This past weekend my husband and I headed up to our cabin in the woods with a few of our dearest friends. The property is located 3.5 hours north of Vancouver and it can get pretty cold up there this time of year. During the day we bundled up and took long walks, and in the evenings we sat around a roaring bonfire. I knew that the snow and frosty temperature outside would put us all in the holiday spirit.
The winter holidays are often a time of baked goods and sweets, but I wanted to bring something healthier to share. I’m not really a baker. If I do make a sweet treat, which is rare, it has to be easy to make. These coconut macaroons are just that. They don’t have to be baked, they're free of grain flour, gluten and sugar, but best of all… they are shamefully easy to prepare.
These macaroons are held together with coconut oil, which is a rich source of saturated fat. Saturated fat has been demonized for many years and is often though of as synonymous with heart disease, obesity and high cholesterol. People have been told to strictly avoid all saturated fat of any kind, although the type of naturally saturated fat found in coconut oil is actually very beneficial for us.
Many hydrogenated fats (artificially saturated fats) like margarine have long been promoted as “heart healthy”, which is now being widely disproven. Artificially saturated fats are made by using hydrogenation to manipulate the fatty acid chain of vegetable and seed oils (omega 6 - polyunsaturated fats). This increases their shelf life and usability, but has devastating effects on our health. By changing the structure of the fat at a molecular level, a trans fat is created. Our bodies don’t recognize trans fats and can’t properly break them down and assimilate them in the same way, so they end up causing quite a bit of damage.
In contrast, the naturally saturated fat such as that found in coconut oil has many health giving qualities. Think about this - healthy human breast milk itself contains 45 to 50% naturally saturated fat! Specifically a medium chain fatty acid called lauric acid, which supports the immune system and has powerful anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities. Coconut oil also contains the most lauric acid of any other food on earth. Consuming coconut oil while breastfeeding allows mothers to easily create rich, healthy breast milk by significantly increasing its levels of lauric acid. Coconut oil is also nature's richest source of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA’s), which help stimulate the body's metabolism.
- I ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup almond meal
- ¼ cup pecans pieces
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ tsp sea salt
Combine the unsweetened shredded coconut, almond meal, pecan pieces, and salt in a bowl.
In a saucepan, gently heat the coconut oil until liquid. Stir in the maple syrup and vanilla.
Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and combine. Once fully mixed, roll balls roughly the size of an avocado pitt. Place the formed macaroons into the fridge for a few hours to set.