Chocolate Macaroon Heaven

Standing in line at The Common Crow, our local health food store, I spy a tiny package of chocolate coconut macaroons.  There are 3 in the package.  The total net weight is two ounces.  But they are chocolate orange macaroons.  I can already feel my mouth watering when one of the cashiers sidles up to me.

“Those are so delicious.  I eat the whole package every time.”

With that confession, I think, it’s only two ounces.  Who wouldn’t?  The price is $2.99 and I cringe as I plunk the treat beside the rest of my order.  I open the package as I am driving home and try one.  It’s pretty good—the flavor is what I crave in a good macaroon, but they are a little too sweet and the texture is decidedly fudge-y.  I remember macaroons with a crunchiness to them, the coconut tender and crisp all at once.  I don’t bother eating the other two.  When I return home, I rush into my kitchen and start lunch.  While the quinoa and tempeh steam, I riffle through the baking cupboard and begin to assemble ingredients to make a better version of my favorite cookie.

I have been searching for a raw chocolate vegan macaroon for a couple of years.  I have scoured the internet, reading one recipe after another.  Most have either too many ingredients, or ingredients that are challenging to find.  I don’t own a dehydrator, which leaves out a lot of the recipes I found.  I like the ones sold at Rawbert’s Organic Garden Cafe in Beverly, but they cost $2.75 each, too much to buy a dozen without feeling guilty.  And theirs still lack something in their texture that makes me think I can do better.  So I do.

I pull down my Nana’s little striped mixing bowl and grab a couple of measuring tools, in case I really do nail it.  I gather unsweetened coconut, almond meal, agave nectar, cocoa powder, coconut oil and an orange.  I place the jar of coconut oil in the microwave to melt.  I measure the ingredients into the bowl and try to stir. I give up on mixing with a spoon and instead, sink my fingers into the raw cookie dough to mix it thoroughly.  I use a mini ice cream scoop to make balls, and press the dough firmly into the half-round before releasing it onto waxed paper.  In a few minutes, there are a baker’s dozen chocolate orange macaroons on my cutting board.  I call my husband in to be taste-tester while I quickly write down exactly what I did.

He tries the one from the store first, chewing thoughtfully.

“That’s pretty good.  Yeah.”

He swallows and then tastes mine.

“Oh, yeah!  Yours are great.  I love the texture.  The flavor is great, too.”

He proceeds to scour every drawer and cupboard for something to press my cookies into a denser ball.  I am not interested.  I like the light, crisp coconut, the rich, dark chocolate, the hint of orange just the way it is in my cookie.  He turns to go back into his office.  He leaves the half bite of store cookie on the counter and grabs another one of mine to take with him.

Raw Chocolate Orange Macaroons

Ingredients:

1 c organic shredded unsweetened coconut

1/2 c organic almond meal

1/4 c organic raw cocoa powder

3 T organic agave nectar

2 T melted organic coconut oil

zest of 1 orange

1/2 t orange extract

Method:

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine shredded coconut, almond meal, cocoa powder and orange zest.  Add agave nectar, coconut oil and orange extract.  Mix with fingers until completely combined.  Using a mini ice cream scoop or a measuring tablespoon, press the dough into balls.  Place on a plate or a piece of waxed paper.  Store in a container in refrigerator (if they get that far).  Makes 13 macaroons.

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