Before we get on to this week’s recipe, I’d just like check in with you for a minute. How are you doing? This has been a wild couple of weeks, and when we think we’ve seen and experienced everything the world can throw at us, we get another punch right to the side of the head. These last weeks have brought the most devastating forest fires in our country’s history, tremendous political unrest, and the continuation of the virus that keeps on coming. How are you handling it all? I hope you can hold on to some hope and a glimmer of optimism in these dark times. Let’s show them whose boss – when we get knocked down let’s dust ourselves off and get back up (it is not beyond me to also make an obscene gesture to make my point in all this). Do what you need to do to keep your head above water. And if you’re struggling, a very wise person recently told me “Don’t think you are in this alone. You can always ask for help”. Wise words, and very important to remember when we’re scraping the bottom of whatever barrel we find ourselves in. During challenging times, it helps to go to my happy place and that is, of course, the kitchen. Seems like a good time for coconut cookies…
Every few months, I make several varieties of cookies and stash them in the freezer for snacks, mood elevation, and for sharing with friends. I also make lunch for my mom, Neeners, every day, and she insists on a cookie for dessert or I will have hell to pay. Over the years, many cookie varieties have come and gone from the selections, but the other day I had a yearning for coconut cookies. These Chewy Toasted Coconut Cookies were the result. No bells and whistles – no nuts, no chocolate, no dried fruit, no oatmeal…just coconut. Then the dilemma arose as to whether it should be a chewy or crispy cookie. Since we are heading into fall, the desire for something a little more substantial was at the top of the list, so chewy won the toss. Coconut had to be the star, so to get as much flavor out of it as possible, I toasted the coconut in the oven to develop even more flavor. And we are not being skimpy here – there are a good two cups of coconut in these guys. How about baking yourself a batch, sitting back, taking a deep breath, and remembering all that is good in this world of ours.
Since these are toasted coconut cookies, let’s start by toasting the coconut. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (not a must-do but makes clean up a whole lot easier) and sprinkle on the sweetened, flaked coconut. Toast in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until it looks like this. Set this aside until the coconut comes to room temperature which only takes about 10 minutes. In the meantime, you can get moving on your other ingredients.
These coconut cookies have got to be one of the world’s easiest. We are all about a comfort food cookie today, so let’s not get too fancy – there is no need for kitchen gymnastics with these guys. Just cream butter and sugar together, add the eggs and vanilla, salt and baking powder and then I do something a little different. The coconut is added before the flour, which I’m sure flies in the face of about ten thousand baking rules but I don’t care. The idea is to incorporate all of that coconut as easily as possible, so we don’t need any flour in the way at this point. Once the coconut is mixed in, the flour is added. Easy peasy. The next little trick is in the baking…Keep your eyes on these because every person’s oven is different. Bake them until the edges start to turn golden brown. The cookie tops still appear moist but not like raw cookie dough. When you have achieved this coconut cookie nirvana, yank them out of the oven. Allow to cool on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes until they’ve set up. They will continue to bake for a few minutes on the cookie sheet. Check out the little pieces of toasted coconut and you can see where all that flavor comes from.
Here’s one more little trick…I make the dough the day before and let it sit overnight in the fridge. Then I take the dough for the coconut cookies out of the fridge in the morning and let it come to room temperature before baking. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems to give the coconut a good head start to develop more flavor within the cookie. Not a deal breaker, and you can decide for yourself. PS – the beautiful berries in these photos come from a Hawthorne tree. Dick and I discovered one during our morning walk the other day, and I looked pitiful until he snapped off a branch to take home.
And that’s all there is to it! I hope you enjoy the crisp edges, chewy centers, and coconut cookie heaven when you dive in. And let’s all keep hanging in there….my best to you and yours.
Thanks so much for reading today. I appreciate you taking this time to share with me. And as always, I’d love to hear from you. Just send me an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with any ideas, comments, or questions you may have. I promise to reply to each and every one. Take care. xoxoxoxo
- 1 cup (2 cubes) room temperature butter
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 cups flaked, sweetened coconut
- 2 ¾ cup unbleached flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- TO TOAST THE COCONUT:
- Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (not really necessary, but really makes clean-up much easier).
- Spread the coconut out onto the parchment, and pop into the oven.
- After about 10 minutes, use a pair of tongs to toss the coconut around. This helps it toast more evenly. You should be seeing some browning in places at this point.
- Let the coconut toast for another 5-7 minutes. It should be fragrant and have several nicely browned areas by now.
- Remove from oven and allow to come to room temperature. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
- FOR THE COOKIES
- In a mixer or mixing bowl: Add the butter and beat until well combined, then slowly pour in the granulated sugar and keep mixing until all the sugar is incorporated and the mixture looks nice and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Wait about one minute between adding the first and second eggs. This might seem like a dumb idea but trust me on this – it makes for a lot better end result. This little extra time allows the eggs to blend in with the butter and emulsify and stabilize the mixture. We need those eggs to become close friends with the butter, not try to keep to themselves.
- Add the vanilla and mix until well blended.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the baking powder and salt.
- With the mixer still on low, gradually add the cooled, toasted coconut. Mix until well blended together.
- Still keeping the mixer on low, gradually add the flour and mix only until well combined with everything else.
- TO BAKE THE COOKIES
- Note: I like a nice, big cookie, so I use a small ice cream scoop that holds about 2 tablespoons of dough. If you like a smaller cookie, feel free to do so. Just keep your eyes peeled and pull them from the oven sooner.
- I can fit 8 scoops of cookie dough onto a large cookie sheet by arranging 3 on each side and 2 in the center of the pan.
- Using the flat of your hand, gently press down the rounded dough until you have a flat cookie that is around ½ inch thick.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes, or until the edges start to turn a very light brown and the center of the cookie still looks set and slightly moist but not like raw cookie dough.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes to set up.
- Place on cooling rack and allow to cool all the way, but first grab one for yourself!!