There is a notable, sad absence of recipes that involve coconut on this site and it’s like totally my husband’s fault. The boy thinks he doesn’t like coconut and every time I mention something that involves it he says “maybe you can make something chocolate instead?” But he’s wrong, no really, he is. I believe that he does like coconut, he just doesn’t like that shredded, hard to chew stuff people stick to the outside of otherwise-tasty frosting. It’s not the flavor that bugs him. And so I set out to prove him wrong by making these cookies, where the coconut is toasted and then ground and you get all of the flavor but not of the annoyingly papery texture. Alex was adamantly opposed, so I promised to either dip or fill them with chocolate or raspberry or even better, filled with raspberry and dipped in chocolate and do you know what happened?
None of this was necessary. Because I WAS RIGHT! He loves these cookies and he does love coconut when it’s not gagging and leathery and did I mention I WAS RIGHT? Because, well, I probably have one or three or a dozen times this week. I’m really fun and mature like that.
This isn’t to say that you couldn’t make these into sandwich cookies or even cuter, linzer-style hearts if you have two size heart cookie cutters and want a little belly of jam to show through on the top cookie. You could dip a corner of the cookie in melted white or dark chocolate, or both. I even thought about adding lime zest to go with the tropical theme, as lime and coconut were made to be together. But promise me that before you do anything to them, you will try them as they are. Because they’re amazing: crispy, buttery, nutty, fragrant and perfectly salted, just the right amount to bring all the flavors into perfect harmony.
Chocolate! Like I was going to leave you chocolate fanatics hanging — it is Valentine’s Day week after all. I created an index of all of the chocolate-heavy recipes on this site. Of course, were I to have put together every recipe with any amount of chocolate on this site, well, I may as well have duplicated the entire archives. Instead, I focused on confections where chocolate is the main attraction, or the kinds of things the chocoholic in your life dreams about. [Chocolate Index]
One year ago: Seven Yolk Pasta
Toasted Coconut Shortbread
Adapted from Bon Appetit, April 2004
The original recipe was double this size, yielding six dozen cookies. I halved it.
1/2 cup (about 1.5 ounces) unsweetened shredded coconut*
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks or 6 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature**
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt (Updated: for unsweetened coconut, the smaller amount; sweetened, the larger amount)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread coconut on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until coconut is light golden, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Cool completely, then grind in a coffee grinder, food processor or blender until coarsely ground.
Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Mix in salt and vanilla. Beat in flour in 2 additions. Stir in toasted coconut. Gather dough together, flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic. Chill at least 1 hour. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out dough disk on lightly floured work surface to scant 1/4-inch thickness. Using 1 3/4- to 2-inch-diameter cookie cutters, cut dough into rounds. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Gather dough scraps and reroll; cut out additional cookies.
Bake cookies until light golden, about 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks and cool completely. (Can be made ahead. Store airtight at room temperature up to 1 week.)
* I couldn’t find unsweetened, so I used sweetened and dialed back the sugar by 2 tablespoons.
** If you’re looking for an excuse to splurge on the good butter, shortbread is it. You will absolutely appreciate the extra flavor as it shows up in this cookie.
280 comments on toasted coconut shortbread
I am a fan of the organic dried flaked coconut. I used to think I hated coconut too, but it was just the dessicated stuff I couldn’t take. Your cookies look wonderful, I think I may have to whip myself up a batch.
Hi there! These cookies looks delicious! I wanted to ask you if you think it will turn out ok if I used soybutter instead of unsalted butter, Do i scale back salt? My daughter is dairy and egg allergic and Im always searching for desserts she can have….
Thanks! and love your website!
It would work with any other dairy-free shortening.
I should add, if your shortening has salt, just use her smaller amount (1/2 tsp) of salt.
I love coconut baked goods! These cookies look lovely, and are a nice change from my usual chocolate-cookie obsession.
Hi Marcea — I have never cooked/baked with soybutter before. Perhaps someone else will weigh in.
Olive oil. I have replaced it one to one with butter in almost all of Deb’s numerous cookie recipes and have loved the outcome!
My husband is the same, thinks he hates coconut until he has something with coconut in it where the coconut was properly cooked. Those cookies are seriously making my mouth water!! And the heart shapes are too cute! I bet they would be good if you dipped half the heart in dark chocolate.
Ok, now I am in real trouble.
Good for you – isn’t being right fun? Of course it doesn’t happen all the time (at least not for me) but still…
Oh my – these cookies look scrumptious! And I’m glad that Alex likes them too. Although if he didn’t, would that mean that there wouuld be more left for you? :)
ive been looking for something to make for the office for valentines day and these would be perfect!
if i were to fill them and make sandwiches, do you have a recipe for a fruit filling?
Delicious! I love the heart shape too. I need to purchase some cookie cutters!
I have a neglected container of unsulphered coconut hanging out in my fridge and just inherited my “adopted” grandmother’s heart shaped cookie cutters – this recipe would be the perfect way to use both!
So cute! Just the photo made me smile…these will most definitely be dessert for my Valentine’s Day dinner party.
You know what would go great with these? Coconut hot chocolate! http://tinyurl.com/ckbhxo
These look delicous – one question before I roll up my sleeves and start baking. In what form is the coconut – is it dried flakes or some other form. If it is something else would the dried flakes work?
I am making these to cheer myself up this week! There are few things I love as dearly as the flavor of coconut.
You know, I’ve always thought I hated coconut, but maybe it’s the same for me and it’s the texture that drives me crazy (yuk, ick, just thinking about it these little cardboard-like shreds, blergh, especially when they coat chicken in them). I’ll take the plunge with these cookies (but maybe dip them in chocolate for extra insurance anyway)…
we lead parallel lives, i swear…or at least parallel significant others…i will make this and i hope to live out my own moment of “did I mention I WAS RIGHT?” vindication. it will be sweet.
I love coconut & I love shortbread so I will love cocnut shortbread! Looks so gooddd!!!! MMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmm…
Oh. my. god. I love coconut and think anyone who doesn’t is totally crazy. I will have to make these.
Yum…and congrats on being right! Now I just have to figure out a way to prove to my fiance that he actually doesn’t hate shrimp and olives.
Wasn’t it Mother’s Cookies that made a coconut spritz or shortbread cookie? Some were sold as a filled sandwich cookie and some pkg’s were just the plain cookie. Anyway, I loved them but now Mother’s is out of business. Boo! These will more than suffice, I’m sure. Thanks, Deb.
These look amazing! I love coconut, and I love chocolate, and I love them together. How about dipping them in chocolate for that chocolate lovin’ boy of yours?
Brooke — I just use jam. I mean, you can make a curd with egg yolks and butter (I have a lime, lemon and mango recipes) but they end up being a bit on the thin side and work better as filling when set with gelatin… as you can see, a lot of fussing. Store-bought jam works great and you can strain the seeds out if they bother you.
Damn you, damn you and your delicious looking cookies! ;) I loooove coconut, these look SO good. Damnit.
Don’t you all just love it when Deb IS RIGHT? Did I mention she seems to be FREQUENTLY right? (Sorry, Alex!) Um, I have a son who says he doesn’t like coconut either…and now I know what I should bake him. I kept saying, “I bet you just don’t like the dried stuff in the bag.”
Oh, I soooo understand the coconut issue. I have it myself. It’s not the flavor of coconut – it’s 100% the texture of the shredded variety. I will not spell out here what I did as a child, after biting into my first slice of cute-as-a-button Easter bunny cake covered in shredded coconut, but I will say that just even looking at an easter bunny cake – several decades later – is enough to make my stomach go flippity-floppity (and not in a cute bunny-ears way). The cookies really are cute, though. (Still too wary of the “coconut effect” to try them, however :( . But I’ll keep the recipe on file, just in case, someday….)
These look great I’ll be making them this weekend. Love the heart cookie cutters (I must buy some!) I’m another who loves coconut flavor, but hates the texture of coconut flakes so these cookies are perfect. I wish I could eat one now!
This is one of my very favorite cookies but I always make them as a sandwich cookie, with a fudgy center…thanks for posting this, haven’t made them in a while and I think I’m due a batch!
I saw the tweet about these a couple of days ago and have had my fingers crossed for the recipe ever since. These are exactly what I need to make this crappy week (it’s only Tuesday!) better.
