Apr 182014

Eastover is here again! For those of you that don’t know, it’s an official holiday that happens when you are half Jewish/half Catholic and Passover and Easter overlap. During Eastover, it is essential that you create hybrid Passover-Easter foods (think pastel-egg shaped matzo balls, etcetera). I decided to combine my favorite passover dessert with my favorite Easter dessert, and thus the Carrot-Cake Macaroon Nest was born. OK, I know it’s probably holiday hybrid overkill, but pretty cute, right?
Macaroons are crazy easy to make—just mix some coconut into whipped egg whites. To make the “carrot cake” version, I added shredded carrots, chopped toasted pecans, raisins, and warm spices (cinnamon/nutmeg). Instead of the usual ball shaped macaroons, I pushed my thumb into the middle to make it nest like, and then added a tiny bit of creamcheese frosting and a few “eggs” which can be jelly beans, Jordan almonds, yogurt raisins, or any other egglike candy.
Nutritional highlights: I’ll keep it short and sweet, since you know that when it comes to holidays I don’t think we need to be counting every calorie. But, as compared to other cookies, I would say these are a definite improvement. They have shredded carrots for beta carotene, pecans and coconut for protein, and no additional sweeteners beyond the coconut and raisins. Egg whites are the binder which are very low in fat and calories.  Plus, macaroons are a great gluten free dessert for the glutards of the world.
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Carrot Cake Coconut Macaroons
Makes about 16 cookies
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What’s in them:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely grated carrot
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts, lightly toasted (walnuts or pecans are great)
  • Optional: ¼ cup raisins (if you like raisins in your carrot cake)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Notes: if you are keeping passover, double check that your ingredients are OK (vanilla extract is often made with grain alcohol).
Also, these macaroons are not super sweet—many other recipes add additional granulated sugar, but I left it out. Feel free to add a bit if you want a sweeter macaroon.

For nests:
Cream cheese frosting, optional (I mixed 4 oz cream cheese with about 1/2 cup powdered sugar to create the glue to hold the “eggs” in place)
Something to serve as eggs—jelly beans, jordan almonds, yogurt raisins, etc

How to make them:

  1.  Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine egg whites, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat with a whisk until mixture turns becomes frothy and begins to stiffen. Fold in remaining ingredients (coconut, carrots, nuts, raisins).  Try not stir too aggressively or the egg whites will lose their stiffness.
  3. With wet hands to prevent sticking, shape the coconut mixture into small balls about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Space them an inch or so apart on the baking sheet. I made balls first, then went back and pressed an indentation in to the center to make it a nest.
  4.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown (insides should be soft but outsides should be just firm). Cool completely before removing from cookie sheets.
  5. While macaroons are cooling, in medium bowl, beat softened cream cheese and powdered sugar with whisk until no longer lumpy, adding more powdered sugar or milk to reach drizzling consistency. If desired, pour glaze into decorating bag.
  6. Once completely cool, spoon a teaspoon of the frosting into the center of the nest and top with 3 jelly bean eggs. Enjoy this festive Eastover treat!

I hope everyone has a healthy, happy Passover, Easter, or Eastover!

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