Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Simply Smart

Your mom always told you – eat your carrots, they’ll help you see in the dark. Take your vitamins – they’ll make you smarter. Orange juice will keep your colds away. But no cookies before dinner – the sugar will rot your teeth and spoil your appetite.
Well I found a cookie that you can eat before dinner – it won’t spoil your appetite, rot your teeth and, guess what – even has fruit and veggies in it! Not to mention that these carrot and orange juice laced versions of the traditional coconut macaroon are delicious, vegan and gluten free to boot. With only two tablespoons of added sweetener in the mix, there’s no chance of a sugar “high” or “crash” – especially since the healthy fats in the coconut and almond butter buffer the glucose a bit. The original recipe came from one of the magazines I was reading in my doctor’s office – Canadian Family – and it only took a tiny bit of tweaking to suit my needs and wants. It’s such a simple formula too, with only 3 steps, and kids can make it with the barest minimum of parental guidance (no doubt why it was in the magazine!). As a bonus, the cookies were safe for everyone to enjoy when I took them into my hair salon when I had an appointment one day – and they helped use up a forgotten bag of coconut I found lurking in the back of our deep freezer!

I found the almond butter I added to this to be a great pairing with the nuttiness of the coconut and the earthiness of the carrots. I also used an unsweetened, natural kind (stirred very well and heated until just shy of runny), which helped cap the sodium and sugar levels too. I had the pliable, easy to spoon and pack coconut sugar on hand too, which has a delicate, exotic flavour all it’s own – but I’m sure brown sugar would be just fine. I’d love to try making this with creamed coconut in place of the margarine and macadamia for the almond butter too, which would add a world of tropical flavour! Unfortunately both my skin reactions to coconut and my student-poor pocketbook will have to recover before I dare venturing into those waters... but if you do, let me know how it turns out!

Gluten - Free Carrot-Coconut Macaroons
Adapted from Canadian Family
Makes 24
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
¼ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
¼ cup almond butter, stirred well and heated until soft
1 tbsp soft coconut palm sugar
2 tbsp non-hydrogenated margarine
2 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp fresh-grated ginger
1 tbsp maple syrup

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Roll into 20 balls and bake for 28 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 61.0
Total Fat: 4.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 6.5 mg
Total Carbs: 6.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.4 g
Protein: 1.0 g


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