Sunday, May 15, 2011

Coconut Macaroons

I’ve been playing with a new favorite flour lately: amaranth. It’s high in protein and iron, with a slightly nutty flavor, which makes it both healthy and fun for experiments. I love how amaranth lends a multigrain aspect to breads and cookies without becoming intrusively flavorful, like buckwheat or quinoa. This means it’s perfect for even lighter baked goods, such as macaroons. If you serve buckwheat macaroons to guests who lack a health food background, they’re probably not going to like them. Amaranth is Stealth Health.

These macaroons don’t contain enough amaranth flour to really claim they’re “healthy.” However, they are gluten-free, vegan, and chewy, and will be snatched up by your guests quicker than you can elaborate on any of their other qualities. The amaranth contrasts light nuttiness to the vanilla and coconut, providing these macaroons with a gorgeous flavor both basic and complex.

Coconut Macaroons
Coconut Macaroons
Makes about 40

3/4 cup vanilla sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 Tbls maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp sea salt
3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup amaranth flour

Preheat oven to 350F. Coconut oil parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Mix together sugar, coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and sea salt. Stir in coconut until well-coated. Add flours and mix very well, using your hands if needed. Mix until uniform.

Using a 1-inch scoop or 1 Tbls measuring spoon, scoop macaroons into small domes, forming with your hands if needed. Be sure to pack the coconut mixture into the scoop hard or the macaroons may crumble later after baking.

Arrange on cookie sheet closely together, but not touching. They grow only slightly. Bake about 15-20 minutes, rotating cookie sheet once halfway through. Macaroons are done when they're golden all over. Be careful not to burn the bottoms.

Serve warm or room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.