EATING FOR LIFE

Coconut Macaroons are a naturally sweet treat

Updated: 2013-08-06T18:59:27Z

By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA

The Kansas City Star

Life is sweet. Need proof? Just try to follow the brouhaha in recent years over sweeteners.

As a growing number of retailers back away from high-fructose corn syrup, alternatives continue to crop up. Examples include cane sugar, maple syrup, honey, agave and stevia.

In some parts of the world, coconut sugar is the natural sweetener of choice. The unrefined sweetener is produced from the flower buds of the coconut palm, which can be grown and harvested sustainably. The world’s largest producers include Indonesia and the Philippines.

Coconut sugar also happens to be a rich source of potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron, B vitamins and amino acids and, because of its low glycemic index, it is considered healthier than white or brown versions, even though it has the same calories and carbohydrates per teaspoon.

The Star’s Coconut Macaroons are sure to satisfy your cravings for a sweet treat. Keep in mind portion size still counts.

•  Shopping tip: Look for coconut sugar in the natural foods section. Madhava is one brand. If you don’t want to buy coconut sugar (expect to pay about $5 for 5 ounces), you could substitute granulated sugar for the coconut sugar.

If you plan to use coconut sugar in other recipes, the replacement is 1 teaspoon of coconut sugar per 1 teaspoon of sugar. The caramelized flavor is a natural for baking.

•  Serving tip: If desired, lightly drizzle melted chocolate over the baked and cooled macaroons.

Coconut Macaroons

Makes 18

2 large egg whites

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flaked, sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium mixing bowl, using a whisk, lightly beat egg whites. Add coconut sugar and vanilla, continue whisking until foamy. Add coconut; stir to combine well.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared pan. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until golden and a light caramel color all over. Let cool on pan 3 minutes; remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Per serving: 46 calories (39 percent from fat), 2 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 6 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 22 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber.

Recipe developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss. To reach Jill Wendholt Silva, The Star’s food editor and restaurant critic, call 816-234-4347, send email to jsilva@kcstar.com or follow her on Facebook.

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