My husband has the same issue with coconut, but he also claims to have the same aversion to ‘nuts IN things’, like banana bread or cookies. But then I made him the ‘Blue Chip Chocolate Chip Cookies’ with toasted pecans ground up and mixed into the dough and he’s quite in love with those cookies (and I WAS RIGHT!). So I don’t see why it wouldn’t be the same with coconut! Brilliant!
He also has the same problem with onions, but since I refuse to cook without onions, I spent the first few years of our marriage whizzing onions down to a pulp in order to hide them in sauces or soups. Until I discovered shallots – if I chop them pretty fine, they’re still invisible but retain the flavor I’m aiming for.
Can you believe anyone is THAT picky? Of course you can – you’re married to one, too! ;)
Oh my how darling! The only cookie cutter I own is a heart… and I’ve never used it. Perhaps I’ll have to fix that.
They sounds delicious and look adorable!
Those look amazing! Though I actually like the papery coconut texture.
My husband doesn’t like coconut if he knows it’s in something so I just don’t tell him anymore! Now I’m going to have to get some heart shaped cookie cutters and make these just for the fun of it.
What’s not to love about these cookies :) They are SO cute and I love coconut
Loooove coconut and those cookies are too cute. I should make some and give them to all the sad little children in my sons’ classes for Val Day…or keep them all to myself…generous or stingy…which am I this week?
I am one of those people that say they don’t like coconut, when in fact it’s just the consistency of the flakes I don’t enjoy. I love the flavor of coconut, so I will definitely have to try these. They look and sound amazing!
Dear, um, #32 (couldn’t quite bring myself to address you by your screen name :). Are you crazy! I’m gagging, just reading the sentence. That papery texture aversion is so ingrained at this point, that a year or so ago, I ordered one of those cold chicken wraps from Chick-Fil-A, which used to come tightly rolled in two layers of paper – the logo-stamped sheet on the outside and a very thin plain white sheet on the inside. Well, I only peeled off the outer layer and, without looking, took a bite … and started to chew. It was nearly the Easter bunny cake all over again. (Unfortunately, there were witnesses: my brother and father still will not let me live that incident down… “Uh, need any help unwrapping your food there, Karen, heh heh heh?”)
I have to say I’m on Alex’s side; I think of coconut as something that ruins an otherwise perfect cake or cookie. However, you haven’t steered me wrong yet so I’ll have to give them a try. I’ve recently acquired a totally wonderful, coconut-loving boyfriend, and he’s going to find these waiting for him when he gets to my place Friday night.
I have some coconut and I love shortbread, so I’ll give this a try!
I grew up eating and loving fresh coconut and sweets made with fresh coconut, so it’s weird that I tend to hate American confections made with it. I just find most coconut-flavored cookies, cakes, etc. to be cloyingly sweet and lacking in real coconut flavor. Plus yep, I hate the sawdust texture of dried coconut a lot of times. My mother laments that coconut ice cream in this country is inedible (no coconut flavor and usually full of nasty dried coconut; Dominican coconut ice cream contains no coconut flesh of any kind, just pure coconut flavor from the milk). I occasionally bake with coconut, but still very few recipes featuring dried coconut stack up against the traditional Dominican recipes featuring fresh coconut and coconut milk (have never understood steeping cow’s milk with coconut for puddings when we’d just use coconut milk).
Hopefully this one will be a winner.
These cookies look great and I am going to make them soon! I used to think I didn’t like coconut but now I cannot seem to get enough of it. I am constantly making The Barefoot Contessa’s granola and her recipe for coconut cupcakes are great, too!
I have bought Bob’s Red Mill unsweetened flaked coconut and since the coconut needs to be ground anyway I will give this a try.
I agree, using properly prepared coconut makes all the difference! I used to be a coconut hater too… and then I grew up and got exposed to options OTHER than those awful cakes/cupcakes. Consider me a coconut convert.
Hey Deb (and the rest of the blog readers) where do you find all these people to consume the calories? i wish we have more friends doesn’t mind not being able to fit in their jeans ;) my office people gives me the evil eye every time i show up with a tupperware of baked things. if i baked like you did, i don’t think i’ll be able to stay around!!
oh well, these shortbreads looks fantastic. i might half or third the recipe… wonder how that will turn out…
i wonder if i can take the excess baked goods to a homeless shelter or give them out in the streets? just an idea. tell me what you think guys!
This is for Marcea. Marcea, hope you read that. Have you ever tried using coconut butter? It substitutes butter perfectly. You do not have to change the amounts either. However, it is not salty. It is actually very mild and you cannot taste coconut at all when you use it for cooking or baking. So, no it would not make these cookies double coconut cookies. As another reader has pointed out, tofu is a good substitute for eggs. Best of luck.
And Deb, that chocolate index… I’m speechless.
They look delicious, I love shortbread, but I HATE coconut. Texture, flavor, even the smell. It’s the only food I lie about being allergic to. Samoas, German chocolate cake, pina coladas, and even lotions that smell like coconut.
Coconut is a foodie’s dream! These cookies would encourage major gorging.
I never liked coconut, either. But once I “grew up” I tried coconut flavored candy treats, or Mexican popsicles, drinks, etc. I love the flavor. I still have an issue with the texture, though (like your husband). The only way I think I like it (shredded) is on a seven-layer type bar, where it’s drenched with sweetened condensed milk anyway.
oh dear…these look divine. but then again, i love coconut, even the gagging and leathery kind. :-)
will be making these very soon.
Thanks for this recipe! I have been looking for a recipe where I could use my heart cookie cutter, but didn’t want to go the “ho-hum” sugar cookie route. I share Alex’s texture issue, but like the taste, so I am anxious to try these.
Mmmmmm. I can see a Nutella filling going perfectly well with these. thanks!
Those look delicate and delicious!
Wow, these look insanely easy and insanely delicious! I will definitely have to try these out. Thanks!
I’m with your husband on the icky leathery shredded coconut dislike. But since I love things made with coconut milk I’ll give these a try. Thanks for the idea to toast & grind the heck out of the leathery stuff. Goodun!
I may have to admit that I’m like Alex. I’ve never liked coconut, but it may just be that I hate that stuff that you mentioned, and not actually coconut. I’m willing to give it a second try.
I had the same problem with my husband thinking he didn’t like coconut. I won him over with coconut milk chai rice pudding, but I will have to try these next.
Marcea-Soy margarine should work fine for this recipe, just make sure it is stick margarine rather than tub because tub has a much higher water content which leads to texture issues. I use unsalted margarine and don’t change the salt in the recipes. My blog is all about non-dairy baking so feel free to check it out for more dessert ideas for you daughter. (the vegan label will bring up all non-egg recipes)
I second the coconut oil for butter substitution!
These look so delicious I can hardly stand it. Shortbread is my favorite, I love coconut, and duh, everything’s cuter in a heart shape!
My husband and I both dislike coconut, though I think you’re right that it’s usually the shredded, hard to chew variety we tend to avoid. I might have to try these to see if it changes our minds!
ooooooooooo so cute, and with jam even better!! Perfect valentines day cookies!!!
Shoshana, comment 54, can you please send me the recipe for coconut milk chai rice pudding!!! Sounds to die for!! :) melissa at overtype.org
Holy cow, Deb. Right in time for Valentine’s Day you come up with a COCONUT, adorable, heart-shaped cookie recipe?!? It’s like you complete me (don’t tell my mans). I’m making these tonight. Another thought: maybe even white chocolate tinted with pink to really valentine-it-out. Oh, and I just saw the genius suggestion above for Nutella filling and I almost passed out.
I would love these. No coconut lovers in this house.
Trader Joe’s usually has dried unsweetened coconut – cheap! So if you have time, you could check them out.
In the meantime, these look divine! Toasted equals tasty : )
I am definitely a coconut purist but every once in awhile, a coconut cookie dipped in chocolate hits the spot. These look luscious.
Put de lime in de coconut and call me in the morning. Making these TONIGHT!
My boyfriend also thinks he doesn’t like coconut. It makes me so sad because I loooove coconut! I will definitely be trying these. :) Great post!
Hmmmm. If only you had posted yesterday! I had a hankering for shortbread, in nice Valentine’s shapes of course! Mine were tasty, but not nearly as interesting as these!
oh, these look perfect. i have a coconut ice cream that i want to make and these would be perfection on the side…or as sandwiches. yum. i do the same thing with my fiance…we now have a rule that he has to try things he thinks he doesn’t like, especially if i make them. i am usually right, and being similarly fun and mature, i make him aware of that over and over.
