Ask Chef Phyllis:
Ever since I was a little girl, I remember having cherry macaroons for Valentine’s Day. I think my mother bought them in a candy store like Loft’s—not a bakery shop because they had chocolate drizzled on the top of them—but I can’t be sure. I would like to make them at home to surprise my children. Are they difficult to make? Can they be made gluten free? Please keep it easy for a challenged baker.
—Christina Lynch from Morristown NJ
Macaroons are a great classic cookie known the world over. They’re rich in flavor and very satisfying. This recipe is particularly unique because of the healthy and organic ingredients. We know that coconut is a good source of dietary fiber and iron, and the ground almonds give it the texture we crave. And to top it all off, we have chocolate drizzle. Even so, this recipe is still healthier than most because it calls for honey instead of refined sugar. And it’s gluten free! Happy St. Valentine’s Day!
Cherry Almond Macaroons
This recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies.
½ cup egg whites at room temperature (about 4–5 large eggs)
1 pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons raw, unfiltered honey
1 cup ground almonds (almost pulverized) or 1 cup almond flour
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ cup dried tart cherries, coarsely chopped
2 oz. or more melted bittersweet chocolate, for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil. Set aside.
- Beat egg whites and sea salt with an electric mixer until they form stiff peaks. Add honey, and if necessary beat mixture again to regain the stiff peaks.
- Gently fold in the ground almonds, coconut, almond extract, and chopped cherries. Using a tablespoon, scoop the batter onto the prepared baking sheet. Mound the cookies with your fingers if necessary to keep their shape.
- Bake 10–12 minutes, or until cookies are golden and only slightly browned.
- Allow macaroons to cool completely on the parchment paper. Once they have cooled, dip a fork in the melted chocolate and drizzle away back and forth over the cookies.
To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:
- chemical- and hormone-free meat
- wild-caught fish
- pasture-raised, organic eggs
- whole, unrefined grains
- virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
- whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
- pure, clean, spring water
- sea salt
- raw and/or cultured milk and cream products
Photo by Phyllis Quinn