I’ve owned a very simple dehydrator since the 1980’s. In all these years I’ve only used it to dry flowers, herbs, and fruits. I had no idea the many other things that can be done with a dehydrator. After learning more, I’ve added a new dehydrator to my wish list for the upcoming holiday season!
What I learned is that dehydrators are perfect year round. Sure they can be used to save your overabundant garden in summer, but they can also be used to make crispy snacks, snack bars, and even desserts any time!
Pastry Chef Jimmy MacMillian shared some of his favorite dehydrator recipes and the one I chose to pass on to you is his Vanilla Almond Macaroons recipe. These cookies are a delicious mixture of coconut, almonds, and pure flavor extract.
“I use several unique techniques to develop my pastry products and dehydrating desserts is an up and coming method that my team has been experimenting with,” said MacMillian, executive pastry chef and founder of the Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition. “We have used dehydration with desserts such as brownies and macaroons, and the result is a pastry that captures the ingredients’ raw flavor with the texture of an oven baked item.”
A dehydrator dries the food at a very low heat. It removes the moisture from the food, but it retains the colors and flavors. Preserved snacks can last for weeks and if dried and stored correctly, some can last for months.
Don’t have a dehydrator? These can be “baked” in your oven at the lowest temperature possible (generally 200 f) for slightly fewer hours (check for doneness).
- 1-¾ cups dried coconut
- ¾ cup ground almonds
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons almond or cashew flour
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- ⅓ cup coconut oil
- 1-¼ teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
- ½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Almond Extract
- Pinch of sea salt
- Apricot flake salt (optional)
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together dried coconut, almonds, flour and salt.
- Add maple syrup, coconut oil, Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and Pure Almond Extract to the bowl and mix.
- Place small scoops of mixture on parchment or waxed paper and press down slightly.
- Sprinkle optional apricot flake salt on top of cookies.
- Place in dehydrator and set it to 125°F - 150°F. Dehydrate for 24 hours. At the halfway point check on the macaroons by pinching slightly to confirm they are dehydrating correctly.
- The macaroons should have a crunchy exterior with a soft inside.