BUTTER LOOKS SO GOOD ON COCONUT. My dad loves coconut. I will make these for him the next time we get in a tiff. just kidding! no, but seriously…
This looks divine! My mouth is watering. Yum! I will have to try this very soon!
Congratulations! I don’t think there’s any hope for Quinn becoming a coconut convert. And I do love it so.
Thank you for that! My boyfriend insists on his dislike of coconut as well, but I am certain it is simply because he’s had bad experiences with it in the past. He’s definitely texture-savvy and I have a feeling his aversion is due to the stringy aspect of the packaged stuff. I will HAVE to try these out…especially since he loves shortbread! ;-)
oh Deb, I knew I liked you. yay coconut! if you are a fan, have you checked out the Häagen-Dazs “Reserve” flavor, Toasted Coconut Sesame Brittle? it was one of the flavors submitted to a reality show on the Food Network a few years ago, and I was very sad when it lost out to Sticky Toffee Pudding. I guess they kept the idea around, and thank goodness because it is good. not “I have to eat this entire carton right now” good, but “hunh, these flavors are really tasty together and after a couple of bites I feel sated & sophisticated” good.
i love coconut; the flavor is so comforting, yet refreshing. add it to a shortbread cookie? now, that’s a recipe i HAVE to try! they look delicious!
I love these! looks delicious! (and festive, of course)
Absolutely brilliant. Made these tonight and they are fantastic. Thanks Deb, for continuing to make my food-world a better place. I’m just shaking my head all the way over here in CA, b/c toasted coconut and shortbread is just absolutely genius.
Oh yum, these look great! Hey, now I can use the heart-shaped cookie-cutters I bought, um, 2 years ago. (wow, it’s been a while since I’ve used them :P)
1. love the looks of these. Will definitely whip some up. Also,
2. I read in a book a while back that one of the characters hated coconut and it was all about the texture – said it was like eating cuticles! It’s such a gross, but perfectly apt description I can’t forget it! Thought I’d share!
3. I buy unsweetened coconut at health food stores. Worth the trip…
for Marcea–I’ve used the soy margarine (stick form) for baking many things including dariy and egg free croissants. My grandson is allergic to eggs, and couldn’t have dairy for awhile (though now he can have dairy), so I adapted a lot of recipes. Check out vegan cookbooks, they were really helpful for me. for eggs, you can substitute soy yogurt, silken tofu, applesauce or flax. I just made some egg and dairy free chocolate cupcakes tonight since he was asking for cupcakes all afternoon.
Is that a husband thing? Mine also claims to be coconut averse, but when I sneak it in, he loves it. It seems like most men I have met have the same issue with ginger too.
You just explained why I *thought* I hated coconut, too.
I got this recipe on Peabody’s blog, made them as slice and bake cookies and dipped half of each cookie in white chocolate then sprinkled with toasted coconut. They were fabulous, Deb, and I love your heart shaped version.
As for the record, the wives are always right. :D
Tried these last night – they are super easy to make, adorable to look at and oh my god taste like heaven…
Deb, I’m still not receiving your posts in my inbox – please email me, if you can.
I love anything coconut. In fact, I’m sipping a cup of fresh ground coffee with full-fat coconut milk as I type. This recipe looks fairly straight-forward and easy to convert to gluten-free. I might even add a small dash of coconut flour to my all-purpose GF flour to amp up the coconut taste. Thanks for the inspiration — I’m actually relieved to find a non-chocolate recipe at this point. :-)
I made these last night as well- ive had some coconut sitting in my fridge that i needed to dispatch. They’re very good (i loooove shortbread), but i wish they were MORE coconutty! It could just be that I used low-quality coconut, so next time I’ll try using better stuff and more of it :) Oh, I also drizzled them with chocolate and they’re oh-so-pretty!
Deb, In the 2nd paragraph of recipe, should we be dividing the dough into two discs?
Really, what is this thing about not liking coconut? My kids are the same way! Every time I see a recipe for a coconut cake or coconut creme pie (YUM) I get all excited, then the big let down occurs when I remember no one will eat it but me.
Hey, all, lots of comments! A quick questions: I live in a tiny apartment and don’t have the counter space to roll out dough for cut-outs. Does anyone know if this recipe would work if I chilled the dough in two logs and then sliced out the cookies? Any advice would be appreciated, I’d love to give these a try!
I love coconut! I love shortbread! I especially love shortbread made with kosher salt, so there is an occasional surprise of salt in a delicious, sweet, buttery bite! Yer killin’ me here! Also, congrats on the chocolate index. I already accessed it when trying to find inspiration for my bridge club next week. BTW, I have you all beaten…my husband DOESN’T GIVE A HOOT FOR SWEETS! Thank God for the bridge ladies, for giving me an excuse to bake.
Kate — I don’t see why it wouldn’t work and it looks like Patricia (#81) has already done it that way.
Ellen — No, that is not necessary. I will edit that now. The recipe was originally for double this amount, which I found ridiculous and halved it — forgot to mention that. (6 dozen cookies? Are we catering?)
You know what goes so well with coconut? Almond! I bet an almond cream filling for sandwich cookies or finely chopped toasted almonds mixed in with dipping chocolate would be fantastic with these.
I have an almond milk and coconut milk ice cream base chilling right now. Mmm.
Must go root around in pantry for coconut. . .
Those look/sound delicious! Can’t wait to try them!
I have the same problem – I work with mostly women and you can’t count on them being willing to eat something sweet, at least not when anyone else is looking. It’s very annoying. Fortunately, I work for a large corporation. When I want to share something, I go across the hall to where a bunch of men work. The container is ALWAYS emptied, usually within a couple of hours. The time I brought in the famous NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies, I actually got requests for the recipe from some of the guys.
TANJA, SHOSHANA and WES… Thank you for the comments and suggestions!! I havent been able to find soybutter sticks or even heard of coconut butter… Ive only been dealing with this allergy for less a year. I need to shop the organic stores more closely… closest one is like 15 miles away. but I will look for them and try it out!
I love shortbread. this sounds wonderful!
I love coconut, so needless to say – these cookies sound (and look) delicious!
I’m with your husband on this one. I always say I hate coconut, because I hate the shredded stuff. But honestly, I love the flavor. I wish I had someone at home convincing me with all these delicious treats of yours. Thanks for sharing!
Oh no Deb!
I just made them two pans full of little hearts and what happend? They all melted into one large pan-sized cookie. ;( must done something wrong with the conversion in metric…. *sniff* but they taste soo good.
FYI: I used
half a teaspoon salt
half a teaspoon vanilla
any idea where I went wrong? I would love to show them around, but mine are to hideous!
Deb, I had the same problem as Carla! I just made these and they were soooo buttery they all melted into one and the butter browned as they baked :(
I converted the butter into grams too so maybe I got the quantities wrong…? But I love the idea so might just adapt another shortbread recipe I have and add coconut!!
Fresh. Baked. DELIGHT! *mouth watering*
These do look delicious! Although I am a fan of all coconut, even phony extract flavoring, coconut rum and the cheap in the bag shredded coconut :) So i’m sure these will be a hit.
DEB–do you have any favorite chocolate recipes you could recommend from your recipe list for the big Valentine’s day here?
Hey Deb! Just wanted to drop a line to let you know my 3 1/2 year old son literally LICKED the computer screen when I was looking through this post! The child LOVES him some cookies! He first asked if I was making these then promptly licked the screen. If that is not a compliment to how good these cookies look, I don’t know what would be! :)
firstly i luv this blog!!! second of all i think that you should add some music to the background of the blog… it will enhance it greatly…
Making these now. Bye!
Carla 98 & Fiona 99, in shortbread cookies, the butter and flour amounts are generally equal (by weight) or very close to equal. Try 160g-170g of flour with your 170g of butter. (I use a weight of 120g to 128g for each cup of flour)
“A little belly of jam”? Awesome.
These are so pretty! I’ve never cooked with unsweetened coconut before, but I definitely need to try.
you can find unsweetened coconut at the health food store or co-op, usually in the bulk bins. unsweetened coconut is also generally more fine in texture than sweetened, shredded coconut that you get at the grocery store. i had to track all this down when i made dorie greenspan’s coconut domes, which have now become a staple in my household. i think you can find the recipe on serious eats.
LOVE the link someone gave about the coconut hot chocolate. Can’t wait to use up that can of coconut milk that’s been collecting dust in my pantry! Will also be making myself these cookies for Valentine’s Day!
