, and really don't want a lot more of them hanging around since my taste for "sweets" (even without sugar and wheat) is drastically reduced.  After the first couple of months of eliminating wheat, grains and sugar, I found that I just didn't crave them any more.  I enjoy them as more of an occasional indulgence rather than a daily or regular one.

In this recipe, I measured 1/4 cup of whole almonds (that I roasted on low heat in the oven for about 20 minutes to bring out their roasty/toasty flavor).  I coarsely chopped them by pulsing them slightly in my little Magic Bullet, but you could also chop them coarsely by hand too.  I used Ghirardelli's 100% cacao unsweetened "premium baking bar" as well as their "premium unsweetened cocoa" for the chocolate in this recipe.  To compensate for using unsweetened chocolate instead of semi-sweet or bittersweet, I added some alcohol free liquid stevia drops.  For me personally, it is the only liquid stevia that I really like because it has used to have no bitterness (they changed their formula in 2013).  I learned about it from another low carb site and blogger several years ago and began using it because they highly recommended it, and after trying it for myself, agreed.  I have also tried the "stevia glycerite" that's recommended and used regularly on another site and I just don't care for the taste or texture of it at all whatsoever.  You may have a particular brand or type that you prefer, so just substitute that in this recipe.  I like to state what kind of products I actually use in my recipes if I think that they actually make a difference in the way the final product will taste or turn out.  As most of us that use sugar substitutes already know too well, they are vastly different in taste (or aftertaste).  There are some you really like and some you really don't.  For granular sweeteners, I have successfully used Truvia, Zsweet, and Swerve and also have a bag of NuNaturals erythritol and a bottle of their pure stevia powder that I have not yet tried.  There is also a small bag of xylitol on the shelf that I haven't tried yet -- partly because of the stomach issues it causes in some people as well as the danger to pets.

These macaroons contain no added sugar, wheat or grains.  I intentionally reduced the Swerve by about 1 tablespoon in my batch since my "sweet tooth" is so drastically reduced now.  I've included the full amount in the recipe below.  Both hubby and I really liked these Chocolate Almond-Coconut Macaroons.  We found them slightly crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside.  Besides getting the chewy/crunchy texture of the coconut, you also get the additional nutty crunch and toasty flavor of the roasted almonds all coated with the flavor of rich dark chocolate.  Even though my hubby is not wheat, grain and sugar free, he commented that "these are some of the best things you've ever made and they don't taste any different than you'd expect from ordinary macaroons".  Coming from him (someone that still consumes/enjoys wheat and sugar) speaks even more loudly to me because he still found these absolutely delicious too.  I've snapped a few photos below as well as the recipe.  Enjoy!

This is the coconut I used in these macaroons
This is the liquid stevia I prefer I don't like any more (they changed the formula in 2013) -- Notice the coconut comparison (on the left is what I find in my grocery store and the coconut on the right is what I purchased from Tropical Traditions)
Shredded coconut, melted chocolate, cocoa powder and Swerve
Close-up pic of the batter
"Uncooked macaroons" ready to be popped in the oven
Out of the oven and cooled

Chocolate Almond-Coconut Macaroons


1 oz. Ghirardelli 100% Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Bar (total 2 squares)
1/8 cup (which is 2 tablespoons) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (I use Ghirardelli)
1/4 cup PLUS 1/8 cup egg whites (or Egg Beater type substitute)
1/4 cup PLUS 2 tablespoons Swerve sweetener (total of 6 tablespoons Swerve   
      sweetener or equivalent to 6 tablespoons of sugar)
14-21 drops liquid stevia (or sweetener equivalent to 2-3 teaspoons sugar)
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup roasted whole unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
1-1/4 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (longer shreds if you can find them)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  In a small glass custard cup or bowl, melt chocolate in the microwave for about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes (do this in 30 second intervals), stirring just until melted and smooth.  Be careful not to overheat and burn or scorch the chocolate.  This can also be done in a double boiler over hot water on the stove, if preferred.

In a medium bowl, add egg whites (or Egg Beaters/substitute), sifted cocoa powder, Swerve sweetener (or sweetener of choice), pinch of salt and vanilla extract; whisk well to combine thoroughly.   Add approximately 14 to 21 drops of liquid stevia (or liquid sweetener equivalent to 2 to 3 teaspoons of sugar) and whisk in well. 

Stir in shredded coconut, coarsely ground roasted almonds, and cooled melted chocolate, folding in quickly with a rubber spatula until everything is well coated and blended (blend quickly so the melted chocolate does not begin hardening when hitting the cooler mixture). 

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto a cookie sheet lined with non-stick foil or parchment paper, spaced approximately 1 inch apart.  Bake at 325 F for approximately 15-17 minutes or just until set when touched.  Let cool completely on cookie sheet.  Makes 1 dozen macaroons.

***Note:  If you don't have liquid egg whites or substitute, you can use the egg white of 2 eggs. Also, if you like your macaroons softer, reduce baking time by a minute or 2.  If you like them sweeter or less sweet you can add or reduce the amount of sweetener used. 


Anonymous said...

