Posts Tagged 'Dairy-Free Cookie Recipes'

Coconut-Apricot Macaroons

Coconut lovers, this one’s for you.

I’ve had Coconut-Apricot Macaroons from the April 2008 issue of Everyday Food on my holiday cookie radar for a few weeks now, but I had extra motivation to try them last night.  The dinner party I had to cancel a few weeks ago due to The Sickness is finally happening, and while we’re still having the Almond Torte as planned, I thought it would be fun to have a plate of macaroons on the side.  (They keep for a week in an airtight container, so yay for make-ahead recipes.)  Also, I have a dear friend who needed some dairy-free cookie exchange recipe ideas, but I felt kind of silly recommending a recipe I hadn’t tried.  Thankfully, the macaroons were super easy and they turned out beautifully.

To make them, I started by separating three large eggs.  (You’ll only need the whites, but you can reserve the yolks for later use if you want.)  I prefer to bake with room-temperature ingredients, so I let the whites sit (covered) in a small container on the counter for 30 minutes.

When the time was up, I whisked together the egg whites, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract (optional, and I reduced it from 3/4 teaspoon), and 1/4 teaspoon of table salt in a large bowl until it was frothy (about 1 minute).  I added 1 package (14 ounces) of sweetened flaked coconut and 1/2 cup of finely chopped soft dried apricots, stirring until everything was well combined.

After I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper, I used my clean hands to form the mixture into mounds equal to about 2 level tablespoons.  (I have a 1/8-cup measuring cup, so that helped.)  I placed the mounds on the baking sheet about 1/2-inch apart (they won’t spread) and baked them at 325F until they were lightly golden, rotating the baking sheet from front to back halfway through the baking time.  My baking time was 32 minutes at 5900 feet; the recipe suggested 35 – 40 minutes.  (I did use an oven thermometer to verify that my oven temperature was indeed 325F.)  Just keep an eye on them near the end of the baking time to ensure they don’t burn.  Once they came out of the oven, I used a spatula to carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

Coconut-Apricot Macaroons

Oh, coconut heaven.   The result was a tasty cookie with a perfectly light, crisp exterior and a moist, chewy interior.  I’m used to macaroons without dried fruit, so the apricot bits added a hint of unexpected sweetness here and there.  What’s funny is that these reminded me quite a bit of the Coconut Macaroon Pancakes I despised so much.  The difference is that here, I was expecting a chewy cookie; I’m not sure I’ll ever warm up to chewy pancakes. 😉  Anyway, if you’re looking for a macaroon recipe, I’d say these are a safe bet.  They’re super easy, very elegant, and definitely delicious.

NOTE:  Here’s a summary of my recipe deviations: 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract instead of 3/4 teaspoon, finely chopped apricots instead of coarsely chopped, and 32 minutes of baking time instead of 35 – 40.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, they keep for a week in an airtight container.  They weren’t as crisp on the outside after a night in Tupperware, but they still had great taste and texture.

Recipe link: Coconut-Apricot Macaroons

Cinnamon Stars

It’s time for my first Christmas cookie post of the season!  I’m having a few friends over for dinner next weekend, and I can’t wait to serve up some Christmas goodies.  Today’s recipe – Cinnamon Stars from Robin on Allrecipes.com – is a special project because one of my friends doesn’t eat wheat or dairy.  She would never ask anyone to plan around her dietary restrictions, but I enjoy the challenge of coming up with something tasty that *everyone* at the party can enjoy.  I made these Cinnamon Stars last night and then brought some to her over lunch today…  They most certainly passed the test.  (And she asked for the recipe!)

First, I processed approximately 2 2/3 cups of raw almonds in the food processor until they were finely ground.  (I was able to get a finer grind by processing them in small batches, about 1 – 2 handfuls at a time.)  I say “approximately” because I didn’t actually measure the whole almonds; I just kept processing handfuls until I had 2 2/3 cups of *ground* almonds.

Once I had the almonds ground, I placed them in a medium bowl and whisked in 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon zest.

In the bowl of my electric mixer, I beat 1/3 cup of egg whites and 1/8 teaspoon of salt until soft peaks formed.  With the mixer running, I gradually added 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, continuing to beat until the mixture was stiff.  (It probably took 3 – 4 minutes on high speed to achieve the consistency I wanted.)  I set aside 1/3 cup of the egg white mixture for the glaze and then folded my almond mixture into the rest of the egg white mixture.

I lined 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Working with about 1/3 of the dough at a time, I rolled it out to 1/4-inch thickness between two sheets of parchment paper.  (I dusted the bottom one with powdered sugar to help prevent sticking.)  Using a 2 1/2-inch star cookie cutter, I cut the cookies, re-rolled the scraps, and kept cutting until I had a dozen cookies on each baking sheet.

To make the glaze, I added 1 3/4 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice to the reserved egg white mixture and stirred until the mixture was smooth.  (My glaze dried out just a bit as time passed, so I ended up adding another 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon after a few minutes.)  I used a pastry brush to lightly coat the cookies with the glaze.  Glazing took a few minutes, so I actually put the first batch in once it was glazed and then moved on to glazing the other cookies.

The recipe said to bake the cookies at 325F for 20 – 25 minutes…  No way.  I took my first batch out after 12 minutes and the bottoms were really misshapen.  It was like the centers exploded and oozed out or something.  I got perfect results – a light-brown, soft, yet completely-cooked-through cookie – with only 8 minutes in the oven.  I let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then cooled them completely on cooling racks.

Cinnamon Stars

I’ll admit the wheat and dairy eater in me prefers a nice butter-and-flour-laden traditional sugar cookie, but these are pretty tasty.  They have a really nice texture…  They’re not “bendable soft,” but they’re not crispy either.  I think “tender” is the right word.  The lemon and cinnamon flavors really sing.  I also *loved* that they held their shape beautifully.  No butter = no spreading.

My friend really seemed to enjoy them, so I’m going to put them on my “best bets” list for anyone looking for a good gluten-free and dairy-free Christmas treat.  They’ll be on my table again next weekend!

TIPS: I used packaged, pasteurized egg whites for this recipe because it’s a heck of a lot easier to pour 1/3 cup of egg whites out of a carton than it is to measure fresh egg whites.  Just make sure whatever you buy is 100% egg whites.  (Ham and cheese Egg Beaters won’t cut it!)

Recipe link: Cinnamon Stars




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