Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Coconut-Macadamia Shortbread Cookies...

For quite a long while, coconut was on the list of foods Jeff declared he didn't like and to be honest, I was not much of a fan of it growing up either. However, we made a Coconut Biscotti a few years ago on a whim and I found it was actually enjoyable and Jeff slowly came to the appreciate it the same. Fast forward to present day, coconut is no longer a dirty word and we have these Coconut-Macadamia Shortbread Cookies that we made for the Weekly Wednesday Treat Day to show for it.

A trio of coconut wiggled their way into these cookies - shredded coconut, thick cream of coconut (think Coco Lopez - you know, the stuff to make PiƱa Coladas?) and a splash of pure coconut extract for good measure. Before working with the macadamia nuts, you'll will want to toast them until their pale outsides turn a light golden color - you could do this in a skillet, but I find happens more evenly if you take care of it in the oven.

Shoot for 8 to 10 minutes (stirring a few times) at 350 degrees. Because you want them well distributed throughout each cookie, the nuts need to be ground first - however, with their high fat content, you do need to be a little careful as the macadamias could turn into nut butter quickly. To help prevent that, a couple tablespoons of sugar are added, along with a scoop of the dry ingredients to absorb excess oil from the nuts - be sure to use the pulse button for more control.

Just as the nuts were blitzed in the processor, the same was done with a portion of the shredded coconut - this way the shreds won't become unruly when you roll and cut the dough. Once the dough comes together, it is fairly soft and will roll out much easier if it is divided in half, with each being rolled in saran wrap and chilled to firm up.

The dough halves are rolled out to roughly 1/4" thick, but because the butter inside will have softened a bit, do yourself a favor and slide the dough sheets back into the fridge once more - not long, about a half hour will do. The re-chilled dough is then cut into squares using a fluted cutter and as long as you don't work the dough too much or use too much excess flour, feel free to reroll and cut the scraps as needed for maximum yield. If you don't have a square cutter and still want the shape, use a ruler and pastry wheel to knock it out - otherwise, a regular cookie or biscuit cutter would work fine.

Before the cookies are baked, the tops are brushed with a beaten egg white and rained on by a shower of coconut. Let the edges of the cookies and coconut tops be your guide for doneness - they'll be ready when both are golden brown. Rather than whisking them off to wire racks to cool, let them rest on the sheets they baked on until they are cool to the touch. This way, the buttery cookies will be crisp out the outside, but still tender and a bit crumbly.

With an in-your-face coconut attitude, you could tell what these cookies would hold as soon as you picked one up with their powerful aroma jet-setting right up to your nose. I wondered if all that coconut would be the only thing you could taste, but since the macadamias are rich enough and you've toasted them, its flavor doesn't fade away. Saying that, the nut's unique quality didn't come through as much as I had hoped - it plays more of a buttery, supportive role (and an expensive one at that!) than anything. We've done a fair amount of chocolate treats lately, so we decided to forgo any here - but, if you wanted to dress them up even more, a hasty drizzle of melted bittersweet chocolate would be an appropriate, tasty finish.


  1. OMG Joe, could ya send me a dozen of these?...heaven...he he!

    Looks great...enjoy!

  2. I discovered coconut with those biscotti as well! These look wonderful, and I'm thinking will be a family favorite as well.

  3. I love coconut in desserts. These look delicious :)

  4. I've never been a coconut fan. I do eat them on occasions. I must admit I could smell these cookies a mile away.

  5. i'm a sucker for anything with coconut looks really good

  6. Pam - If it was only that easy!

    Kim - I make those biscotti quite often now. Love them!

    Avanika - Thanks!

    Ronnell - All the reason to try them out yourself.

    TIF - Thank you!