Loved these, baked them today, hubby loves them too!
Yum! Just finished making these. Decided to drizzle them w/ chocolate so that was a nice addition. Next time I will drizzle w/ dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet for a more intense chocolate flavor. They took a little less than 20 mins to cook for me (maybe around 17 or so.) But they are very buttery & delicious! I am sure my coworkers are going to be thrilled tomorrow! Thanks for the recipe!
Hmmm…I also had spreading issues (and I was not converting into the metric system!). It got a bit better once I popped the cut-out dough into the fridge to firm up a little before baking, but they are still not terribly photogenic. Guess not EVERY baking project can be a total success (though that Cranberry Vanilla Coffee Cake was a home run…).
I’m a sucker for anything with coconut! These look yummy!
I love coconut! I’m so glad that you’ve produced a convert!
Mmmmm! These look really good. I think coconut is great.
I had to come out of lurkdom to say thank you Deb! These look fantastic and are the 4th recipe on smitten kitchen in the last week and a half I’ve bookmarked to try, hopefully soon. I loooove coconut, but can handle only so much of the rubbery, shredded type, so this is a fantastic way to get the flavour I want without that texture.
Mmmmmm! Conversion – One cookie at a time. I love it!
Oh, Deb! I just found your website about an hour ago, and I’v already copied 3 recipes to try on my friends at our annual women’s retreat this weekend!! I’m matching these cookies with Key Lime Snow (different website) for the dessert….
Love your sense of humor – keep up the good work!!
Oh my. this looks absolutely fabulous.
it is the complete opposite with me. my alex loves coconut and it is me who thinks she doesn’t like coconut. maybe i need to prove myself wrong with these cookies because they look yummy! thanks for sharing it.
Oh, nice. :)
My mother makes a lovely Brasilian coconut pudding (pudim de coco) – also not dry and leathery at all, since the shredded coconut soaks in milk first, then gets cooked in the lovely milk-eggs-butter-sugar mixture. Absolutely wonderful.
To the metric converters – I also live in one of those reasonable metric countries, so I have found that a good thing to have is one of those electric kitchen scales that can change modes, from metric to ounces. Also, remember that an American ‘cup’ is about 240ml, not 200ml.
However, I agree that the measurements here seem confusing – especially the butter. I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be measured in volume or in weight. I have no idea how much butter goes in 180ml… that might be the source of the problem though.
I made them yesterday and had the same issue with metric conversion. I used 170 grams of butter and the required amount of flour in cups, because I have cups. But as Yael commented, I don’t know how to fit butter into a cup?
Anyway, the dough was too sticky when I took it out of the fridge and I couldn’t possibly make shapes at all. So I put the rolled-out dough as a whole into the oven, thinking I would break it up later, but when it got baked it was too crumbly. Sigh…
Still no updates in my inbox – this is frustrating, haha.
Love the shortbread!!
I love coconut in all it’s forms! these look delicous!
Made these last night and they were DIVINE! Turned out perfectly!
Note on the coconut – because unsweetened is usually a little thinner and dryer than sweetened it toasts faster – after only 5 minutes mine was overdone. If you’re using unsweetened it will be toasted around 3 min-ish. I did sweetened after as a test and it definitely takes longer.
Made linzers w raspberry and then left some plain, Deb you are a goddess for these recipes!
my husband is the exact same way about coconut!! i just keep my mouth shut when i use it :)
recipe looks great.
Eszti, Yael and others struggling with the butter conversion: 1 stick of butter = 113 grams, so 170 grams should be correct. I do have a conversions page which includes an ingredient converter, which might help you with the rest.
Those of you finding that your cookies are baking together: Be sure that they are very, very cold when they go into the oven. If you find them warming up as you roll them, stick the cookie sheet with the rolled out cookies in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes before you bake them. Keep any part of the dough you’re not using at that moment in the fridge. With this recipe especially, but really all shortbreads, this is the best way to ensure that they keep the shape you cut them into as they bake.
These look great. I will have to give them a try.
Did you try whole foods for the unsweetened coconut? I think I have gotten it there in the bulk food bin section.
Hi! These look so good – I need to make them this weekend. I’m making your chicken and dumplings as we speak and the kitchen smells great. Also just started following you on twitter. Just wanted to say hi!
Hmmm, my hubby says he hates coconut, too.
Could you use the coconut liquid extract (like a version of vanilla extract, but coconut)? And would anyone know the amount to use for substituting? Or is the dried needed for the texture?
Thanks and really enjoy your writing of your kitchen adventures, but really miss when you’re too busy to give us a new update some days.
Are you expecting your DH will cook for you this V-day?
What is it about husbands, because mine also complains about coconut!
I actually used to hate coconut too but now that I discovered
organic unsweetened coconut, coconut oil, and coconut milk, I love it.
These look yummy. Thanks!
I’ve always disliked shredded coconut and avoided any western coconut desserts (as opposed to, say, coconut milk curries, which I love) and now i wonder if you might be on to something for me as well….
Hi Deb, de-lurking to say that I made these tonight and they were absolutely incredible. (I, like other readers, have limited counter space so I used the chill-as-a-log-and-slice method.) Just wanted to tell you that if you wanted to try making these with unsweetened coconut, I got mine from a heath food store on the corner of 16th St. and 3rd Ave. (The unsweetened stuff toasts a lot quicker, I think, because I took it out after three or four minutes.)
Thanks so much for this great recipe! I can’t stop eating them…
I made these last night – Yum!! I got fewer than 3 dozen for sure, though – maybe my heart cutout was larger than yours. Also, I think because of the larger size, I cooked them about 5 min. longer. When I took them out, I still wasn’t sure if they were cooked enough, but they looked golden brown on top – sure enough, after they cooled, the texture was just right.
I saw these yesterday on my lunch hour, went home and printed the recipe, and in a flash I had them cooling on racks in the kitchen. These are SO easy to make and they were gone in moments when I put them in the lunchroom at work today. I added some sliced almonds to the coconut during the toasting process. I’m making more again tonight!
Oh no… I just found this recipe and realized that I have all of the ingredients right here. But I was already planning on making the Vanilla-Almond Arborio Rice Pudding for a party tonight. But these look delicious.
So the question is now… how much do I like my friends?
2 of my favorite things in one cookie. I can’t believe it and I will have to make these.
Served these cookies to a group of coconut-wary folks last night, and they couldn’t get enough. I substituted almond extract for vanilla and loved the combo. Thanks for the recipe!
…but next time I will not use coarse salt.
I just finished a batch of these – and dear god, are they delicious. Just wait until they’re drizzled with dark chocolate…
Anyway, a discovery that took me ’til the last of three cookie sheets to figure out –
!!!!!!cover your dough with saran wrap when you’re rolling it out!!!!!!
That way, absolutely NOTHING will stick to your rolling pin, and any tears underneath can be squished back into place with your finger. I wish I figured this out earlier. A very easy recipe, but this eliminated any causes for mini-disaster.
Also, I chilled the cut out dough 5-10 minutes before popping it in the oven – the cookies barely spread out at all. That means you can really cram them on your parchment.
I made these last night. They are delicious and really pretty easy!! They were a hit with my family, let me tell you. They said I needed to make more right away & that they tasted like they came from a bakery. I made some of them into linzer tarts with some strawberry preserves and they were delicious!
I didn’t think the recipe as is made that many cookies though. Next time I would probably try it with the orginal measurements for the full amount.
Thanks for the yummy recipe!
They’re a hit. I like them plain. I like them with chocolate. They’re perfect.
Thank you for sharing this great recipe!
I found these almost unbearably salty. I double-checked to make sure I used coarse Kosher salt and that the amount was correct – it was. I don’t know what I did wrong…
Could be a few things… mismeasuring, accidentally using salted butter as well or perhaps you’re just more sensitive to salt.
Hi Deb – These look so great! I saw that Evelyn said these were too salty and when I made mine they were also too salty. When you use your link to the original recipe, it calls for 1 1/4 tsp salt. Half of that (for your 1/2 recipe) would be a 1/2 + 1/8 tsp, not 3/4.
I made these and they turned out well, although the dough was a bit crumbly but I think I put a little extra coconut in. No salt problem here but that’s because I didn’t put any in. Also I used 1/2c coconut oil instead of some of the butter. Thanks!
