Raw cacao macaroons

Raw cacao macaroons

I spent uncounted hours sitting at the bow looking at the water and the sky, studying each wave, different from the last, seeing how it caught the light, the air, the wind; watching patterns, the sweep of it all, and letting it take me. The sea.” – Gary Paulsen

The sea. It took me and it shook me and it made me feel alive. More alive than I thought a salty body of water was capable of making me feel. In the afternoon we’d swim at depths much too deep for me to stand, and I’d float on top of the water – staring into the infinite blue sky – trying hard not to think about the creatures that could be dwelling below my buoyant body. In the morning I witnessed the sea at its finest hour: calm and content. I ran along the edge of the island and watched, almost in hypnosis, as the water rippled toward the shore. I read somewhere that you feel happiest when you’re near the sea. Because the vibration of our bodies tries to sync with the rhythm of the waves and, in turn, releases hormones that create a sense of fulfillment and happiness. And when I noticed a half smile creeping across my face, I’ve never known anything to be more true. Watching the low tide made me forget that my legs were pounding the pavement at a speed much faster than is enjoyable. Watching it made me feel alive.

After my long run I’d sit along the craggy coast and continue to be taken by the waves. Wondering about life down there and up here and all of it had a funny way of making me feel so small and vulnerable and insignificant. But not in a bad way. In a good way that makes you want to get up and shake off all your inhibitions and send them out into the deepest parts of the ocean. Because, in the grand scheme of things, I really don’t matter that much. In a way that makes you want to take off all your clothes and jump into the starkly cold water because, despite what I’ve been told for most of my life, naked bodies aren’t offensive or shameful; naked bodies are straight up fucking beautiful. In a good way that makes you want to dance through the aisles of the grocery store when a funky jam comes on just because music has a tendency to make people move. But we suppress that movement because we’re self conscious creatures with big egos who swear that all eyes are on us. That at that particular moment in time everyone is watching and judging and certainly not carrying on with their own lives because the haphazard shifting of your body is causing an outright scene at the grocery store.

FYI, it’s not. No one cares. Except maybe Robyn who would be seriously disappointed if she found out that Dancing On My Own came on the radio and you didn’t bust a move. So this is the point where I’m supposed to give you unsolicited advice and tell you to stop letting your self-consciousness control your every decision and blah-blah-blah. But I’m not going to go there because you’ve heard it all before. Well, that and because it took traveling halfway across the world and being in the presence of a giant body of water – a body of water in which I was previously terrified (bad case of thalassophobia, yo) – for me to realize how fucking small I am. How small we are. So all I’ve got for you is this: Live wildly and unabashedly and swim naked in the sea – or dance at the grocery, if naked swimming just isn’t your thing. I promise you, your life will be better for it. And chances are, your presence will be so infectious that the people around you will be better for it, too.

Raw almondsShredded coconutDates & cacao powderRaw cacao macaroons

PS – High fives and hugs and cheers to all of you, as your kind comments and emails enriched our engagement beyond belief – I wish you could have seen our big ass smiles as we poured over them together. They were huge. How lucky I am to have all of you. Thanks for being awesome and supportive and – some of you – equally as excited as we are. Big love.

Notes: I haven’t tried it, but I assume cashews would work well in this recipe. Peanuts, walnuts, and pecans probably will not as they’re extremely flavorful and will detract from the coconut/cacao flavor. If you don’t have dates, you can try using raisins – but they’ll add a bit of a molasses flavor to the cookies (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). If you want your cookies to mimic those of a real macaroon, let they dry at room temperature for 6-8 hours. The outsides will harden while the insides remain moist and chewy and flavorful.


1 cup raw almonds
1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
, plus more for coating
1/4 cup cacao powder
Small pinch Himalayan salt
12 Medjool dates
, pitted and soaked for 15 minutes

In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the almonds, coconut, cacao powder, and salt into a fine meal. Add the dates and process until combined. Using a 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop, drop the cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 20 minutes then roll in shredded coconut. Transfer to an air tight container and store in the freezer. Will keep for up to 6 weeks.

Yield: 25-30 cookies


  • Reply ThisBakerGirlBlogs 17 September 2013 at 8:47 AM

    These look delightful! Could easily get through a dozen of them ;)

  • Reply Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate 17 September 2013 at 8:54 AM

    Yes, cashews are such a great idea! Even a blend of cashews and almonds. Mmmmm!

  • Reply dixya| food, pleasure, and health 17 September 2013 at 9:30 AM

    your writing is so beautiful – we often get caught up with life and forget little things – running around wildly and living life is so important. and these macaroons look delicious!!

  • Reply Ashley 17 September 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Just what I needed to read today. Thanks, love. xo

  • Reply Olena@iFOODreal 17 September 2013 at 10:09 AM

    Great story! And what a simple and wonderful recipe. I guess they could be energy balls too.:)

  • Reply Tess 17 September 2013 at 10:20 AM

    I just made these in my Vitamix (used cashews in place of half the almonds) and they are delicious. <3 Lovely words as always. You have such a way with them.

  • Reply Natalie 17 September 2013 at 11:14 AM

    I don’t know what to say Ashlae. I guess thank you is appropriate. I spent 10 days in Hvar this summer and it is the most awakening, beautiful and relaxing vacation I’ve ever had. What you write really resonates with me and takes me back. Thank you for reminding me. Magical writing. Magical you. Love from Norway, N.

