Poll Results: Coconut Macaroons and Covert Baking

~by Nikki

I asked. You voted! And I am going to pass off my sugar free coconut macaroons to my non-op family and friends!

But I think you guys let me off a bit easy. Because I didn’t really have to write up a post since we already have these cookies on the blog.

So…to assuage my deep sense of guilt over this, I wanted to go into a subject that is near and dear to my heart – covert cooking. Or, in this case, covert baking.

What is it? And why do it?

I define covert baking as baking a traditionally unhealthy treat using healthier ingredients and (here’s the defining part) giving them away as if they were the original version.

Why do it? Well, for me it’s cathartic. Non-ops put me through a lot of changes on a daily basis and doing this is my way of “sticking it to them” in a constructive manner. I mean imagine it, your aunt who insists on making dishes you can’t eat for EVERY family gathering. You are handing her an uber-healthy cookie and smiling sweetly as she walks away. Then the pinnacle of the experience is months later when she openly shows her disdain for healthy substitutes and you go, “but you raved about my sugar free cookies that I gave you for Christmas…” (Bat eyes sweetly and smile. It’s priceless people…it really is…).

It’s a way of getting back without being mean. I mean, really? What is mean about giving someone healthy food? It’s sort of a “kill them with kindness” deal.

Now let’s go over what covert baking does not mean:

  1. It does not mean sugar-free (necessarily). There are plenty of substitutes for sugar. You can use honey, agave nectar, or Stevia. All are acceptable substitutes for sucrose. If you don’t understand anything I just said, check out our “Sugar Shock” series for the low down.
  2. It does not mean high protein (necessarily). Yes, I know it would be icing on the cake to slip someone a protein enhanced dish but think of this…protein powder ain’t cheap and do you really want to waste it on someone who won’t appreciate it?
  3. It is not meant to re-invent the wheel. That is to say, here on BF we do a lot of re-imagining food, especially when we can’t have it in the exact form we had it before. In covert baking, that would sort of defeat the point. Your goal is to make it look, act, smell and taste like the original as closely as possible.

Some tips on covert baking:

  1. Embellishment. Make things look pretty and they taste that much better.
  2. Like I said, don’t go overboard. Just make a few sensible swaps that don’t drastically affect the taste and texture of what you are making.
  3. This is not for you! So while you can taste test…remember the point is to give it away!
  4. Discretion! It’s hard to contain yourself as you give away your treats, I know. But the fun is in keeping it to yourself until just the right moment. Recognize that this moment may never arrive and you might just have to giggle behind people’s backs about this forever, k?

In the very near future I’ll give some tips about covert cooking. It’s a similar endeavor but there are some challenges specific to covert cooking that we’ll cover.

As for the cookies…I’ll report back on how they were received. They already have the post-op seal of approval from my good friend Pam, who received some as a gift this past summer. So I’m sure they’ll get rave reviews among my loved ones. Especially my stepdad…who delighted in frying bacon and stinking up the whole house when I was only four days post-op! Take THAT stepdaddy! 😉

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