I have a question–do you ever use Silpat liners? I have twice used my Silpat for cut-out cookies (this batch and one at Xmastime) and both times the cookies spread too much. I even tried chilling the cookies in the fridge after cutting them out but before cooking and still had spread issues. I’m beggining to think it’s the liner, but I wanted to know if anyone else had this problem.
I don’t use Silpat liners. (I don’t have a dishwasher and the idea of adding a baking mat to my sinkful at the end of each cookie batch seems absurd.) I use parchment paper instead. They’re both silicone coated and supposed to work the same. Not sure why the spreading issues are occuring, usually it’s warmth but now I’m wondering if there are any measuring issues.
hi deb – made these for v-day, and they were a big hit. i located a lobster cookie cutter (lobsters=red=appropriate for v-day), and i have to say, the love lobsters were a big hit. thanks!
Re the saltiness, something just occurred to me! I couldn’t find unsweetened coconut. So, to adjust the sugar accordingly, I dialed it back — but only by two tablespoons. (I mention this in a recipe note.) Perhaps this was not an accurate sugar subtraction, so the salt level (which I know wasn’t perfectly halved, but I tasted the dough at the 1/8t less level and liked it better with it) which was just right with sweetened coconut may not have been with unsweetened coconut. I will update the recipe to note this, that if you’re using unsweetened coconut, you might want to dial back the salt.
I was just comparing the ingredient list for these with the ingredients for your Unshrinkable Tart Shell…
Is there any reason I couldn’t reduce the butter here by 2T, add an egg, follow the tart crust directions and have a yummy coconut tart shell? Seems like it would be fabulous with your Whole Lemon Tart filling.
Hi Maggie — I haven’t tried it, but sounds like it would be delicious. Let us know how it goes!
I’ve got a friend’s B-day this week and she loves lemon and loves coconut. I’m going for it… will report back with results.
i made these about five seconds after i read the recipe last week, having somehow miraculously had all the ingredients on hand. i packed them up tight, and shipped them off to my lonely boyfriend 900 miles away for valentine’s day. he adored them! thanks for the inspiration. (:
I made these the other day and they are phenomenal!
Everything I’ve ever made from SK has been great, and I am an absolute idiot in the kitchen. Most recently I tried the Pink Lady Cake (which didn’t come out as planned but was pretty good nonetheless) and the Mushroom Soup.
I made these cookies today. Oh my gosh, I love myself! These are so yummy; the salty and the sweet balances perfectly. A perfect cookie for gift giving next Christmas. I did a drizzle of chocolate. Thank you again for another great recipe.
Oh, these were so good! So, so good. We can’t get kosher salt, so I used 3/8 tsp. table salt, and the amount was perfect. I think next time I’ll roll my dough a little thicker so the cookies don’t end up so brown and crumbly, but I have absolutely no complaints about the taste. My husband, our daughters, and I compulsively ate about a third of the dough ahead of time (so delicious!), but I ended up wishing we had baked it because the cookies tasted amazing. Thanks for the recipe!
I made this recipr today, but I did thumbprint cookies filled with homemade raspberry jam and dark chocolate. They were a real hit at our school’s bake sale. Thanks for all of the great recipes
I added the zest of a lime to my cookies. A thing to remember, citrus hits the tongue the same way salt does so adjust accordingly.
Ha ha ha ha ha! his made me remember the time I brought home a piece of Italian Cream Cake (mmmmmmmmmm) to share with my daughter. Her response? It tastes really good, but I think there’s some plastic in it. :-)
marcea, et al–
after a long vegan stint in college, can attest that “earth balance vegan buttery sticks” can generally and successfully be substituted for butter in ‘regular’ cookie recipes.
i still use it in baking as often as not and it is a heart healthy and dairy free option for those with allergies and or/cholesterol concerns…
That’s funny, because my young man says he doesn’t like coconut either. I’ll have to try making these, and see what he thinks. :)
Reporting back with a huge success! I used this recipe for a tart shell pastry and it turned out beautifully. The only alterations I made were reducing the flour by 2T, and adding an egg. Then I used the technique for your Unshrinkable Tart Shell.
Tremendous coconut flavor in the pastry — and no shrinkage! And I have the pictures to prove it.
I wound up filling it with your Dark Chocolate Tart recipe rather than the Whole Lemon, but next I’m trying the lemon fill.
As Jack Donaghy would say: “Well played, Deb.”
Correction: reduced the BUTTER by 2T, not the flour.
Yum. That’s all I’ve got- yum. -e
I made these tonight. I had the same problem as many others in rolling out the dough, so instead I made thumbprint cookies! They turned out beautifully – I cooked them on the Silpat and I soon had gorgeous crispy light cookies.
I did double the recipe – I am a big fan of freezing the pre-shaped cookies so I can pull some out anytime and cook them in the toaster oven (small batch) or in the oven for a party.
Thank you again – they are wonderful!
Delicious, subtle flavor! I love when recipes have just a little something different to them. I had a hard time rolling out the dough. I read that you said to keep it very cold…but it crumbled when it was cold. I needed A LOT of flour to keep it from sticking. Perhaps next time, I will warm the dough to roll and cut, then pop the shapes back in the freezer for a few minutes before baking (as you suggest).
I am making these cookies for the 3rd time right now. I absolutely love them as does the rest of the family. My children love these which is a nice change of pace from the peanut butter chocolate chip they always want.
I am trying to get the salt right as the last batch turned out a bit saltier than I like even with the modifications that you posted. When I put the dough in plastic wrap I shape it into a square, when I take it out of the fridge I slice it with at knife into squares just under an inch square and then roll them into balls. My daughter loves to help and it’s really easy.
Thanks for the great recipe!
These were very good. Salty finish which I like, though mine did not taste super coconutty (coconuttish?).
yummy these turned out so delicious!
A twist on these that has put them on the top of my cookie list. Make these small and thin and fill with a small dollop of Habenero Jelly. (made by a friend, but any hot jelly would do) The melding of the sweet subtle coconut with the hot/sweet filling, oh my, unreal! Also filled with rasberry jam, and dark chocolate, but that habenero was top choice.
Deb-do you know if these freeze well?
I just wanted you to know these are amazing! definitely one of my new favorite cookies. I made two batches for christmas and i almost want to keep them for myself.
Coconut is the best! I must make these for the jazzband….
These were really fab. I dipped them in dark chocolate, and upped the coconut a little, and heaven followed close.
It’s Valentine’s Day, and I am making these darlings again!
I accidentally doubled the coconut and still they came out tasting like perfection.
The only thing wrong with your version of the recipe SK is that you only made half! These were delicious — what’s not to love about crispy, crunchy, buttery, and coconut to boot? Next time (like tomorrow!!!) I’ll make the full batch. I did make just a few changes: I used slightly less vanilla and added a good dash of coconut flavoring/extract, rolled them a solid 1/4″ thick (and next time might go even a bit thicker), and I used quite a bit more coconut than called for (I didn’t measure, just threw it in because I had it). Even rolled thicker they were just right baked for 20 minutes. Oh, and I always roll this type of dough between sheets of waxed paper (no extra flour needed), freeze them, and bake them right out of the freezer on parchment so they don’t spread much. The unsweetened coconut that I used was of a pretty small flake so I skipped the grinding step too with no problem. Once again, thanks for scouting out the best of the best for us!
Holy cow, I am tripling this recipe next time! I filled them with raspberry jam and dusted them with powdered sugar and they didn’t last a mere 5 minutes! People were hovering over me while I filled the second tray. Everyone said these were so good they would PAY me to make more.
Thank you, and thanks for making me look so good! I love this site :-)
Oh my goodness! Timothy has the same “I don’t like coconut” syndrome…but he DOES! He just doesn’t know it. He loved loved these cookies-thank God I downplayed the whole coconut thing, or they would be a no-go…
These cookies are delicious! I made them as little frosting sandwiches this weekend. I would recommend cutting the dough a bit thicker than 1/4 inch because I thought they were very fragile at this thickness. I used unsweetened coconut that was already finely ground so I was able to skip that step. After reading reviews that the cookies could be a little salty I reduced the salt to 1/4 tsp. There was not salt taste at all. Since I like my desserts with a salty/sweet taste I’ll increase it to 1/2 tsp. next time.
I was wondering if these would work as bar cookies? Pressing them into a pan and baking? Can you tell I’m lazy?
The raw batter is addicting!
The cookies are FAB!!
Perfect with a cup of coffee!
