“Almond Joy” Macaroons
Makes about 30 macaroons
Per macaroon: 90 calories, 4.5 grams fat
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.
1/3 cup unsweetened crushed pineapple, well drained
1 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup liquid or fresh egg whites (about 5 large whites)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Nonstick pan spray
30 whole almonds
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
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. (Do not be concerned if the mixture browns along the bottom of the pan.) Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
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 with a silicone baking mat.
Scoop out tablespoon-size balls of the mixture, or pinch off pieces and roll into balls between your palms. Arrange the cookies on the baking sheet about 1/2-inch apart (they will not spread). Press an almond into the top of each cookie. Bake 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 until they are completely cool, about 1 hour.
Melt the chocolate in 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 storing the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
The cookie dough can be made up to 2 weeks in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered, until forming the macaroons and baking.