How was your weekend?
Mine began with a Friday night dinner with friends (Yay! Contact with other humans! :)), followed by a long, early run with buddies Saturday morning (a nap followed) , and then baseball, baseball and more baseball with the Nickster. Somehow, I managed to crank out a few healthy snack recipes for toting along to the games. One that I made expressly for Nick is this: Sweet & Salty Coconut Chips.
Warning: they are addictive!
I purchased a packet of coconut chips for our flight home from California in August, and Nick ended up eating almost all of them. Faintly sweet, with a hint of sea salt, I knew I had try making them (especially since one itty bitty packet cost almost 5 dollars–eek!).
The ingredients are simple: large, unsweetened coconut flakes (look for them in health food stores, or order online), plus a hint of maple syrup and fine sea salt.
It took a few rounds to get the proportions of coconut & syrup balanced–enough of the latter to coat the former, but not so much as to make them dessert (the reject batches were still delectable). I settled on 4 teaspoons syrup per 3 cups of coconut and kept the temperature to 275F for maximum crispness without over-browning.
I should note that I tried the recipe with honey, too, and it did not work as well as maple syrup. It was difficult to coat the coconut with the honey (I solved this in a later batch by heating the honey first), but the primary issue was stickiness: despite toasting, the chips remained sticky. In addition, the chips lost all of their crispiness within a day.
These make a great late-afternoon snack, or pre-workout nosh, especially when you want to satisfy sweet cravings without a subsequent sugar crash. I like to grab a small handful before a run or before I teach spin class, and they are also an excellent, high-energy snack for Nick in between his games (a great contrast to more usual bars and balls). Here’s why it’s a great choice: The fat in coconut is made up of medium-chain fatty, which are metabolized in the liver and then quickly converted to energy from our cells, allowing us to use the fat immediately for fuel. So grab an extra nibble if you are power hungry!
- 3 cups large unsweetened coconut flakes
- 4 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Preheat oven to 275F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the coconut flakes in a large bowl. Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with salt. Using your hands, gently toss to coat, being careful not to break the large pieces of coconut.
- Spread the coconut in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake in the preheated oven 10 minutes; open oven and gently stir the coconut, moving browner pieces at the edge closer to the center. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer until coconut is golden brown.
- Transfer sheet to a wire rack an cool completely (coconut will continue to crisp as it cools).