I think these are too salty just for eating. I saw the notes about it after making them. But when I served them to my husband with vanilla ice cream topped with fresh peaches with amaretto he said it was a nice juxtaposition of salty and sweet, so there you go.
I made the dough last night, put it in the fridge to chill. I’ve just taken it out and it’s as hard as a rock! is this right? Should it be softer than this in the fridge? feeling concerned that i didn’t add enough butter or cream to the mix.
How can I rectify if is doesn’t soften? Any tips appreciated!
And I’m attempting to make this at a bake-off at work (the money goes to charity) this morning – so the pressure is on!
Just let it soften a little on the counter. It will become roll-able soon.
Oh – my apologies – I mixed up this recipe with another – so to add, I didn’t use any cream – but everything else still stands!
Hello Deb, thanks for the advice. I’m afraid I let it soften a bit too much! (so much so that it crumbled as soon as I tried to cut each piece using a cookie cutter) in the end i had to pat the whole mixture into a cake tin. It got to golden brown after about 40 mins but the dough was still crumbly and not set – I clearly did something wrong!
On the other hand, I made the jalepeno cheese scones to resounding success!
thanks again for your advice – I adore your blog.
Just wanted to say that I used to cook low salt and salt free, but since I began menopause I LOVE salt!! Haha!! In fact, coarse Kosher salt is my new best friend! I love the sweet/salty mix in many of these cookie recipes!!
These cookies turned out FAB even though I used my ‘star’ cookie cutter! ;-)
I made the chocolate chip cookie recipe with the higher amount of coarse salt and had guests commenting how how they found the sweet/salty taste AMAZING!!
I made these! They were sooooo good. I took two containers of them to a party and one and a half didnt of the containers didnt even make it to the table! LOVE THEM! Thank you so much for all of your deliciousness creations.
Just made these. The raw dough was awesome –I don’t normally eat raw dough because of raw eggs, but shortbreads make my day. Tasty baked too, but a little salty for me. I think I’d use less salt next time, but I’ll be curious to see what my recipients say.
I made logs and sliced them rather than rolling and cutting them out. So easy and perfect coconuttiness. Thanks!
Thanks for the great recipe! I am 10 days overdue on my first pregnancy, there is a blizzard outside, and I needed a project for the day. I am just waiting for the dough to chill :)
I made these too. :) They were lovely – crumbly and beautiful.
Although next time I think I’ll make them with less salt and more coconut.
I’m a longtime lurker on this site, so Hi! Thanks for all the inspiration! These cookies are divine. When I was a child of ten, I had a bad time after ingesting some fresh coconut-gone bad, and took a decade off, and have spent my twenties cautiously approaching it again. This decade dwindles, and the tide has clearly turned because these cookies are my new favorites. I ate them until I got heartburn, which has never happened before from cookies. I like to think the discovery came from pushing my limits of gluttony, rather than being almost 30.
Anyway, beyond deliciousness, these cookies are my favorites because I can cut them with my new cookie cutter shaped like my home state of New Jersey. I live in Minneapolis, where I’m getting rid of all of the other cookie cutters I’ve accumulated. No other-shaped cookie will taste as sweet.
Deb, we have similar origins, right? The last batch of coconut shortbread new jerseys are gone, but when I make them again, I could take a picture for you. These will be better, anyway–I was so eager to cut a thousand cookies that I rolled most of them too thin.
Ilana — Ha! I’d love to see a photo. Obviously I need a NJ cookie cutter. I’m overdue!
Oh, these are SO frickin’ good. The flavour is exquisite, and the texture is crisp yet chewy. The. Best.
I just made these and was soso very excited but they turned out to be a bit of a flop unfortunately… :( I hate leaving a negative comment as you are my absolute FAVOURITE food blogger out there and I have no doubt this is a perfect recipe and it was a fault of mine. I chilled them for a few hours and the first batch spread rather a lot so i cut them a little thinner and chilled before baking…nope! then I tried freezing them solid after cutting, and they still lost their shape! How on earth did you get yours to keep such perfect hearts! I cant think what i did wrong, maybe put too much butter in..but i dont think so unfortunately. They also took only 10 minutes before I had to keep a good eye on them, if i had left them for 20mins they would have been a pile of coconutty ashes so thats a bit weird too. ho hum. One day i will try again and hopefully come back with praise!
Thank you for keeping such a wonderful blog though, its truly beautiful, I used your butter pie crust recipe for a rhubarb tart the other day and it was PERFECT :)
I just made these, but I ran out of AP flour and put in about half a cup of whole wheat and then threw in an egg yolk. They were to die for. Literally. Slightly salty, crunchy, oh and covered in caramelized white chocolate. Amazing. They are basically all gone and I made them yesterday.
Yum Yum. made these just now. Two got damaged coming out of the oven so I was forced (ahem) to eat them on the spot. They sizzled in my mouth. Fabulous!
I did not have 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, only 1/4 cup. So I toasted 1/4 multi grain flakes (oats, barley, rye flakes) and ground with the toasted coconut in blender. Added that to the mix. The taste is amazing and there is a nutty taste.
Mine may have been a little thinner? I got 46-2″ fluted circle cookies. Will dust with powdered sugar when cool. If they last that long.
Tick tick tick…. hear that Bob’s Red Mill dried coconut about to expire in the next 24 hours? I did I had to select a recipe to use it up or lose my “Don’t throw food away” challenge. I made a few changes just for fun, including doubling it because I wanted to use up the coconut and knew it would be good. These were delicious (or “some bad a** cookies!” as reported by my husband)!
The changes: 1/2 c. coconut oil (“organic extra virgin raw…”) in place of 1/2 c. butter (again, it was doubled) and used 1/3 c. raw cane sugar in lieu of some of the regular sugar. I have never baked with coconut oil and it worked beautifully! I (like other folks) froze the dough in logs for a few hours, moved it to the refrigerator for about 20 minutes (and all these times are just random…. just so you know!) and sliced them to about 1/4″. They were just a bit fragile, but none broke completely; and after baking you couldn’t tell that which ones looked about to break prior to baking. They were done in about 14 minutes on a baking stone (with a minute or so of “rest time” on the stone before removal) in my ancient and should be replaced oven. I baked half of it tonight (one “regular Deb recipe”) and they are all gone. Yes, that good!
Just took these out of the oven. I DON’T EVEN LIKE COCONUT MUCH and these are possibly the best cookie I have ever put in my mouth. Toasted some pecans and ground them coarsely, tossed them into half my precious coconut dough. They’re good and all, but the pure coconut sooooo much better. Question, because I plan to make these oodles of times, how long will toasted and ground coconut keep? I’d like to keep some on hand. Oh Smitten Kitchen I forgive you for leading me to my first porn site…. I’ve gotta believe I’m not the only one to type in “kitten” instead of “kitchen”!
I LOVE this recipe. But I need some help… my dough is often really crumbly when I make these, which makes it super hard to roll out without tons of frustrating cracks. Help? Please! What am I doing wrong???
If you’re having trouble rolling these cookies out because they seem too crumbly — Just let the dough warm up a bit. The thing is, butter doughs always seem more moist as they warm up because the butter softens and eventually becomes melty — i.e. a liquid not a solid. Of course, you don’t want the dough hot. But you should absolutely find that the dough seems less crumbly as it softens up a bit. I hope that helps.
I made these for Valentine’s Day to bring to work and they are delicious! My boyfriend hates coconut, but hes not here. If there are other haters at work, well, more for me. Much better than the other option–cupcakes from a box mix. Deb, you have made me averse to any baked good that is not homemade and I’m never going back!
I just made these again for the millionth time and still LOVE THEM. They are one of my all time favorite cookies. This time I rolled them out so they were really thin but they’re just as tasty when rolled thick (even more than 1/4″) and just baked a bit longer. Thank you, Deb for elvevating my reputation as a baker!
Made these last night with my 4 year old- they turned out wonderfully!! My daughter insisted on adding sprinkles, which I’m not sure was to my aesthetic, but it certainly pleased hers!
Holy moly! These cookies turned out great. Just the right balance of flavors. I always loved shortbread to be just plain, but these take shortbread to a whole other level. Thanks for the recipe, will be a favorite of mine for a long time. Super easy to do which makes it great with a tight schedule. Little hint though, the coconut will toast just as good if you were to pan toast it on the stovetop at around a medium temp. Just make sure to keep a closer eye on it and stir a lot.
