Marisa Churchill, a former contestant on Top Chef, loves to put healthy spins on yummy classics. Her cookbook, Sweet & Skinny ($24), is chock full of delicious desserts that won't have you hitting the gym twice as hard after you eat 'em. Last week, Marisa shared with us her recipe for PB&J Cookies. This week, it's all about macaroons. Check out her low-cal recipe below!
"Almond Joy” Macaroons
Makes approximately 30 Macaroons
Per Macaroon: 90 calories, 4.5 grams of fat
Per Macaroon (sugar-free): 60 calories, 4.5 grams of fat
1⁄3 cup crushed pineapple packed in juice, drained
1 ¾ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup sugar
¾ cup egg whites (from about 5 large eggs), or 3/4 cup liquid egg whites
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Nonstick pan spray (if not using a baking mat)
About 30 whole almonds, skin on
¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips
For Sweet & Sugar-Free: Substitute 6 tablespoons plus 2 ½ teaspoons (26 packets) of Truvia for the sugar. Omit the flour and increase the pineapple to 2⁄3 cup. If the dough is too dry to scoop, stir in 1 tablespoon water before scooping. Bake the cookies for 15 to 20 minutes.
As a child, I loved coconut desserts: macaroons, coconut cake, and especially the chocolate-and-coconut Almond Joy candy bar. I haven’t eaten one of those in many years, but I do eat these cookies, designed to be reminiscent of the candy but not so cloyingly sweet. In this version, pineapple replaces some of the coconut for natural sweetness with fewer calories.
Put the pineapple, coconut, sugar, egg whites, flour, and salt into a medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 5 to 6 minutes, until all of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is sticky. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 weeks.
To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center position. Coat a baking sheet with pan spray or line it with a silicone baking mat.
Scoop out tablespoon-size balls of the mixture to make about 30 cookies. Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about ½ inch apart (they will not spread). Press an almond into the top of each cookie. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown. Halfway through the baking time, rotate the pan from front to back. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let them cool completely, about 1 hour.
Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler until you can stir it smooth. (Alternatively, use a microwave oven.) Spoon the melted chocolate over the cookies in a zigzag pattern. Allow the chocolate to harden before serving. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.