Cocoa Coconut Macaroons

Ben and I are in that blissful, post-wedding, "I'm so happy I can't stand it" phase, where our future seems limitless and everything is just amazing (everything...even mundane things). All our friends, family and colleagues have been so sweet and encouraging. I'm sure it's entirely too much for some people to handle, but you know what? I feel like we get a free pass right now to function day-to-day in a loved-up stupor.

Although I do appreciate that bragging about an up-coming five week European Honeymoon is taking things a bit too far. I'm pushing the envelope a little here, aren't I? I know, I know. It does feel kind of mean, a bit cruel, posting tweets about what flights and accommodation we've booked and vivaciously counting down the days until we depart. Clearly I'm holding onto that free pass and milking this newlywed phase for all it's worth.

I hope you still like me at the end of it all...

Anyway, to give you a bit of a picture as to where we're at with honeymoon planning, the past few weekends we're spent researching our phenomenally dreamy destinations and booking where we want to stay. First it was our Paris apartment. Booked. It's in the Marais. I know, amazing. Then it was Istanbul and Copenhagen (booked!), before securing the most incredible Riad in Marrakech. Ok, even I can't handle that one. Next on our list is Lisbon, Rome and Sicily.

I know what you're thinking...all this tireless research needs fuel. Agreed.

One Saturday afternoon, cocoa coconut macaroons were nibbled with a sturdy cup of black tea as I researched Parisian restaurants. Did I mention we leave in less than three months? Feel free to send me a virtual slap and steal my plate of macaroons. I deserve it.

Don't worry, I'll eat a pain au chocolat for you all while I'm wandering the streets of Paris. I promise.

Cocoa Coconut Macaroons

Notes: These light, crumbly morsels are just the thing to nourish you and give you a little afternoon pick-me-up. They came about of a desire to experiment with coconut flour (the scent of which sends me twirling in delight across my kitchen). I kept these macaroons quite healthy, the only non-nutritious ingredient is the brown sugar - but it imparts desired sweetness and textural benefits, so please do not omit it. That would just be bad. I did not fancy using maple syrup or the like, as I didn't want to overpower the divine, soft coconut flavour. I tried using stevia instead of sugar and while this does work fine, it produces a macaroon that is just not as yummy. The stevia gives them a little aftertaste and strange tingle on your tongue. It was obvious which ones had sugar and which had stevia in a blind taste test!

I quite adore these nourishing bites. To make them more moist, just add more coconut oil - but beware if you add too much coconut oil you'll need to watch them more closely in the oven as they will burn more quickly. I prefer mine on the crumbly side, personally. You could even go as far as not even baking them, they would be delicious raw and with a totally different texture - think cookie dough!

If you're really feeling keen, add some dark chocolate chips to the mix. That would take things to a whole new level. The thing is, I like these babies as they are - neither too sweet nor too rich. And it's always good when you don't feel sick after a sweet bite, isn't it?

Inspired by The Serious Eats Peanut Butter Coconut Macaroons.

Makes 12-14 balls

1/2 cup Coconut Flour (look for it in health food stores)
1 tablespoon Cocoa Powder
3 tablespoons Fine Desiccated Coconut
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 pinches Salt
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
4 tablespoons Coconut Oil

1. Preheat your oven to 180 Degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
2. Melt your coconut butter to create coconut oil (unless it's already in it's liquid state). To do this, heat a small amount of water in a small pot until boiling. Place a bowl over the pot, ensuring the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Add 2 heaped tablespoons of the coconut butter to the bowl and allow it to melt into it's liquid state and become coconut oil. Turn off the heat and leave until required.
3. To a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the coconut flour, cocoa, desiccated coconut, sugar and salt.
4. Add the vanilla extract, along with 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil at a time, mixing between each tablespoon, until the mixture is all incorporated and is moistened.
5. Moisten your hands with water. Grab a small handful of mixture, squeezing the shaping the mixture with your hands until a rough ball is formed. Place on the baking tray and repeat with the remaining mixture, aiming for 12-14 balls in a batch.
6. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 5-7 minutes, until the balls gather a slightly golden glow. Be careful not to burn them (their underside tends to burn more quickly than the top). Remove from the oven and allow to cool before eating alongside a cup of tea, while you plan your future adventures or reminisce about past travels.

Heidi xo