I first met Ricki Heller a number of years ago, when I was first getting to know other gluten-free bloggers. While we’ve never officially “met” her, we have become good friends. She’s a genuine, down-to-earth person, and we share a love of sweets, baking, and our four-legged family members. I already own her ebooks and she was a life-saver back when I was learning how to navigate a dairy-free diet. So I was super-excited when I first heard that Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free was due to arrive!
This book is gorgeous – filled with amazing photos of every kind of sweet treat, including breakfast items such as scones and pancakes, cookies, cookies, and more cookies, blondies, cakes, frostings, “cheesecakes” and so much more. Ricki prefaces her recipes with a little explanation of ingredients that she uses (and why), as some of the items aren’t mainstream. But for those looking to lower their sugar intake, these recipes are a great way to still enjoy sweet treats!
I opted to make her Coconut Macaroons. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of coconut in all forms, and these are no exception. They’re naturally sweetened with coconut nectar and agave nectar, so they have a subtle caramel note to them. My favorite part is that they emerge from the oven chewy and sweet – the way a macaroon should be.
Coconut Macaroons, reprinted with permission from Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free (page 144)
3/4 cup (135 g) natural raw skin-on almonds, preferably organic
2 Tbsp (15 g) finely ground flax seeds (from about 1 Tbsp or 15 ml whole seeds)
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) fine sea salt
2 cups (135 g ) unsweetened shredded coconut, medium shred
1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut nectar
1/4 cup (60 ml) light agave nectar
20 to 25 drops pure plain or vanilla stevia liquid, or to taste
1/4 cup (60 ml) tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) pure coconut extract (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray.
In the bowl of a food processor, whir the almonds, flax, and salt together until they resemble a coarse meal, about the texture of cornmeal, without any identifiable pieces of almond visible. Add the coconut and pulse once or twice to combine.
Next pour the coconut nectar, agave nectar, stevia, tahini, vanilla, and coconut extract, if using, over the dry ingredients. Process again until everything is incorporated and the mixture forms a sticky ball (you may need to stop and scrape down the sides of the processor bowl once or twice). Stop as soon as the mixture holds together, to avoid grinding the coconut too fine.
Using a small ice-cream scoop or tablespoon (15 ml), drop small mounds of the mixture onto the cookie sheets about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Wet your palms (or use a silicone spatula) and flatten the cookies slightly.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets about halfway through baking, until the cookies are deep golden brown on top. Cool completely before removing to a rack (the cookies will firm up as they cool). May be frozen.
Now, would you like to win a copy of this book?
To enter into your chance to win, please leave me a comment telling me what your favorite sweet treat is!
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That’s it!! This giveaway will end Friday, October 25, 2013, at 11:59PM CT. The giveaway is only open to U.S. and Canadian residents ages 18 years and up. Best of luck to you!