Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

Baking 2

Baking 1

Baking 2


My sister and I frequent this local coffee place and they always have the best pastries and desserts. I remember coming here on highschool mornings and hoping the scone man wasn’t running late. And then how silly happy I’d get when he’d pull up in his car with the fresh (and hot!) scones for the day. If I have one food weakness, it’s dessert! Everything about it – the presentation, the taste, the preparation. I’ve been missing it throughout the initial phases of my yeast-free life and was excited when my sister suggested trying to re-create yeast-free versions of some of the local sweets ourselves. My sister is always up for a cooking date and has been incredibly supportive and enthusiastic with every curve-ball thrown my way on my health journey. She’s kind of the best!

So these are no-bake chocolate/coconut/oatmeal macaroons. Any they’re totally addicting and guilt-free. I may or may not have made them twice in a week.

The best part about them is that by tweaking the ingredient proportions they can be either protein balls or cookies!



8 Oz. Cashews (unsalted)

1/2 Cup Steel Cut Oats

1/3 Cup Raw and Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

1/3 Cup Cacao Nibs

1/2 Cup Coconut Oil

1/4 Cup Honey

*There really is no wrong way when it comes to ingredients. Maybe you prefer a stronger honey taste than coconut oil. Maybe you want more shredded coconut than cashews. Maybe you like salted cashews, or carob chips. Play around with it!


Grind the cashews in a mixer (we used a nutribullet) until pulverized.

Depending on what type of chocolate you use, you may want to throw that into the mixer as well so it is finely chopped.

Add the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir until blended.

Heat the coconut oil until melted and add to the dry ingredients.

Add the honey as well and mix until the dry ingredients are evenly coated and start to clump together.

Using a tablespoon, scoop rounded balls onto a baking sheet and let cool in the refridgerator or freezer until the coconut oil and honey has hardened.

Dig in to these macaroon balls of goodness that taste like samoas!

xo Alina








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Natilla de Cumpleaños




Natilla conjures up images of my Abuela’s kitchen and nights where my Cuban family would linger at the table hours past dinner was over, chatting away and slurping up this creamy treat. Two things we’re great at: talking and eating. Especially when it’s something sweet!

It’s something that feels so old world cooking and decadent but in reality is quite simple to make. I bet you have the ingredients in your kitchen right now! And there’s something so unassumingly dreamy about that combo of milk, citrus and cinnamon. It’s rich and creamy yet fruity and light. Writing about it has me thinking about the leftovers downstairs…

But back to the point. It’s delicious and easy and festive! The perfect treat for my birthday dinner!


1 liter of milk (I used 2%)

1 large piece of lemon rind

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 egg yolks

1 1/2 cups sugar (I reduced this to 1 cup)

4 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Combine the milk, lemon rind, cinnamon and salt in a pot and bring to a boil. Let cool. Mix the cold water and cornstarch until dissolved. In a separate medium to large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar and the cornstarch mixture. Add in the milk and mix until blended. Pour back into the pot and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until a pudding consistency. You will be stirring and then from one second to the next it changes from liquid to a thicker pudding texture. This is what my family calls “el punto.” Once you reach el punto, take the pot off the burner and continue mixing for another minute or so.

When it comes to serving the Natilla, it is up to your discretion. We chose to serve ours in individual dishes and make little parfaits. My Abuela always lays out lady fingers in a glass pan and pours the natilla over them and leaves them to soak. Whatever floats your boat!

Recipe source: Cocina al Minuto by Nitza Villapol (the blue version with an hourglass on the cover)

This book is a staple in my house. It’s kind of the Cuban version of Julia Childs’ “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” And it is in Spanish. There is an english version, though I’ve been told it is hard to come by. My suggestion would be, use a Spanish/English dictionary and take a stab at it!




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