These cookies are so good. Thank you. Possibly the best cookie dough I’ve ever had too.
My boyfriend claims the same coconut-hating mumbo jumbo: I will try these and prove him wrong!
It’s the dry shredded coconut that most people detest. Coconut flavor, coconut chunks fresh cut, coconut milk, coconut oil – all just fine. The coconut in a Mounds or Almond Joy, or that strandy, shredded, gag producing stuff that ruins so many cookie and cake recipes and is spread all over the outside of a Hostess Sno-ball. Ick! Just the thought of it makes most of us wretch!
I made these yesterday and they were so delicious! I added just a little sea salt on top (I’m sort of obsessed with the salty/sweet combo). I brought them to a dinner party and my friend’s husband, who is a self-proclaimed cookie connoisseur, said that not only were they delicious that he had never had another cookie like it. Thanks for sharing!
Hi! I just used this dough to bake little cups in a min muffin pan. I’m going to fill the cups with lime curd! The dough worked perfectly when rolled into a ball and then I used a tamper to press into a “cup”or mini pie shape. I think it’s going to be really smashing with the lime curd!!
Thanks for this recipe. I made a few of these cookies and hooked up with a MILF.
So, I came to your site to find a cookie recipe to use for a bridal shower, because I knew I wouldn’t be let down ;) I want to use this recipe and fill them as sandwhiches, but I would have to do this in advance. If I fill them with jam, can I freeze them completely made as sandwhiches, or would I have to freeze the cookies and just assemble the day before? I am also making the cupcakes or cake, TBD, for 60+ (and have a baby and 4 year old) so I would like to do as much prep as possible beforehand. If you tell me you have no idea since that is, in fact, not the recipe, I will compltely understand. I sort of assume you know all things baked and delicious. (Or if you have a different sweet that you think would work better wrapped up with a few bags of tea, let me know…besides the green tea shortbread because matcha is not something rural WI has.)
Melissa — I haven’t frozen these with a filling before, but it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work. Nevertheless, I would personally probably just bake the cookies, stack them between layers of waxed paper and then make sure the container is sealed really well in the freezer, and store them there for even weeks before the party. Day-of or day-before, you can fill them with jam. I’d use a sandwich bag with the corner cut off, it’s sooo much faster this way. Cupcakes, the same. I’d bake them whenever I had time and then frost them day-of or day-before. It’s so much easier to spread things out over a couple days or weeks, IMHO. Happy baking!
Has anyone tried dipping or drizzling these with chocolate? I was thinking I might try incorporating some dark chocolate. I think I’ll make these as a Valentine’s gift for my boyfriend because he loves coconut, but I also wanted to make something a little decadent. On the other hand, if the cookies have a delicate coconut flavor I’d hate to overpower it.
I stumbled across this recipe today while searching for a simple cookie to have with my afternoon tea. I just finished baking them and they are absolutely delicious! Shortbread cookies have always been a favorite of mine, but I had never had them made with coconut. This will be a go-to recipe for me – Thank you so much for posting it!
I too thought these needed some dark chocolate, so I made a dark chocolate ganache and spread that on top of half my batch of cookies. I actually thought the ganache overpowered the toasty coconut flavor, I like them plain!
Hi Deb, do you think this recipe would work well for a pie crust?
Lauren — Hmmmm… It might work but it also might slump a little. I remember complaining that they lose their shape a little. A little extra flour could help. I bookmarked this coconut tart crust a bunch of years ago, curious to try it. I haven’t gotten to it yet but perhaps it will give you a more solid starting point (providing it hasn’t been panned in the comments)?
These were really good. I probably made them a bit too thin but in some ways that crispiness made all that buttery deliciousness even better. My co-workers must have agreed because three dozen were gone within the hour. Mine lost their shape a bit, I used 2 different sizes of cutters and the smaller ones held the shape better. I also cut them and then put them into the fridge to chill before baking. I love the coconut taste and the tiny bit of crunch that the toasted coconut added. These are on my list of cookies to bake for our Relay for Life fundraiser Feb. 13.
Made these, probably made them a little too thin, didnt really taste the coconut, they actually taste more like brown butter cookies. I used unsweetened coconut chips, but it they came in larger pieces, not super shredded, so I could have upped the coconut amount. They are still delicious, but I’ll probably try again to get more of the coconut flavor.
Deb,Just received your “Cookie Newsletter” this morning…YUM and Thank You!
Thoughts on swapping in ½ Coconut Oil for ½ the butter? I can’t imagine it would change the texture but amp up the flavor? Will likely melt some very dark chocolate with a bit of coconut oil for a one-sided dip?
lynn — It might taste good, but I’d be a little nervous to change fats as they’re going to work a little differently in the recipe (I’d expect the oil to spread more) and cookies like this are all about structure.
I made these yesterday. They were easy and delicious. Hardly any flavor of coconut (a plus; I’m not a huge fan), but more the flavor of browned butter, as an earlier commenter said. These are a great way to use up coconut that you don’t remember why you bought it but it’s taking up freezer space.
Just reporting back on the Coconut Oil. I subbed in ½ coconut oil (room temp) for ½ the butter. It worked perfectly and I thing it really amped up the coconut factor! :)
Do you think this could work with desiccated coconut flakes?
Hi Deb :)
I know this is one of your older recipes, but hopefully you’ll see my question none the less!
I was just gifted some dinosaur cookie cutters, and not being a big sugar cookie fan, remembered some amazing nutmeg maple cookies I made from your site a few years back. But then I saw this recipe! I’ve been riding a real coconut wave recently (also made your coconut bread, I’m addicted!).
My question is this: when you say shredded coconut, so you mean flaked? Because the shredded coconut we have here (in Belgium) is quite small already, and I’m wondering if I really need to whiz it up in the blender, or if I could get away with simply toasting it. I may just experiment.
Thanks in any case, for your reply!
Marie — It might be sold as flaked too, but here flakes = sweetened and damp. If it’s dry, unsweetened and already finely ground, no need to grind it further but in general, it will help especially if you want to be able to easily roll the dough thin and cut the cookies cleanly.
Am I using the wrong butter??? Made this today for the 3rd time – and the cookies melted away / spread like crazy. The same happened the very first time I made them a few years ago. Dough was very well chilled. Could it be that the culprit is the European butter I am using? ( I am living in Germany, so that is my butter of choice.) And if that may be the case, do you have an idea how much less I should use? Second time I made them, they turned out great and I remember experimenting with the amount of flour. But I am not a big fan of baking experiments… Your words of wisdom would be very much appreciated! Thanks!
Hi. Just wondering what the texture of the dough should be. I’ve made the cookies twice now and the dough seems dry and crumbly. Rolling out is not easy since it just breaks apart. Any suggestions? I love short bread and coconut. And I love your website.
Great cookie recipe
I just made these for the first time (almost 8 years late :-). I followed the recipe exactly. :-)
My problem was that the cookies spread out a lot – totally lost the shapes that I had cut out. I tried freezing them after cutting but before baking, but it didn’t help much.
However, I felt like the balance of coconut was just perfect and the taste was amazing. I’m going to keep experimenting with how to get better shaped cookies.
Hi! I’ve never made shortbread or sugar cookies before (immigrant family ;)), but I’m trying this with my kids for Valentine’s Day. I got to the refrigerating the cookie dough stage and actually checked at 35min – well before the full hour bc we’re impatient;). Well, the disk is totally solid and crumbly with no chance of rolling it out in this stage without falling apart. I’m currently waiting for it to get closer to room temp so that I can roll it out. I’ve never had issues with my fridge temp (it’s pretty normal), and the dough wasn’t super far back or anything like that. Any idea what I’ve done wrong? I’m using Kerrygold butter, btw. Thanks!
The coconut makes the dough a bit more crumbly but if you roll gently and slow, it should flatten out nicely. You might also try between two parchment sheets so additional flour isn’t needed.
Looks amazing!!! I would love to dip this cookie in a little chocolate!
This is absolutely the best tropical themed cookie ever! I used 50 gr of coconut oil (in solid form) to get to the right amount of butter. Worked!
Any thoughts on how to use fresh coconuts in this recipe? Shred the coconut meat and bake until dry and golden brown? I always have fresh coconuts and would rather use these than store bought shredded coconut.
I’m sorry, I have no experience with fresh coconut. But I do think this would be the way to go about it. Use the weight, not the cup measurement, of course as it will be chopped differently.
