Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Sugar-Free Pecan Coconut Macaroons - A Gluten-Free Treat for Passover and Year-Round

When the Mid-Hudson Valley Gluten-Free Outings Group had our Valentine's Day Gluten-Free Cookie Swap back in February, I encouraged members to consider making a recipe that would accommodate people with food restrictions beyond just celiac disease or gluten intolerance. So I decided to take upon myself the project of creating a gluten-free sugar-free cookie. I'm not usually a big fan of Splenda but I figured I'd give it another shot - At least my mother, who was doing the South Beach Diet, would eat the cookies, right? My other hope was that I'd figure out a way to finally make a macaroon that I'd like and that I could make with little to no sugar for when Passover rolled around.

Well Passover is nearly here. Splenda is NOT kosher for Passover except in its industrial version. However, I think these cookies would taste just fine with another dry alternative sweetener such as granulated fructose, artifical sweetener (not my preference), certain sugar alcohols, maple sugar... whatever you can find that's kosher for Passover -- I'm not sure what's on the market because I don't plan on eating many sweets this Passover. Of course, if you eat sugar, you can save yourself the trouble by making this recipe with plain old white sugar.

I have cut the Splenda amount in this recipe from the amount I used when I originally baked these, since I found them too sweet. Coconut and pecans have their own sweetness to them and I wanted their flavor stand out in all its glory. In fact, I'm even considering making these for Passover without any sweetener at all!

This was my first time trying pecan and coconut flavors combined, and I discovered I love this duo! Better, in fact, than the traditional almond-coconut macaroon combo. I'm not sure if there is a kosher l'pesach brand of ground pecans, but you can always buy some pecans and pulse them in a food processor (or little by little in a coffee grinder) until they have a relatively fine, sandy consistency. Voila, pecan flour!


[ Gluten-Free / Dairy-Free / Pareve / Soy-Free ]

Adapted from Low-Carb Dessert Blog

Makes approx. 24 cookies

4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup Splenda* (if they're not for Passover), white sugar, or the equivalent amount of a kosher l'pesach alternative sweetener
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp ground pecans
2 cups dried shredded unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 325 F. In a large mixing bowl, whip the egg whites, salt and vanilla until frothy with an electric mixer. Slowly pour in the Splenda or other dry sweetener. Whip until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the ground pecan and coconut gently. Do not over-stir - Batter should remain frothy.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Use a tablespoon measure to drop rounded tablespoons of batter onto the paper 1/2 inch apart. Remember that they won't rise or expand! Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges (let them get a little browner than in this photo!). Turn off the oven heat, open the oven door slightly, and let the macaroons sit in the oven until cool to keep them from becoming overly moist.

*The Splenda available in retail stores is not kosher for Passover.


Kalyn Denny said...

They look fantastic! I'm definitely going to try this.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to try these, too. I have celiac disease and my uncle is a diabetic, and I am always on the lookout for desserts I can make that are OK for both of us! -- Nancy

~M said...

I'm pretty sure that Egoz makes ground pecans for Pesach. :)

Carrie said...

What a fantastic low carb cookie recipe! i love it!! I bet they are delicious!!

Anonymous said...

I think I'll tweak this and try raw, unfiltered honey or maybe some organic maple syrup. Just a touch as I imagine they could get too sticky, but I think I'll experiment. I love macaroons, but am not eating much sugar at all. This inspires me to try a low/no sugar version. Thanks for the guidelines!
In good health,

ByTheBay said...

Melissa: I haven't had good luck getting the consistency I like in a macaroon using liquid sweeteners, which is part of why I used Splenda instead of agave (my usual choice) and recommend fructose (granulated) as an option. But let me know if it works out for you. I know one of my favorite brands of storebought macaroons are Jennie's, which are made with honey, so obviously it's possible. Adding liquid changes the consistency a lot, though, and makes them less light and fluffy.

~M said...

Have you seen Elana of Elana's Pantry agave-sweetened macaroons? They might also work for you.

ByTheBay said...

M - yeah, I did see them - they look fantastic. Can't wait to try them. unfortunately I don't believe there is a kosher for passover agave nectar on the market yet. Bah :(

Anonymous said...

These look really good - can't wait to try them. Would love to see the recipe posted on RecipeZaar.

Anonymous said...

These cookies look exactly like some that my husband buys at a bakery, I am so anxious to try them, my husband and son loves them too and they aren't even diabetic.

Unknown said...

Have you tried Xylitol? Splenda has too many negative health consequences and Xylitol is great. I like Emerald Forest's brand.

Love your site. And your photos.
Kat, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner

Leo said...

I have been searching for a dessert recipe for Pesach. I just gave this recipe a test run and the cookies are fantastic! I think they are the best macaroons I have ever tasted. The flavor and aroma of pecans with coconut is a winner! I can't wait to take these cookie to the seder.

Thank you!