Saturday, September 20, 2014

Chocolate Balsamic Coconut Macaroons

Today we have coconut macaroons on the blog, because who doesn't love macaroons, right?  I happen to be a really big fan of these chewy little bites, and I love them even more when they're studded with tiny chocolate chips and a touch of balsamic.  As good as that sounds, that's actually not the true reason why I made macaroons this past weekend.  The true reason I made them, is because they're gluten-free.

Now, I don't have an intolerance to gluten (thankfully), but more and more people are developing an intolerance as time goes on.  My mom seems to be one of them.  Due to other various health issues (not Celiac's), my mom has chosen to eliminate gluten (and possibly dairy) from her diet, and it's made a world of difference.  Simply eliminating foods with gluten has done wonders for my mom in just a few days, and she says she's feeling so much better now that she's avoiding bread and pasta.  Unfortunately, it also means she will have to avoid almost everything that I bake for this little blog.

I'd feel like a terrible daughter if my mom could only watch from a distance as I bake and taste all my treats, so from now on, I'm going to be doing a lot more experimentation with gluten-free and dairy-free baking.  That's not to say that I'm shifting gears and my baking perspective, but there will definitely be gluten-free and dairy-free treats every now and then.  I never experimented with this kind of baking before, because I never really felt a need to; it sounds a little selfish, but now that food intolerances are hitting close to home, I feel a need to do some research and experimentation.  Because gluten-free baking is completely new to me, I figured I would start out with something super simple that is already naturally gluten-free.  Macaroons were the perfect starting point; they're naturally gluten-free because they're only made with shredded coconut, sugar, and egg whites.  

These macaroons take only a few quick moments to whip up.  Egg whites, sugar, a pinch of salt, and a little balsamic glaze are whisked together until frothy, and then shredded coconut and mini chocolate chips are folded in.  The coconut mixture is portioned out onto baking sheets, baked, and that's it!  The tiny cookies need only a few minutes in the oven to turn a light golden brown color, and once they've cooled, they're ready to eat.  The balsamic glaze, while a little odd-sounding, is actually a very welcome addition to the macaroons.  Because coconut macaroons tend to be on the sweeter side, due to the shredded coconut and sugar, the balsamic glaze adds a slight tang that pairs nicely with the chocolate and offsets the sweetness of the cookies. It's a subtle flavor, but it works.  

My mom loved these macaroons, and she managed to eat all of them within a day or so of me making them.  My mom is coconut obsessed, so she was happy to get to indulge in a  homemade sweet that was naturally gluten-free.  I plan on doing a lot of reading up on gluten-free baking, and hope to post more gluten-free recipes in the future, especially for baked goods that aren't naturally gluten free, because I'm sure my mama will be craving cake at some point!  Until then though, I think she'll be satisfied if I keep making her batches of coconut macaroons. With a recipe that's this simple to prepare, there's no reason not to make them often! Macaroons don't have the best shelf life, so plan to eat these within two to three days of making them, although they probably won't last that long.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Balsamic Macaroons
recipe from Food52


2 egg whites 
1 tablespoon balsamic glaze
2 teaspoons sugar
large pinch sea salt
7 oz (1 bag) sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the middle of the oven.  Line two baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, balsamic glaze, sugar, and salt until frothy. Fold in the coconut and chocolate chips.  Drop the mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets.  Using wet hands, shape the spoonfuls into small mounds (they don't need to be compact balls, they just need to come together onto the baking sheet).  

Bake the macaroons for 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Transfer the baking sheets to a wire rack and allow the macaroons to cool for five minutes before transferring them from the baking sheet to the wire rack to cool completely.  Enjoy!

Makes 24 macaroons


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