I followed this recipe but substituted lavender extract for the vanilla. The dough rolled out beautifully after chilling and the cookies are delicious! I like the finely shredded organic unsweetened coconut from Sprouts.
these last awesome are realllllllll hard to roll out im debating what to do they are so soft i.e. the dough more flour!!! help!!
My favorite cookie. I make logs out of the dough and then slice them into 1/4” cookies. My go to Christmas cookie. My neighbors love me.
My husband also hates desiccated coconut. On Valentines Day, when I hardly knew him, I left heart shaped coconut cookies outside his student room on college campus. He recognized the tin as mine, that I’d put them in. He didn’t tell me for ages how much he hates coconut: it’s probably the only time he’s held back from an honest response to my cooking. Almost 35 years later we are together, but regret these lovely sounding shortbreads are off limits for me.
Hi Deb, will this recipe work with your “roll it out warm, cut them out cold” method? Used the method for my holiday cookies which used to give me fits and this year? PERFECTION!!! Thanks!
Instead of rolling out the dough and using cutters I squish it into a log using plastic wrap, chill and then slice. It’s easier and works just as well.
Wow! Has it really been 9 years?! The day I first saw these I knew I had to make them so I did, they were a huge hit, and I’ve been making them ever since especially during the holidays. They have a lovely warm, buttery, coconutty flavor and just the right crisp when bitten into. Eventually I ditched the heart shape cutter and began using a cloud shaped cutter so that friends all know them now by “Coconut Clouds”. A big, big winner in my book! Thank you.
Does anyone know if these taste like the Nice cookies?
Has anyone tried to sub organic coconut sugar? Ratio? Sweetness? Flavor?
Was able to find ground unsweetened coconut. Not flakes, will they sub?
Baking for one is less than ideal, but have a family xmas now, so trying to figure out the best to bring. Thinking the ruegelah too. Best nuts to use with fruit preserver, rasberry?
aww too bad I didn’t see this before Valentine’s day. xD
These were really delicious. I followed the lead of another commenter and just formed the dough into a log, refrigerated, and then sliced, rather than rolling out and they turned out great. I also added a little flaky sea salt on the tops and I liked the effect.
Love this recipe! Saw this when you reposted the other day couple weeks ago, made it them, making more today! I too just rolled the dough into a log and sliced them! The salt and sweet ratio is amazing!
I love all things coconut. And I love shortbread! So honestly, what could be better than a marriage of the two? I did roll the dough into a log and slice into 1/4 inch slices rather than rolling out (as many have suggested). The cookies work beautifully like this, and it is much easier than trying to roll out the dough. A sprinkle of sea salt flakes just before baking just ramps up the yummy quotient. Thank you, Deb, for another awesome recipe!
So so delicious and very easy. Followed the suggestion from another commenter to roll the dough into a log, wrap in plastic, refrigerate and then slice and bake; worked perfectly. I cut the log into 1/4” thick slices and got 24 cookies.
I toasted the sweetened coconut on the stove (in a dry skillet over low heat) for a few minutes (didn’t want to turn the oven on since the dough needs to rest in the fridge for 1+ hours). I was too lazy to haul out the food processor so I just chopped the toasted coconut with a knife. I added mini chocolate chips (1/4 C) and used white whole wheat flour (that’s all I have). Really good cookies.
Simple and delicious cookie. Used the roll into a log recommendation and worked perfectly. I had unsweetened coconut and it was already a fairly fine shred, so I skipped the grinding. Perfect as is, but a half dunk in some good chocolate will be my next go round.
I made these and they’re great! The coconut is very subtle, it sort of blends in with the butter. The dough was a bit hard to roll out at first but I left it on the counter a wee bit longer and it worked great.
I really wanted to love these but I was really disappointed. I weighed out all the ingredients and baked the cookies straight from the freezer, but they spread a LOT, so much that my carefully crafted Christmas shapes just looked like blobs. I tried rolling them out thinner but then they were extremely fragile and still spread. Plus the coconut flavor was very muted, I’d have liked for it to be louder. Deb, if you could test these with the weight measurements again I’d be willing to give it another go.
What a sad thing to have happen! I have found that cookie recipes that don’t have egg in them or another fixative don’t work great for shapes. I’m wondering how Deb got the shapes to keep so nicely on the hearts, to be honest.
Oh I have great luck with shortbread keeping shapes — picture Scottish shortbread; no egg, crisp shapes. However, here the biggest variable is the coconut. Coconut is such a pain to measure consistently in cups because the amount will be different depending on how crushed the flakes are. I suspect if the flakes were a little bigger, it would lead to a softer dough and more spreading. But, I’ll remake these soon and see if there are places where I can add notes.
How weird that you posted this reply on the very day I made these and had the same problem with them flattening. I weighed all ingredients but I didn’t let the coconut cool before grinding and it came out partly like a paste. Any chance that could have something to do with it?
That could have been it — if the oil sort of wicked out while it was warm, it would cause more spreading.
these were great! I am going to try making them substituting toasted sesame seeds for the coconut.
Do you think I could use coconut flour here or would it be too strong a coconut flavor?
I am not sure it will structurally hold without testing it, if you’re doing a full swap.
The coconut can be toasted in a large dry frying-pan, rather than in the oven. Watch it jealously to prevent burning and stir it often.
For traditionalists who don’t believe that coconut belongs in shortbread, does it serve any structural purpose – or could one simply omit it?
No, don’t omit it, the formula needs it.
Made these tonight and I looove them. The house smells divine. Next time will use better quality butter as per your suggestion and dipping in chocolate maybe…?
Everyone in the family keeps coming back to sneak one more! They’ll be gone very soon…
OMG….so delicious. The only problem is I can’t stop eating just the dough, lol. I planned to do them as a simple slice and bake, so I rolled them into a log and popped them into fridge to shill. . . . And then I sliced off a piece, or 3 or 4or 6 …. to give it a try….and then have kept going back for more deserts treat, bites after dinner. Three days later and I have only a 4″ log left. It’s like crack.
Hi! These are SO GOOD!! I am making them for the third time in as many weeks (with much restraint, because I find that I am eating them every time I pass thru the kitchen, lol). This unassuming yet stellar little cookie has stolen the hearts of coworkers and finicky family alike! Question: can I freeze the dough? I was in a hurry to bake them the first time I made them, and ended up making two rolls out of them and doing the slice-and -bake thing, with great results. I doubled the recipe today, and just discovered that I probably will only have time to make the single batch ( time management not being my strong suit ). If I make 4 rolls of the dough, can I freeze half, carefully wrapped in plastic and foil?
These were delicious! We found the dough to be a bit finnicky to roll out (it was very crumbly) but they were super tasty! We’ll definitely make these again! May try adding some pecans next time!
Although I had had this cookie before this was my first time making it- what a lovely, and easy, recipe. I did not have issues with rolling out the dough, I refrigerated mine over night, as I Iet it sit out for about an hour before working with it-also had no issue with spreading. Another delicious winner-thank you!
I used brown sugar instead of white and sliced and baked the cookies. Delicious. And the house smells heavenly
I love coconut but am not a big fan of roll-and-cut cookies. I decided to give this one a try and found the dough difficult to handle even well-chilled. I baked the first pan which thinned out and looked like lace cookies. Still delicious, but not practical to keep or serve. I brought the remainder of the dough back to room temp, worked in a couple more tablespoons of flour, scooped them with a very small disher and rolled them in sparkling sugar. I increased the oven temp to 350, used a dough tamper to slightly flatten the cookies and baked for exactly 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. I came out with light, crunchy cookies with a lovely browned edge. Husband approved!
On a Smitten Kitchen shortbread “bender” , classic shortbread made, espresso chocolate chilling and baking these now. Have made these before, lovely recipe, no crumbling, no spreading. For anyone wondering I got 39 using a 2 inch diameter fluted cookie cutter (might have gotten 40 were it not for dough sampling LOL).
Hi Deb, I’m “smitten” (heh) with your food processor method of making cookie dough and wonder if I could use it for this recipe.
I haven’t tested it here but it usually works with all roll-out cookies. Just keep in mind that the coconut gets more blended.
So I’ve been making these for years and turning them into sandwich cookies with either a chocolate or raspberry filling . The best is a jalapeño jelly filling with a drizzle of chocolate on top. Takes time but is so worth it. I call them Hot Love Cookies.
Thanks Deb, been a fan forever.
Really, as in when you first started, pre children!!!