I’ve been feeling a bit guilty for the past couple months. Here I am posting all these tasty recipes and hunger-inducing pictures (with the help of Mr. R’s Christmas present), but I know some of you can’t have any. I’ve been neglecting you, but today I’m fixing that.
I generally assume that even though I can’t see it, my kitchen has a fine layer of flour everywhere. Flour is fluffy and has a tendency to fly out of the bag in aerated “poofs” whenever I use it. If you avoid flour for non-medical reasons, I don’t worry about you. Just like I can confirm that chocolate chip cookie doesn’t have any nuts (even though there are plenty in the cupboard), I can tell you those french macarons don’t have gluten. But if you really can’t have a trace of gluten in your diet, I won’t share since I’m 99% sure whatever is in my kitchen will be contaminated with flour.
I don’t avoid gluten free recipes. There are lots of great desserts that don’t use flour: meringues, french macarons, coconut macaroons, ice cream, panna cotta… The problem is that flour widens the repertoire a hundred fold, and there are certain things that just aren’t going to work without it. A few years ago, I was waiting on the results of a celiac panel from my doctor. While i was partly wishing for a positive result so I had a definitive answer, I was already deeply mourning the absence of the 5-lb bag of flour from my kitchen that would be the solution. Thankfully, it came back negative (twice) and I didn’t have to toss the flour and decontaminate all the surfaces, bowls, and utensils in my kitchen. But, while I won’t be trying to pass off excess baked goods on any of my gluten-free friends, that doesn’t mean I can’t share a great gluten free recipe with you.
Coconut macaroons are a perfect gluten free option since they’re basically just shredded coconut and sugar held together with a liquid binding agent (usually egg whites or condensed milk). Since these cookies don’t rely on flour for their structure or texture, you won’t miss it in the finished cookies. I like using macaroons as a blank slate to play with flavors. This time, I wanted a reason to pull down my Luxardo Maraschino and thought that vanilla and white chocolate would be perfect partners.
Look closely and you can see those tasty vanilla beans. I hate them marring the perfect whiteness of vanilla ice cream, but I love them speckling these cookies!
Baked to a perfect golden brown. Break through the toasted crust on top for a chewy, maraschino-scented middle nuanced with vanilla and creamy white chocolate.
Maraschino White Chocolate Coconut Macaroons (gluten free and adapted from smittenkitchen) These macaroons are chewy and sweet, but not overly so. Delicately flavored with Maraschino liquor, white chocolate, and vanilla beans; they are subtly enticing and worth taking (or making) time to enjoy. 14 oz shredded sweetened coconut 1/2 Cup granulated sugar 3 egg whites 3 Tbsp Luxardo Maraschino 1/2 tsp almond extract 1 tsp vanilla bean paste 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 Cup grated white chocolate (preferably with vanilla beans)
Preheat the oven to 325°. Put the coconut in a food processor and grind for a minute. Add in the sugar and pulse to combine. Add in the egg whites, almond extract, vanilla paste, salt, and maraschino. Pulse everything together well, scraping the bowl if necessary. Add in the white chocolate and pulse just until combined.
Line a baking tray with a silpat or parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop or spoons, compact the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on the tray. You can place them fairly close together as they should not spread. Bake for 25 – 35 minutes.* Remove from the oven and let cool before carefully peeling them away from the silpat or parchment paper.
*25 minutes will yield a lightly browned cookie while 35 minutes will uniformally brown the tops and create crispy, almost caramelized bottoms. Bake to your preferred done-ness; I like toastier coconut so these were baked for 35.