This recipe is dedicated to my beloved Grandma Ida, who baked with Crisco and love along with plenty of eggs and white sugar, but I am sure she’d love what I did here. My daughter Tracy is making a batch of these cookies for our family seder this week.
Passover, like all of my family’s gatherings, was food-centric, and dessert was no exception. After dinner, we always had two kinds of Passover macaroons on the table: a bakery version and a canned version. The ones from the bakery were certainly better than the canned, but I admit to favoring the latter as a child. Today, I make a delicious, preservative-free version of that canned cookie that appears on virtually every Seder table. But it wasn’t easy. Replacing the egg whites found in every macaroon recipe proved a tough puzzle to solve. Commercial egg replacer and starches made a cookie that tasted powdery with a texture not even close to what I was after. One afternoon, wondering what to do with the bowl of white chia gel I was whisking, I thought, “Egg white!” In short order, I had made a cookie too good to eat only on Passover, and one that you certainly don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy.
Note: My original recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder but leavening is not ok, strictly speaking, for Passover. It can be deleted with no ill effects.
1 1/2 teaspoons / 4.5 grams whole white chia seeds yield the 1 tablespoon ground seeds needed for the recipe, but that is too small a quantity to grind. Grind at least 3 tablespoons / 30 grams and store the ground chia in a small covered jar in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons
Makes 24 to 26 small macaroons
- 7 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons / 99 grams organic granulated sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon / 10 grams ground white chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons / 45 ml water, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup / 33 grams coconut flour
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons / 52 grams toasted shredded coconut, divided
- 3 tablespoons / 45 ml vanilla coconut milk beverage
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 ounces / 85 grams dark chocolate (62 to 72%), melted and kept warm in a water bath, for dipping
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F / 190°C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper.
- Lightly grind 7 tablespoons / 91 grams of the sugar in a blender and set aside until needed.
- Put the ground chia in a small bowl. Pour the water over the chia. Set aside for 5 minutes undisturbed and then whisk hard. The chia gel will be lumpy at first but will smooth out as it hydrates. Whisk a few more times while you sift the dry ingredients. (You can make the gel ahead of time and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Whisk vigorously before using.)
- Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the coconut flour and the 7 tablespoons of ground sugar to the strainer and stir with a whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. (If any small bits remain in the strainer, add them to the mixture in the bowl.) Stir 1/2 cup / 40 grams of the shredded coconut into the dry ingredients.
- Whisk in the chia gel. Use a silicone spatula or your hands, if necessary, to get the gel thoroughly mixed into the flour mixture. Add the coconut milk beverage and the vanilla extract and mix with a silicone spatula, pushing hard on the dough until it holds together when squeezed in your fingers.
- Form the macaroons. Use a 1-teaspoon measure to scoop out rounded teaspoons of dough. Squeeze the dough hard in the palm of your hand so that it sticks together, and then roll into balls.
- Coat the macaroons. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 2 tablespoons / 12 grams of coconut and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Roll the dough balls in the coconut-sugar mixture. Press each ball on the baking sheet to flatten the bottoms.
- Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350°F / 180°C. Bake for 14 minutes until the bottom of the macaroons are lightly browned.
- Set the baking sheet on a wire rack. After 3 to 4 minutes, lift the macaroons off the baking sheet onto the rack. Cool the macaroons to room temperature and then refrigerate until cold before dipping the bottoms.
- Dip the bottoms of the cold macaroons in the melted chocolate. Set the coated macaroons on an acetate sheet or parchment-lined tray and refrigerate until the chocolate is set.
Freeze the macaroons in an airtight container for up to one month. These little cookies defrost fast.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, by Fran Costigan, (Running Press 2013). Photo credit: © Hannah Kaminsky