Tis the season for baking and all holiday goodness! We are very limited with our holiday baking this year with the kitchen remodel but these will still be at our gatherings as I made a few ahead that are in the freezer and they are quick and easy to whip up. Not a traditional “Christmas Cookie” but they are festive as the coconut reminds me of snow and the bright red cranberries dress them up. Dip them in dark chocolate (or white) and they are all dressed up and formal. Ok not really but they are a delicious treat that only use a few whole food ingredients. They are also gluten free, grain free, vegan, nut free, soy free, and free of the top 8 allergens so they are great for holiday parties and get togethers! We have many friends and family with allergies, sensitivities, or dietary restrictions so I always try to make sure we have a few choices that are great for everyone. Bake them up in minutes or you can even make a no bake version rolling them into balls, freezing them, and then completely dipping into chocolate! S really wanted French macaroons for her birthday which I couldn’t make without the kitchen and I am hoping to whip up before Christmas but if not I’m hoping she will settle for these Cranberry Macaroons. As the girls already taste tested them and like them I’m hoping so. While they aren’t the same as cookies we usually have with hot cocoa I have to say they pair nicely with white or regular hot cocoa, as well as a glass of wine. Cheers to that and getting even more antioxidants since there aren’t that many cranberries in these!
Makes 2 dozen
4c shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBSP maple syrup
1/3c dried cranberries
1 TBSP white chocolate coconut butter, or plain coconut butter (Sweet Spreads White Chocolate CocoNutter)
1/2c dairy free dark chocolate, chopped OR closer 1 1/2c if making no bake version (used Vega Maca Chocolate Bar and Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips)
Preheat oven to 350F* and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside. Add coconut to a food processor or high speed blender and blend, scraping down sides as needed, until not quite coconut butter (about 2 mins). You want the texture to feel like a dough if you squeeze it between your fingers. Pulse in cranberries until finely chopped and incorporated. Add in maple syrup, vanilla, and coconut butter and process until just incorporated. Scoop out rounded tablespoons of the mixture and roll into balls. Place the balls on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes*, or until the edges/bottoms are golden brown. Let macaroons cool on baking sheet. Once the macaroons have cooled melt chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave in 30 second increments. Dip the bottom quarter or third of the macaroons in the chocolate. Be careful as the macaroons can be fragile. Place macaroons on a parchment-lined plate and repeat. Once chocolate has set remove and place in an airtight container. Macaroons are best fresh but they will keep at room temp for about a week, or in the freezer for longer storage. Enjoy!
Optionally you can freeze these instead of baking them! Make as above but place on a baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour or until solid. Melt 2-3 times as much chocolate and roll balls into chocolate, return to baking sheet and freeze. Store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to enjoy!
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