Saturday, June 23, 2012

Toasted Coconut Cookies

I won't claim these are very healthy and they aren't gluten free, either.  But they are very yummy.

Toasted Coconut Cookies

When I was in my twenties and struggling to follow a macrobiotic diet that promised me extreme health and zen composure, someone brought an enormous box of donuts into a work meeting.  I don’t like donuts.  But there was one toasted coconut in that box and I kept looking at it.  Everyone else picked the powdered sugar or custard or jelly filled (all good ways to ruin a nice suit).  That one toasted coconut donut looked back at me, like a sad dog at a shelter.  At the end of the meeting, I adopted that donut, took it to my desk and when no one was looking, ate all the coconut off the outside and threw the donut middle away.

These cookies were made in remembrance of that donut, twenty-some years later.  It’s funny what we remember.


  • 4 1/2 cups shredded coconut  (I buy bulk unsweetened and sweetened and mix them together.  If you have a sweet tooth, use all sweetened)
  • 1/3 c. dark brown sugar, 2/3 cup white sugar (or 1 cup sugar minus two tablespoons, which you can replace with dark molasses)
  • Zest of 2 limes or one orange
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of baking powder
  • 1 stick cold butter, sliced into pats
  • 1 large egg
  • Flavorings – use either 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 tsp coconut extract with lime zest - or 2 tsp. vanilla (or “vanilla, butter and nut”) flavoring with orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


  1. Turn oven on to broil.
  2. Put coconut in a pan and toast it under broiler, watching carefully because sweetened coconut burns very easily.  Only toast the top of it to a light brown.  If you find you really like the toasted flavor, you can stir it up and put it back under the broiler. 
  3. Put 2 ½ c. of the coconut and all the sugar in a food processor or high end blender (like a Vitamix) and grind it into a fine meal. 
  4. Mix the salt and baking powder into the flour.  Place it and all the rest of the ingredients into the processor and process it until it is just barely mixed.  It should look crumbly like pie crust dough.
  5. Cover and refrigerate an hour, until firm.  This helps the texture of the cookies later.
  6. Turn oven to 350 degrees. 
  7. Shape balls from the cookie dough, then flatten and push into the remaining toasted coconut. 
  8. Place on baking sheets (I like using pizza stones). Bake until just beginning to brown, close to 25 minutes, but peek at the first batch at 20 minutes just in case your oven runs hot.  (Again, sweetened coconut likes to burn.)  Cool at least 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack or they will fall apart. 
  9. Enjoy!


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