Monday, March 10, 2008

My New Obsession: Coconut Apricot Chews

Seriously -- these are awesome. You've got your fiber (coconut, apricots), your omega-3 fatty acids (walnuts), your protein (walnuts, cashews) and you've omitted the (refined) sugar! In an effort to cut more sugar out of my diet, I've been researching recipes using Stevia -- which, according to wikipedia is "a genus of about 150 species of herbs and shrubs in the sunflower family (Asteraceae), native to subtropical and tropical South America and Central America." It's about ten times sweeter than sugar (with zero of the negative effects of sugar), so you only use very little. To me, these chews taste like a mix between a blondie and a macaroon.

I found this recipe on a stevia website, which originally called for figs, but I had none on hand so I turned it into a apricot chew. I also adapted it to my needs -- making it gluten free as well as being naturally dairy-free, vegan, and low in refined sugar. The original recipe can be found: here.

Coconut Apricot Chews

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots (I used organic, unsulfured, unsweetened ones)
1/2 cup water
1 cup unsweetened coconut (if you use sweetened, you can omit the stevia)
1/2 cup ground walnuts
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered Stevia extract
2 tablespoons cashew butter
1/3 cup gluten-free flour

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Stew the chopped apricots in the water for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the coconut to the pot, mix and set aside. Grind the walnuts in a blender, or small food processor. In the mixing bowl, place the stewed apricots and coconut, ground walnuts, salt, Stevia extract, cashew butter and flour. Mix well. Shape the cookies with your hands. Place on the cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 12-14 minutes.


Carrie said...

I am SO trying these!! They look wonderful and I LOVE that you didn't use any refined sugars! I love using agave nectar. Do you think it would work in this recipe??

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

Um, YUMMMM. I am all over these. I read recently (was it in In Defense of Food? Or The Way to Eat?) that stevia may not be exactly the great thing people think it is, but I don't know/remember why it said that right now. I need to do more research on it. But anyway, whatever sweetener, these look great!

The Good Eatah said...

Hi Carrie! I totally think using agave nectar would work, in fact, I may use it for my next batch in place of the stevia. Since there are no eggs in the batter, you'll probably want to taste-test with the agave. Maybe start with a teaspoon and go from there.

Hi Sally! I need to do a bit more research on stevia, too. It sounds a little "too good to be true" and I remember reading that the U.S. does not allow it as an additive in food, and only as a supplement, which makes me wonder...
Thanks for the head's up!

Ricki said...

I use stevia all the time and love it, though rarely bake with it, so I'll try these out! I've written a little on stevia and found out that it is the number one sweetener in Japan, and also supposedly helps prevent dental caries (ie, cavities!). Apparently, it shouldn't be heated very much, though, so maybe that's what Sally was referring to.

The Good Eatah said...

Oooh, interesting stuff, Ricki! I'll look into the cooking info.

Anonymous said...

According to the website that you got the original recipe from, it says that stevia can be heated to over 400 degrees.

glutenfreeforgood said...

I use stevia as well, but haven't done much baking with it. These little treats of yours look so good. I have everything, but the apricots and the cashew butter. BUT, I have figs! And almond butter. Maybe I'll try that. I'm really into making hiking snacks right now and this actually looks like it could end up like a little energy bar! I might try that. I'll let you know...
Thanks for the recipe!

The Good Eatah said...

Good call, anonymous. Thanks for checking!

Melissa, figs and almond butter would work perfectly I bet! Give it a whirl and let me know if they work out :)

katty said...

This blog is wonderful and interesting, i really enjoyed reading!!! i must to say the apricot is delicious and contain many vitamin. That is why i prefer to eat it frequently. Actually when i bought my house through
costa rica homes for sale i didn´t see an apricot tree. Now i am really happy.