Those look delicious and congratulations on your success. I'm wondering, though, if you have to use much portion control on WB since you clearly are such a creative and gifted cook. Just starting WB myself, and I'm wondering how such if weight loss is obtained simply by giving up wheat products, or if protion control/calories play into it. Id certainly appreciate any advice you could share.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi! I can honestly tell you that I have had absolutely NO portion control whatsoever and I have not counted one single calorie. What does happen though, rather surprisingly, is that once you have eliminated wheat/grains/sugar, after a few weeks your appetite naturally drops and you no longer crave things like before. So, you literally end up eating when you are hungry and it is easy to stop when you are full. I eat plenty of food -- I just no longer crave the sweets and junk that I used to -- and I eat more fat now than I ever have before. I honestly did not believe it would really work and decided to give it 2 months and if it didn't work, then I would at least know for myself. I haven't exercised yet either. There is no harm trying it and if you don't like it after giving it a fair shot, you can always stop. I feared it would be boring and the food would be blah -- I was determined to make it not only WB compliant but tasty and beautiful too (partly to prove it to myself and partly to prove it to my family, friends, etc. who were skeptical. I can tell you though...44 lbs lost in 4 months pretty much shuts all the skeptics up quickly -- and they can see what I eat too since I post almost daily. I hope you have experience the same success that I have -- I have never been able to lose weight this fast or easily before....ever. The best advice is to make sure you have the right foods to eat and make up your menus at least a few days or a week ahead of time. If you are hungry the first few weeks while something -- nuts, cheese, etc. Don't worry about the calories -- eventually eating the right foods will take care of your appetite naturally. Do NOT let yourself be hungry at all -- particularly in the beginning. I will gladly help you or answer any questions you have, so don't ever be afraid to ask! If you want to do so privately, you can private message me on my Facebook page -- many people do that. Thanks...I am keeping my fingers crossed for you! :-)

Anonymous said...

33751Thanks for the advice. It helps immensely. Like your idea about the 2 month commitment. I"ll find you on FB. Have a great day!

Carol said...

I discovered your blog through the recipe Dr. Davis posted for your chicken pot pie. I tried it yesterday by the way, but substituted leftover turkey fro, Thanksgiving for the chicken. It turned out really well and the crust held together nicely. I have been wheat free for several months, and after finding your wonderful blog, I wondered how you were doing with the wheat elimination. A 44 pound weight loss in 4 months is really great. I have problems with the weight coming off because I travel a lot. I am trying to improve on that front, but it is difficult. Just wondered if the wheat elimination improved your auto-immune issues. I find eating wheat free has made me much healthier and given me tons more energy.


Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Carol -- So glad the chicken pot pie (with turkey) turned out well for you! I am actually planning to make that this evening for our dinner with the last of our leftover turkey. I actually weighed in today just to see whether I had any "Thanksgiving weight gain"...I was actually surprised to be down another pound making it 45 pounds lost in almost 4-1/2 months. I don't think I have ever lost weight after Thanksgiving before! :-) As far as other health improvements -- my triglycerides have drastically improved, my cholesterol has dropped by about 45 points (now normal) and feel really good. I have no aches and pains and feel good and have lots of energy. I'm looking forward to getting my lab results back that were drawn this past week to see if they've improved in the last couple of months. I'm sure it is more difficult juggling meals traveling like you do. As long as you are feeling better, if it takes a little longer to lose the weight, it is still worth it I think. Congratulations on your success too! :-)

Kare said...

These are delicious - only thing is, mine literally crumbled. What sticks them together? My coconut was definitely not as good as yours - and I used 6 tbsp of xylitol to sweeten..

Thanks for your wonderful recipes...
last night I made the cauliflower shephard's pie and it was a hit with 13 yr. old - will become a regular around here, I think..

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Kare! Sorry yours crumbled! The melted chocolate is what keeps the coconut sticking together. Also, I think the longer threads/shreds of coconut help hold it better than the shorter and drier finely grated coconut. Not sure what kind of coconut you used. Also, Swerve sort of melts like sugar -- I haven't tried using xylitol yet -- does that melt into the chocolate? I wonder if you used the shorter drier coconut -- if maybe adding a bit of coconut oil into the melted chocolate (to get it a little more liquidy) if that might help bind it together. It would be worth trying. Mine lasted over a week (I rationed them) and were still good a week later. I'm glad the shepherd's pie turned out good for you and that your 13-yr old enjoyed it. Thank you! :-)

suzi bleak said...

Just stumbled across your blog via Pinterest. I just recently became introduced to the world of wheat causing problems and am fascinated. Getting prepared to embark upon the journey. I love your style and warmth. Can't wait to try your recipes. Loves!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks so much Suzi! I wish you well on your journey and hope you find some recipes on here that you like! :-)

unter der laterne said...

You are so lucky to have lost all that weight. I am not losing any t unfortunately and am so discouraged. Maybe it is the yogurt, buttermilk and cheese I so enjoy!
Your recipes are out of this world and I feel so lucky to have found you.(your site was mentioned by a blogger on an other site). I enjoy everything that you do on your blog, the photos of the food are truly enticing! Thank you so much for your wonderful work!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Unter! Thanks for your kind remarks! How long have you been following WB? It takes some people longer than others to lose weight, so don't get too discouraged. I wish you success with the program and thank you so much for your kind comments -- they are appreciated! :-)

KellyG said...

This looks really good!. I love your recipes!.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks, Kelly -- I hope you enjoy them! :-)

Anonymous said...

I have made these several times and they are awesome! I have started using 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup as the only sweetener -it adds about 6 g of sugar to each macaroon, but I don't always like the taste of Stevia in my baked foods. These are a great addition to my gluten-free diet!!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks! So glad you are enjoying these -- that's not too bad of a sugar count either with the maple! :-)