  • Reply cheri 17 September 2013 at 2:15 PM

    Wonderful story and beautiful recipe, you are an inspiration…

  • Reply Harriet 17 September 2013 at 3:41 PM

    What a beautiful post – I can almost feel myself in that ocean now. Stunning. Just like these macaroons look! I’m sitting here smiling like a goof at my computer because of all the joy and happiness in your post.

  • Reply Mary 17 September 2013 at 5:09 PM

    I am so glad we met. Ashlae your writing is so beautiful. Where are you now? Say Hi to Tom.
    xoxo Harry and Mary

  • Reply Heidi - Apples Under My Bed 17 September 2013 at 9:15 PM

    Oh, I love this post. So so true. I feel very lucky to be living near the water, you’re right, it has such an effect on you. & I have come to learn that life is indeed so much better when I dance in the grocery store. And I totally do.
    Heidi xo

  • Reply Sophia 18 September 2013 at 4:00 AM

    Amen – what I keep on telling my girlfriends again and again whenever they complain about chubby thighs and muffin tops is that whichever way you look at it, none of that matters in the grand scheme of things, besided, we will only get older so the way we look now is probably the best we will ever look so we might as well embrace it and be proud of how far our bodies have already carried us!

    I used to make these kinds of macaroons as well, not sure why I stopped. I also have all the ingredients at home so I might entertain my neighbours with the loud sound of my food processor later ;-).

  • Reply Jenny @ BAKE 18 September 2013 at 6:58 AM

    I love the sea, having grown up next to it, I constantly miss it now I’ve moved inland. These macaroons look amazing!

  • Reply sara forte 18 September 2013 at 9:31 AM

    we live extremely close to the ocean, and I try to find myself near it daily. I hadn’t heard the tide/hormone thing, but it has this incredible perspective experience I can’t find anywhere else. I assume you get glimpses in the mountains of colorado as well. ANyway. It is a hope of mine for people I love to be near the sea often, it feels so… like everything you’ve said. PS. I’m scared of sea creatures too :)

  • Reply Erin 18 September 2013 at 10:26 AM

    I am originally from Oregon but my husband and I lived in Denver and now Wyoming for the last few years. I don’t feel as human when I am landlocked. I never realized what impact the ocean made on me until I moved away. Always love your style of writing and what you have to say. Excited to try this recipe!

  • Reply Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar 18 September 2013 at 1:21 PM

    I love these as a snack idea. Delicious!

  • Reply jessica smith 19 September 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Ashlae – I have to tell you that your blog is one of those that, when I first see a new post pop up, I have to tell myself not to look! I want to get myself a cup of tea and get away from the craziness of the subway so I can truly enjoy and savor it! It always brightens my morning when I know I have a new post from you to look forward to later in the day! Thanks so much for sharing!
    CONGRATS on your engagement!

  • Reply Jacqui 19 September 2013 at 4:43 PM

    I’ve totally heard that about the ocean too! And not to get super nerdy/scientific, but I’ve heard something about when water crashes, (waves or beneath waterfalls) it creates ions that our bodies are attracted to. In any case, I love the ocean! p.s. just read your engagement story, super sweet! Congrats to you both!

  • Reply Mia 20 September 2013 at 6:41 PM


    These look fantastic! love the coconut on top, very nice detail.

  • Reply Meg 21 September 2013 at 5:53 AM


  • Reply Kathryn 22 September 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Ah the ocean. Seriously, you describe exactly how I feel about it so perfectly. I love how I always leave your blog feeling totally and utterly in love with life.

  • Reply Zesty Five: September 15-21, 2013 23 September 2013 at 7:11 AM

    […] Raw Cacao Macaroons […]

  • Reply Akshara Vivekananthan 23 September 2013 at 3:18 PM

    I just read your engagement story- absolutely beautiful! A big hearty congratulations to you! Your writing is lovely. Your experience with the sea is wonderful to read- I can picture the scene as I read your words. I’ve been to beaches, lakes, and ponds galore but never the sea. I hope to experience the same exhilarating feeling you did. It must have been unbelievably thrilling.

    I’m new to your blog, and am so happy I’ve stumbled across it. I’m in the process or it’s a dream in progress at the very least, of trying to take the small step in being vegetarian, and eventually a vegan. Your recipes are delightful and are making me swoon with joy. I can’t wait to try these macaroons! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Danijela K. 23 September 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Oh, you are in my homeland right now! How I miss the sea, the sounds and the odours…
    Have fun

  • Reply Kate 25 September 2013 at 9:34 AM

    I am that way, with water and dancing and the natural movements of both should be embraced and not pushed down, hidden and ignored. I love sitting on the deck of our lake home and just watching the water’s endless movements and constant change. Floating under the sky is so peaceful; I think that I would sleep well bobbing on water like a boat.

    I love any raw snack options I can find. They’re so perfect to have at work, or after a work out. I’m putting this one on my To Make list.

  • Reply Päivi 23 December 2013 at 9:01 AM

    YUM! Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

  • Reply Wendy@wisemommy.net 15 November 2014 at 11:23 PM

    I love these as a snack idea. It seems so delicious!

  • Reply Vincent 12 May 2015 at 7:57 AM

    I love the sea, having grown up next to it, I constantly miss it now I’ve moved inland. These macaroons look amazing!

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