After discovering the freeze-dried fruit trick and using it to make this Strawberries ‘n Cream Chocolate Cups recipe, I had one more idea to put to the test: Strawberry Macaroons.
Almost all the recipes I’d seen for dairy-free or vegan macaroons were simple vanilla or chocolate, but readily available freeze-dried fruit made this healthy but decadent treat a delicious reality. Each delicious bite is infused with pure strawberries, and the intensity can be customized up or down to your personal taste.
I got the initial thought to make macaroons when brainstorming for ideas to feature So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk (basically the equivalent of a really, really good quality canned coconut milk with thick rich cream). It’s so versatile that the list was a mile long, but macaroons jumped out from the page – yes, I still use good ‘ol pen and paper to write out many of my ideas. The process of writing just hits on parts of the brain that screens and typing just can’t do – don’t you think?
And then, after freeze-dried fruit entered my world, strawberry macaroons became a must! And, I have a real treat for all of my special diet friends. This nutritious dessert is not only dairy-free, it’s also naturally egg-free, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free, too! But to those of you who are “just” dairy-free or not dairy-free at all, but a fan of coconutty macaroons, trust me, you will love them! Honestly, Tony even claims he doesn’t like coconut, but he gobbled up every last one! Okay, he left the “hers” heart for me.
But even with the already nutritious and free-from nature, I couldn’t stop at just one version of these strawberry macaroons … oh no. The basic recipe is naturally Paleo (really!) with a simple swap to make it Vegan (seamless!). Then, in my taste-testing process, I discovered that the dough is pretty amazing on its own. One little ingredient addition to bring it all together, and a No Bake strawberry macaroons recipe was born (Tony really loved these!)
And what would Valentine’s Day be without a Chocolate-Covered option?
Note that So Delicious Dairy Free Culinary Coconut Milk (both the Original and Lite) is sold with the shelf-stable milk alternatives in some stores, but in other grocers you’ll find it in the Asian section with the “canned” coconut milks. That said, the Culinary Coconut Milk comes in cute little BPA-free cartons with a spout. The packaging makes it SO much easier to use than the cans.
Special Diet Notes & Options: Pure Strawberry Macaroons
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, top food allergy-friendly, optionally vegan / plant-based, vegetarian. refined sugar-free and optionally paleo! See the strawberry macaroons recipe for all variations.
As mentioned, I created this strawberry macaroons recipe for So Delicious Dairy Free, but I’ve been buying and using their Culinary Coconut Milk since it first came out! It is one of the purest on the market and the Original produces a thick decadent, dairy-free cream. Even their Lite version is more full-bodied than most.
- 1 to 2 cups freeze-dried strawberries
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream
- ⅓ cup honey (for paleo) or agave nectar (for vegan)
- 4 teaspoons tapioca starch (can sub potato starch, non-GMO cornstarch, or see Alternative below)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2¼ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
- Grind the strawberries into a powder using a spice grinder.
- Whisk the coconut milk, sweetener, and starch together in a small saucepan until smooth.
- Place over medium heat, bring to a simmer, while whisking, and bubble for about 2 minutes, while whisking, or until thickened.
- Remove from heat, whisk in the strawberry powder, vanilla, and salt. There will probably be some little bits of strawberry, but otherwise it should be pretty smooth.
- Stir in the coconut.It will come together into a relatively thick batter/dough. If it is too soft or sticky to handle, chill for 30 minutes.
- Scoop by the level tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheets, and with lightly damp hands, shape as desired (they don’t spread).
- Bake for about 15 minutes (I prefer to bake 1 sheet at a time), or until lightly browned on the bottom edge. Let cool completely on baking sheet before removing – they’re very soft when hot, but do firm up on cooling.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator (we like them chiled!) or even freezer.
No Bake Option: Skip the baking step! Instead, whisk in 2½ tablespoons coconut oil while the dough is still warm. Scoop onto parchment paper or wax paper (you an chill the dough at this stage for 15 minutes if it is too sticky to handle) - I use a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon to measure and shape. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour or longer. Can store, covered or wrapped, in the refrigerator or freezer.
Chocolate-Covered Option: Briefly chill macaroons (or longer, if you like). Melt ⅔ cup dairy-free chocolate chips with 2 teaspoons coconut oil. Place macaroons on a wire cooling rack placed over parchment or wax paper (to catch drips). Drizzle chocolate over macaroon tops (if too thick for your liking, whisk in another 1 teaspoon coconut oil, if too thin, melt and whisk in another handful of chocolate chips).