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Autumn is upon us! Here at Nutrition Therapy Institute, we also like to indulge in treats… but with a healthier spin when possible! These Macaroons with Chia Jam are a vegan and paleo-friendly dessert, perfect for a Halloween party or any other holiday celebration. If you’re preparing macaroons for Halloween, try turning them into Eyeball Thumbprint cookies – find inspiration here and here. You can even use different fruits to make the chia jam in theme with seasonal colors!
Why we love it
Coconut butter is not a common recipe ingredient, so we’re happy to see it utilized in these macaroons! You may be more familiar with coconut oil, a fat used for high-heat cooking and baking. Let’s talk about the differences between these two coconut products, where each product can be used, and why they cannot be substituted for each other.
Coconut oil is the oil that has been extracted from the coconut meat. Coconut butter is a paste made from coconut flesh. Both coconut oil and coconut butter change consistency depending on the storage temperature: they become solid in cooler temperatures, and melt/soften in warmer temperatures.
Coconut oil is a popular cooking fat and a common dairy-free substitute for butter in baked goods. However, note that pastries made with coconut oil will be a bit more crunchy because butter contains 16-17% water, while coconut oil is pure fat. Coconut oil has been shown to be effective in lowering C-reactive protein levels, can have a favorable effect on glycemic control, and has antimicrobial benefits that can be utilized in various gut-supporting protocols.
Coconut butter is made from ground-up coconut meat, so it includes the fiber, fat and nutrients from the coconut. Coconut butter is NOT used for cooking – although it sounds like it could be used as a substitute for butter, think of it instead as a nut-free condiment or spread, similar to a nut butter. Coconut butter is delicious and naturally sweet, and can be consumed on a restrictive diet when nuts and seeds are eliminated. It can be drizzled onto fruit, spread onto sourdough bread, or used as a pancake topping. You can purchase pre-made coconut butter, or you can try making it yourself – only 1 ingredient required!
Macaroons with Chia Jam
1½ cups unsweetened flaked coconut
1 cup almond flour (or almond meal*)
½ tsp fine grain sea salt
½ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup coconut butter, softened (no subs – this binds the cookies together)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Chia Seed Jam (makes about 1 cup**)
3 cups frozen or fresh strawberries, blueberries or raspberries
¼ pure maple syrup, or to taste
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- For the chia seed jam (can be made ahead): add frozen berries and maple syrup to a medium pot and bring to a simmer. After 5 minutes or so, stir in the chia seeds. Continue to cook down the mixture for about 15 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Chill in the fridge a couple of hours to thicken it up even more.
- Preheat the oven to 275°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the coconut, almond flour (or meal), and salt.
- Melt the coconut butter over very low heat (you can use a double boiler so it doesn’t burn, or place the jar of coconut oil into a bowl of hot water).
- Add the maple syrup, softened coconut butter, and vanilla into the dry mixture and stir very well until combined. The dough will be very wet and sticky, but this is normal.
- Grab a couple tablespoons of dough at a time with your hand and drop it into the baking sheet. You can also roll the dough into balls and gently flatten. With a wet finger, press a well into the middle and lightly shape the outsides if necessary. Repeat for the rest. The macaroons don’t spread out so there’s no need to space them far apart.
- Bake at 275°F for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 10-20 minutes (every oven is different, so make sure to check on the macaroons often!) until the bottoms are lightly golden and browned, but not burned. Place the pan on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes and then transfer each macaroon onto the cooling rack until completely cool.
- Fill each well with jam. The macaroons will be very soft at first, but will firm as they cool.
Makes 2 dozen
Adapted from Oh She Glows
*If you make homemade almond milk, this is a great recipe for using up your leftover almond meal! You can store your remaining meal in the freezer and defrost before using it in a recipe like this.
**Leftover jam will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge. Use it anywhere you would use regular jam!
Want to learn how to create and prepare recipes like this?
Join our Natural Food Chef Program! Picture yourself in your kitchen surrounded by nothing but organic vegetables, whole grains, top-quality meats, eggs and a range of the more unusual things like pâté, kimchi, kefir and bone broth. If you resonate with the idea of creating delicious meals that are not only healthy but downright regenerative, then join us for our 15-week program! Reach out to our Admissions team with any questions about the NFC program: firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you make this recipe?
We would love to hear your feedback, see your creations, and share your photo with the NTI community! Tag your photos with #ntieats and #ntischool!
Daina Rasutis is a graduate of NTI’s Nutrition Therapist Master Program. Her background in Environmental Engineering has allowed her to combine the best of science with a love for nutrition, sustainability & delicious food. Follow Daina’s cooking creations and lifestyle tips on her website: www.tabletocrave.com
Image use permission given by Table to Crave
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