This is going to sound so very lame.
Given that this is a food blog, that is.
The thing is… I’m loathed to do any Christmas baking this year. I know, I know… I can hear the gasps of horror from here. Trust me, I’m doing the same with my inner voice.
I decided, wisely or not, that I needed to do something about my weight about 2 weeks ago. Ok, so it’s definitely wisely but the timing of it might not have been the best… I mean… for real? Start this in December? I’m crazy, right?
But I had to because it was driving me nuts. Everyone has that point where they can’t deal with something anymore. Not for a single second. That’s pretty much the point I’m at.
I was always a skinny, active kid and only started to slowly pack on pounds when I hit my mid-20’s. Oh so slowly they crept on as I went from being very active to working at a desk job all day. And then suddenly, I’d gained 35lbs! It was like… “where the hell did all of this come from??”
So, in 2004 I started on WeightWatchers and started running again. I did really well, making it to my goal in about 5 months. I kept it off… weighing myself once a month and if I noticed I’d put on a few pounds, I’d go back on the program for a few weeks to get myself back on track – usually all I needed was a little reminder of my portion sizes and to watch my food choices a bit better.
And then I quit my job and started freelancing. And that made me more active but… about 8 months in, I started a food blog. Uh-huh…
Another two months later, I cancelled my WW membership in order to save some money. I thought… I’ve done so well for the last 6 years, I’ll be fine. Uh-huh.
And more and more I found myself surrounded by people who eat for recreation (oh god, doesn’t that sound horrible – in a world where so many don’t have enough to eat… we write food blogs for fun!). Uh-huh…
20lbs later… not so fine. Ok… so it’s not a lot. But the problem is, it keeps going up – not staying the same!! At this rate I’ll be a balloon in another year. And it’s a hell of a lot easier to lose 20lbs than it is to lose 40lbs. Or 60lbs. Or more.
My clothes don’t fit and I can’t afford new ones. Nor do I need them when I have lots of perfectly nice clothes that haven’t been worn because… they don’t fit! Parts of my body touch other parts that they shouldn’t touch. And I hate it!
So, I guess I did need that WW check-in every month after all. But I’m not going back on WW… instead I’m using myfitnesspal.com and tracking my food and exercise with them. So far, they seem to be a really good platform and it can go on my iPad and my Blackberry. And I really am one of those people who needs to write down every single thing they eat. Sigh. It really does make a difference.
So anyway… there explains my lack of desire to bake for Christmas… unless I find treats like these adorable coconut trees! Made with coconut and egg whites they’re very low in fat, and not bad on the calorie scale either (around 98 for a decent sized tree!). And they taste decadent. Leave off the chocolate and candy canes and you’ll shave a few more calories off.
And to be honest, the candy canes can easily be left off. In rigorous taste testing (not solely by me, of course!), it was agreed the candy canes didn’t do anything to enhance the taste.
My original idea was to dip the trees in chocolate and then dust with sugar but, my dipping skills (not to mention my drizzling skills) proved disastrous so those didn’t make it to the photos. The drizzled ones did but… well… you can see… they’re not Martha-approved!
Either way… they’re tasty and oh so cute and fun. So enjoy!
- 2½ cups shredded, unsweetened coconut, medium or fine
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 lightly beaten large egg whites
- 5 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- confectioners sugar for dusting
- ¼ cup chocolate chips
- ¼ tbsp canola oil
- crushed candy canes
- preheat oven to 350F
- in a large bowl mix coconut, salt, sugar, egg whites and vanilla together well. No need for an electric mixture for this one - you can use your hands or a spoon
- take 2 tbsp of the mixture at a time and form it into 2 inch trees with your hands. Use your fingertips to make the tops pointed. The mixture can be quite crumbly so work patiently and make sure it's well mixed
- place trees on a lined baking sheet about an inch apart - they won't spread
- bake one sheet at a time in the middle of your oven - the tops can easily burn otherwise.
- bake till golden and firm - about 12-14 minutes. Be very careful as coconut goes from golden to burnt in seconds
- let cool on the baking sheet for at least 15 minutes
- melt chocolate chips in the microwave with canola oil, stirring every 15-20 seconds until almost melted. Stir until the last few remaining clumps melt into the mixture
- transfer to a squeeze bottle or a plastic bag with the tip cut off and drizzle over trees
- sprinkle with crushed candy canes if desired (or just eat the candy canes!)
- dust with confectioner's sugar