It’s the beginning of the year so everyone is still trying hard to be virtuous and healthy. Which means that the type of dessert I would normally take when invited to dinner is less welcome than at other times of the year. I have tried quite a few “healthy” versions of different desserts and most are good. The main issue I have with them is the majority are raw and I like to bake: it’s more about processing and assembling than baking.
One of my Christmas presents, from my brother and his wife, was a cookbook I had never heard of, The Happy Pear, which is very much in the new style of vegetarian, healthy cookery. Imagine an Irish male twin version of Deliciously Ella: they are just as attractive and healthy-looking as she is so you are immediately inspired to try what is obviously working so well for them. I have been loving trying out recipes like their Greek pumpkin, feta and filo pie, the Spanish chickpea and potato bake and the Sri Lankan veg curry. And there are so many more in the book I want to try. The desserts are mainly raw but there are a few that require some baking, and a few even contain eggs. These macaroons are a “clean” version of the macaroons I knew as a kid: the type that came on rice paper rather than the French ones that have been recently re-branded as macarons… These have no eggs or refined sugar and I took them as a dessert along with pineapple with mint sugar (so the mint sugar defeats the point but you could leave out the sugar) and Greek yogurt. Alternatively they make a great treat with a cup of coffee. They were a big hit.
I have also tried their Avocado Chocolate Mousse Cake, which is raw, sugar-free, dairy-free and egg-free. The base is processed nuts and dates and the topping is essentially avocado, agave and cocoa powder. I took this as a dessert when I was invited to dinner recently and despite all of us actively wanting to embrace this style of dessert it wasn’t a great hit. So I’m sticking with these macaroons, fresh pineapple and Greek yogurt the next time I have to take a healthy dessert!
120g dessicated coconut
50g ground almonds
55g coconut oil
60ml maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
About 50g dark chocolate (dairy-free)
Set the oven to 140ºC and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Put the dessicated coconut and ground almonds in a large bowl and mix.
Melt the coconut oil.
Add the melted coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Use your fingers to squash small amounts of the mixture into little balls and put them onto the baking tray.
Bake for around 25 minutes, making sure to turn the tray half way through the cooking time to make sure they are evenly browned.
Leave to cool on the tray for a while before transferring to a wire rack.
When the macaroons have cooled, melt the chocolate and drizzle it over the tops. (I used a piping bag with a fine nozzle but you can just use a spoon).