I am not a baker. Although you may see tantalizing cakes and cookies in my cookbook, on my website, in my blogs, posts and tweets, I am not a baker. What I am is a better-for-you translator and an tireless experimenter with those delicious pieces of sweet heaven called dessert.

I learned long ago that baking takes precise measurement and lots of science. Got it. I write recipes all the time that work well, so I can handle that part of it. What I don’t like is spending all that time without getting more than a fleeting reward. If I am going to dedicate a couple of hours or more in the kitchen – I want results. I want it to taste good and give me more than a sugar hangover.

So, two things that I can guarantee my baked goods possess. Really great taste and nutrition. I work hard to take things OUT of baked goods that are not necessary. That’s the experimentation part of  baking for me. Its difficult. (I hear my mother’s voice, “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.) So when I take things OUT like fat, sugar, calories, preservatives, I have to put good-for-us ingredients IN.

Like these super duper easy cookies. Six ingredients! Just six, but boy-oh-boy do they sing when combined with a dip in a pool of really dark chocolate. In less than an hour you can have chewy, nutty, coconutty dreams. Just add another thirty or so minutes for the dunk in chocolate. Kids love them, you’ll love them and guests will too. Best of all, you can feel good about eating one and serving one to others. Less sugar, less fat, nutrition from nuts, and more taste from a super delicious treat. They are pretty, too!

Orange Almond Snowballs

Makes about 36 cookies

16 OZ Unsweetened Coconut (find this at Whole Foods, Speciality or International Market)
1 Cup Toasted Sliced Almonds
3/4 Cup Raw Fine Sugar
2 Tsp Orange Zest
1/4 Tsp Fine Sea Salt
5 Large Egg Whites

Step One
Preheat the oven to 325F. Combine the coconut, almonds, sugar, zest, salt in a large bowl. Add in the egg whites and mix well.

Step Two
Drop heaping tablespoons of the mixture onto 2 parchment or silpat lined baking sheets. They won’t spread, so you can place them about an inch apart.

Step Three 
Bake for about 20 minutes or until the edges brown. Let them remain on the cookie sheet for a few minutes until they can be removed with a spatula and placed on a wire rack to cool.

To make them Chocolate Snowballs:
While the cookies are cooling, melt 8 oz of dark chocolate, (at least 60%) over very low heat in a saucepan. Dip the cookie bottoms in the chocolate and set aside to allow the chocolate to cool and harden.

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