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Vegan Almond Apricot Bites

With the new year come new resolutions and goals to live a healthier lifestyle. For many, that not only includes exercising more but also making more conscious decisions about what you’re putting in your body. Just because you promised to watch what you eat and reduce the sugar intake doesn’t mean you have to exclude all desserts. This raw and vegan dessert redefines dessert by providing healthy fats and nutrients that your body needs.

Vegan Almond Apricot Bites

The recipe was borrowed from FitSugar.

~ 1 cup raw almonds
~ 1 cup raisins
~ 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
~ 10 dried apricots, chopped
~ 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1. Place the almonds, raisins and cinnamon in a food processor. Process until mixed thoroughly into a thick almond paste, about three minutes. Add chopped apricots and pulse for 30 seconds. Add coconut and pulse for 10 seconds.

2. Remove the dough and place it on a piece of plastic wrap. Seal dough in 1/4″-thick rectangle. Place dough in freezer for 30 minutes to solidify.

3. Cut into small squares and store in fridge.

Makes 20 bite-size servings.

Chocolate-Dipped Raspberry Macaroons

Macaroons are the under-loved cookie option, always forgotten and pushed to the side in favor of the classic chocolate chip cookie. Yet macaroons offer the same sweet decadence with a different texture. Instead of trying the ordinary macaroon made of coconut, I made a raspberry macaroon and to top it off, dipped it in semi-sweet chocolate.

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The recipe was gleaned from Martha Stewart.

~ 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
~ 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
~ 1 large egg white
~ pinch of coarse salt
~ 1 cup fresh raspberries
~ 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
~ 2 teaspoons canola oil

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1. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine coconut, sugar, egg white and salt in large bowl. Mix ingredients together. Add raspberries and mash together until well incorporated. (Alternatively, use a food processor but be sure not to overprocess.)

2. Scoop tablespoons of coconut mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet to form mounds.

3. Bake until macaroons are lightly golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer macaroons to a wire rack and let cool.

4. Simmer a saucepan of boiling water, and place chocolate in a bowl set over the saucepan. Stir until melted, then add canola oil and mix.

5. Remove from heat and dip bottoms of macaroons in chocolate, cover half macaroon in chocolate, or dunk completely. Place dipped macaroon to a wax-paper-lined baking sheet. Garnish, if desired, with toasted almonds, sanding sugar or sprinkles. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. Serve chilled.

These cookies are a crowd pleaser and definitely a decadent treat for chocolate lovers and fruit lovers alike.

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