This year at work, I was part of a gluten free treat exchange. I’ve always wanted to do a treat exchange, so I was excited to be a part of it, and also I was a little overwhelmed at the idea of having to make nine dozen treats! Like most things in life, once you jump in and get your hands dirty, things are never quite as stressful as they initially seem.
Given that this time of year is full of rich chocolately treats, I decided to go with something fresh and bright: lemon coconut macaroons a.k.a. ‘snoconut balls’. I absolutely love how the acid in the lemon cuts the fat in the coconut oil. This recipe showcases how versatile coconut can be, using it in shredded and oil form. And it’s such a wonderful fat for us to eat. There is of course some debate over whether saturated fats are healthy or harmful. Personally, I like to stick to the saturated fats as they are stable and can withstand heat without being damaged, as opposed to unsaturated fats, such as olive oil (monounsaturated), which is less stable and can lose its health benefits if heated too high. Plus, coconut oil is a medium-chain triglyceride which our bodies have a much easier time breaking down, providing us with a quick source of energy, as opposed to the long-chain triglycerides we get from the majority of the other fats we eat. As always, the choice is yours to make!
So, the recipe! Full disclosure: I do not use exact measurements – that’s part of the fun! Grab yourself a big bowl and play around with the ingredients and make them to your taste. To make a dozen, you’ll need:
* A bag of unsweetened shredded coconut
* Approximately a half cup of coconut oil (you may need to add more), I’ve also added coconut cream concentrate to my recipe for a richer coconut taste, but it’s not necessary
* Zest of one lemon, and juice of one lemon (depending on size, I use the juice and zest of 1.5-2 lemons for extra zing)
* raw honey to taste (I use a small amount as I personally don’t like the
macaroons to be too sweet)
* pinch of pink Himalayan rock salt
Melt the coconut oil and honey over low heat and dump into a mixing bowl with your shredded coconut (and add coconut cream concentrate if you’ve chosen to use it), add your lemon juice and lemon zest and pinch of salt and then use your hands to combine really well – taste as you go! If the mixture is warm from the melted coconut oil, let it cool a bit. Try rolling in your hands – if they’re not forming easily, then add more coconut oil. Form into balls and store in the freezer!
and psssst... you can make and eat them all year round : )