Coconut macaroons are a great addition to any festive occasion, and a good, healthy and guilt-free snack or dessert. They are one of the simplest desserts you can make with just four ingredients plus it’s ready in less than 30 minutes (unless you decide to prepare your coconut entirely from scratch. Then it entails a lot of labor, but the result is definitely worth it). I’ve made all sorts of recipes with store-bought shredded coconut or coconut flakes for years, but this year I took on a new challenge. I had my husband crack open fresh coconuts we harvested from our garden (one of the many benefits of living in the tropics), scraped out the white inside myself, then roasted it on low heat in the oven for about 30 minutes, and finally shredded it using my coffee grinder. That process alone took me about a day, but everybody agreed they could taste the difference. Coconut itself has plenty of health and nutritional benefits, and adding dark chocolate on top only increases these.
Ingredients (yields about 20 pieces):
• 2.5 cups fresh or dry coconut, shredded
• 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour (or coconut flour as gluten-free alternative)
• 4 oz cream of coconut
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 oz quality dark chocolate for topping, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- In a medium size bowl, mix together flour and coconut. Stir in cream of coconut and vanilla extract until all ingredients are well blended. Use an ice cream scoop or round spoon to scoop up the dough and arrange the pieces on prepared cookie sheets.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until edges are getting golden.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool off entirely.
- Melt dark chocolate and mix in about half teaspoon of olive oil. Use small spoon to pour chocolate mixture over the top of baked macaroons or dip the macaroons into the chocolate. Refrigerate for about ten minutes before serving.
Health and nutritional benefits of coconut
Coconut is a great source of dietary fiber, an excellent source of manganese, it also contains iron, phosphorus, potassium, traces of zinc, calcium and magnesium. Coconut also has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-parasitic properties, helps to support the immune system and helps maintain healthy bones and teeth.
Health and nutritional benefits of chocolate
Dark chocolate with its high cocoa content can positively affect blood circulation and blood pressure. Chemicals naturally found in dark chocolate may even keep cholesterol from gathering in blood vessels, reducing the risk of blood clots, clogged arteries therefore stroke and heart attack. Also, dark chocolate contains antioxidants that help reduce cell damage.