These caramelized pineapple coconut macaroons are so good and a perfect end of summer treat! They are tropical, chewy, and have just the right amount of sweet to satisfy your cravings.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned around 5000 times now that I’m testing giving up chocolate, and it has been a serious struggle. This has led to me spending far too long perusing the dessert sections at Sprouts and Whole Foods hoping to magically find something that fits into my diet (spoiler alert: nothing does). There seems to be a ton of different raw macaroons on the market now, so I picked some up to try, but 1. They weren’t very good, and 2. The contained almond flour, which my stomach wasn’t a huge fan of. So, I set out to make my own macaroons based on a recipe I had gotten off of a Paleo recipe site, but they also weren’t very good and completely fell apart. Finally, after two failed attempts I decided that the saying “if you want something done right you have to do it yourself” was right in this case.
Which leads me to this recipe! After perusing a few traditional recipe sites I realized that the key to good coconut macaroons seems to be sweetened condensed milk, which is not exactly real food friendly. So, I decided to try my hand at making a dairy free condensed milk with maple syrup and coconut milk, and it turned out perfectly! Also, to add a little sweetness I decided to add my current favorite obsession, caramelized pineapple, which adds the perfect bit of tang and sweetness to break up the occasionally dull coconut macaroon.
I have to give my disclaimer again that these are considered a treat, just because they are “Paleo” and refined sugar free doesn’t mean that you should eat 10 of them per day. Though, let’s be real, I could very easily do that.
I wanted to talk about the phrase “everything in moderation” real quick because I feel like the phrase has gotten a lot of negativity lately, especially in the Paleo/clean eating communities. I think this is because the phrase doesn’t put exact limits on what exactly moderation is. For me moderation might mean I can eat these macaroons without feeling guilty, but for someone else maybe it means they ate a whole pan of brownies in one sitting but they were “good” for the rest of the week.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of moderation, and even more than that I try as hard as I can to avoid labeling my food behavior as “good” or “bad,” because I definitely don’t need one more thing in my life that I need to be perfect at.
I hear a lot from my family that no one can be as disciplined as me when it comes to food, or that they are worried to work with me because they don’t think they can stick to a diet. First of all, I am NOT 100% adherent to my diet. I try as hard as I can so I can stay healthy, and I try to make healthy replacements for myself, but I’m a real person and sometimes I really want popcorn, or I’m going out with family or friends and 100% adherence isn’t possible.
I was on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for 6 months a few years ago and the diet advocated only for 100% adherence. The tiniest bit of sugar or starches was said to throw you completely off track and EVERYTHING had to be made from scratch. I was 19 when I was sticking to the diet and working 3 jobs, and it was incredibly hard to do. I was dating at the time but couldn’t eat out, and found myself largely living off of yogurt. Eventually I felt incredibly deprived, not much better, and my social life was suffering because of it, ultimately making me unhappy, so I went straight back to a typical junk-filled gluten free diet instead. While this made me happier I wound up very sick just a few months after returning to that diet.
Once I started feeling bad again, I found Paleo, and the 80/20 rule, which is that 80% of your meals should be Paleo but you have some flexibility with the other 20% (think: Paleo treats, alcohol, the occasional meal out or grain that you’ve been craving, not McDonald’s). This rule helped me immensely because I was able to eat healthfully without feeling restricted. If I wanted the occasional cookie it was fine, no one was going to die. I could go out with my friends or on a date without having to explain that there was no way for me to eat in a restaurant. While I think that the Whole30 and 21 Day Sugar Detox are excellent programs, I’ve never done them because I don’t do well with that type of restriction, I need a tiny bit of freedom.
So for me, “cheating” (I hate to even call it that) is a little different because a lot of food makes me sick. For example, I’ll never eat gluten because I have Celiac. I also know that tomatoes, onions, and milk give me particularly bad reactions so I stay away from those. But if I’ve been craving pizza for weeks and I know a Paleo pizza crust with almond or coconut flour is going to make me sicker than the grain-based gluten free crust? I’m going for that one, and I’m not going to feel guilty about it! Sometimes I do wind up regretting these meals and remember why I don’t eat them, but most of the time I don’t.
Ultimately my philosophy is that food should be a source of energy and make you feel GOOD, not sick, guilty, or deprived.
Okay, that’s the end of today’s rant.
Currently I’m dreaming of what these would be like dipped in really dark chocolate. Can someone please try that out for me and report back their findings?
Recipe: Caramelized Pineapple Coconut Macaroons
8 oz Unsweetened Shredded Coconut (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
1 tsp butter
8 oz Canned, Crushed Pineapple in 100% Juice
1 Egg White
1 Pinch of Salt
1/2 Cup plus 2 Tbs of dairy free sweetened condensed milk (see below)
For the Condensed Milk:
1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
1 Tbs vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine ingredients for the sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan, heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until thick and syrupy, about 25-30 minutes.
- While coconut milk is condensing, heat butter over medium high heat and add pineapple. Sautee until pineapple starts to brown slightly and all juice has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
- Whip egg white with electric beater until stiff peaks form.
- Add coconut and salt, mix well to combine.
- Next add the pineapple and condensed coconut milk. Mix together. If the mixture isn’t sticking together properly, add more coconut milk until it begins to stick.
- Drop the macaroons onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper by the tablespoon full.
- Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. At 15 minutes check to see if the coconut is starting to brown, if not, bake for 5 more minutes.
Yield: About 20 macaroons