Coconut Christmas Trees

A Coconut Christmas Tree

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.

Unbaked Coconut Trees

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.

baked coconut tree

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.

Candy canes crushed

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.

Coconut Christmas Trees from above

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!

Coconut Christmas Trees

Coconut Christmas Trees
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 16
 

Ingredients
  • 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

Instructions
  1. preheat oven to 350F
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. place trees on a lined baking sheet about an inch apart – they won’t spread
  5. bake one sheet at a time in the middle of your oven – the tops can easily burn otherwise.
  6. bake till golden and firm – about 12-14 minutes. Be very careful as coconut goes from golden to burnt in seconds
  7. let cool on the baking sheet for at least 15 minutes
  8. 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
  9. transfer to a squeeze bottle or a plastic bag with the tip cut off and drizzle over trees
  10. sprinkle with crushed candy canes if desired (or just eat the candy canes!)
  11. dust with confectioner’s sugar

Notes
These treats can be made a day ahead. Keep covered in the fridge till ready to serve

 

 

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10 Responses to Coconut Christmas Trees

  1. Paula December 7, 2012 at 12:20 PM #

    I know you will lose the weight that you want to Melissa. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to. I think you will like my fitness pal. I know a few people who are using it and really like it.

    I’m in love with your little coconut trees! Never seen these before, they are so cute and btw, your drizzling skills are right on!

  2. Renee December 7, 2012 at 7:31 PM #

    Thanks for this Melissa. I wish there was a little less chub hanging around me too – so I get where you are coming from. Your fitness pal idea sounds great – I should check into it too, or at least stop eating so much chocolate and cheese :)

  3. movita December 8, 2012 at 3:26 AM #

    First off, when I saw these trees in my google reader I yelled, “oh my gawd those are SO CUTE!” {To absolutely no one.} Epically cute.

    Good luck with your lifestyle change – I’m totally feeling your pain. We’ve been eating nothing but junk in these here parts, and my body is starting to shut down… I’m assuming the brain will be next.

  4. Silvia December 8, 2012 at 5:09 AM #

    Oh, running in 2004…. I remember that! You were running, Kat was running, I was running, Helen… all in different places but still inspired by each other.

    I love coconut cookies. and I love how cute yours look!

    But generally, I feel about the whole Christmas thing this year a little “meh”…. I’m not ready.

  5. Jessica December 9, 2012 at 7:50 AM #

    Wow, that is such weird timing because just last week I started my fitness regime. I too find it hard to balance managing a food blog and staying healthy/active at the same time, but myfitnesspal.com is really great and I was shocked the first time I realized how many calories I was eating per day.

    Your coconut trees are adorable and I love their little brown tips. I’m so glad you didn’t chocolate dip all of them. Whenever I see something chocolate dipped at a party, I’m never sure if I want to eat it because I don’t know what could be hiding under all that coating.

  6. Amanda@AnUnlikelyDietitian December 11, 2012 at 2:37 AM #

    Melissa, I love love love this. I keep postponing my attempt to lose weight… “oh it’s christmas”.. “oh but there are so many parties “… ridiculous! Being healthy and maintaining a healthy weight shouldn’t be seasonal, it should be a lifelong commitment. And, as your amazing cookies show, you can be healthy in fun and delicious ways! Thanks so much, so keen to try these guys <3

  7. what katie's baking December 11, 2012 at 2:30 PM #

    SO cute!! i love these! i’m a sucker for anything festive

  8. cat December 11, 2012 at 4:01 PM #

    I love this idea, sweet, seasonal and healthy to boot. Did you know that if you take coconut with protein after a workout it will help you absorb it, one more reason to reward myself with one of these cuties!

  9. Anonymous December 14, 2012 at 11:31 AM #

    I hear you! I started Medifast the Friday before Thanksgiving and so real food is off limits until I’m done. But I’m down 15 pounds in four weeks and feeling great, another 15 to go. I’ve been baking up a storm and it hasn’t bothered me in the least. I do one small taste – like a teaspoon – just to check for seasoning, texture, etc but other than that, it’s fine. Good for you for taking charge sooner than later, I figure going hardcore during the holidays is like losing twice – what you’re losing plus what you’re not gaining. Goooo!

  10. Dee December 15, 2012 at 10:26 PM #

    My nieces, Kym and her daughter Emma, made these Thanksgiving week. They are terrific! These are not unhealthy – substitute coconut oil for the canola and they are even less unhealthy. Didn’t miss the candy canes – we are coconut and chocolate lovers.

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