mexican chocolate macaroons

As I revealed in my last post, in perhaps unwelcome detail, when you’re not swimming, biking, and running your hiney off there’s a lot more time in the day. There’s time for parties (lately, of the sausage, grilled pizza, fondue, or 50/50 bacon/sirloin burger variety), for yoga (sighhhhhhh), and kitchen experiments.

Not that I completely hung up my hat, things have just been cut down a smidge. Over these last few months, I turned my attention towards running, and was rewarded with a new PR at the Temecula Valley Half Marathon on November 4th. I’ve never been a fast runner, and so managing a 1:44:05, or 7:57-minute mile, felt huge for me. I finally entered the “7’s club,” and celebrated with our crew afterwards with Iron Fire beer and a stop at In n’ Out. (Did you know you can get In n’ Out burgers cooked medium rare? Who knew. Not a huge difference, but they texture is nice.)

Anyway, I was talking about kitchens, wasn’t I…

Last night I attended the season kick-off for a women’s triathlon team I’m stoked to be part of for 2013. As I mingled with last year’s crew and the handful of new women, I found myself inspired by everyone’s passion for training and racing. Whether we had Ironmans on the calendar or a handful of shorter races, I can already tell we’re going to feed off each other’s energy and successes. The evening got my wheels turning even more in terms of my my goals for 2013, and the extra motivation to get up at 5:30 this morning (and 5:15 tomorrow) to train was another perk.

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Since I love to try new recipes for sweets but hate having them around the house, I signed up to bring a dessert of some kind. Led by the Southwestern theme set by the chili and cornbread that were on the main course menu, I settled on these little macaroons I found on Pinterest. With their bite-sized hint of spice and sweetness, they were a hit. Some of my teammates asked for the recipe, so here it is. They remind me of a cookie we called “haystacks” growing up. But those have butter, peanut butter, and oats in them, whereas these are a little more pure/plant-based/paleo … if you’re into that kind of thing. (I am, but only in moderation.)

On the original post (besides shaming my lazy iPhone photography) the author penned a great nugget of wisdom that I know many of us triathletes could use at a time like this:

The secret to vibrant living is not in what you do or don’t eat. It’s learning to hold your health in one hand and your joys and passions in the other, and sometimes we delightfully find that they are one and the same.

As many of us approach this season of indulgence—whether we call it the off season or the holiday season—let this quote speak to you, wherever you’re at with your relationship with food. And while you’re mulling that over, pop one of these grain-free, sugar-free, dairy-free vegan and just try to tell me they’re fun-free. You’ll be surprised.

Mexican Chocolate Macaroons

yields about 36 cookies


4 cups unsweetened fine-shredded coconut (I bought the regular stuff and shredded it a little more finely in my food processor. If you can find really fine stuff, you’ll get more uniform, pretty macaroons as opposed to these rough “haystacks,” as my family calls this type of cookie.)
1/2 cup cocoa
2 Tbsp cinnamon
pinch of cayenne (optional … I used about 1/8 of a teaspoon)
pinch of salt
2/3 cup coconut oil (in its solid form … these might not work as well in the heat of summer when coconut oil turns liquid!)
1/2 cup honey (I tried to substitute agave on the first round. Disaster zone. It’s not as thick, or as sweet, as honey.)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp full fat coconut milk


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the first five (dry) ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together the wet ingredients.
  3. Using your hands, form the dough into whatever sized macaroons you’d like. (Golf ball = large, ping-pong ball = small.) Press each ball down on the baking sheet, flattening it slightly.
  4. Now you have one of two options. The original recipe has you bake them on parchment paper for 10 minutes at 350. But, since there are no eggs, baking soda, or “reactive” ingredients that need heat, I’m not sure what baking accomplishes. If you do choose to bake them, they’ll absolutely need to cool for 15-20 minutes before you try to handle them, or they’ll fall apart. I did bake them, but on second thought, I’m pretty sure you could just refrigerate the shaped balls until hardened. (I will try this next time and adjust this recipe to reflect the best option.) Either way, you should refrigerate the macaroons to set them before trying to handle them. Serve cool, or take out an hour before serving for a softer cookie.

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