Saturday, July 28, 2012

coconut icebox cookies

I am not particularly fond of coconut, nor do I distain the taste of it. Considering that coconut is such a common ingredient in our diet here (think curry, nasi lemak, laksa, kueh...), I am surprised that it never crossed my mind to bake something with it.

It all started one fine day last month, when I was sitting in the bus on my way to work. For some unknown reasons, I started imagining the taste of coconut tarts from a neighbourhood bakery in my childhood home back in Georgetown, Penang (which is also a UNESCO heritage site by the way). It started mild, then grew stronger and stronger with each day passing. The buttery, rich, sweet + savoury taste together with semi crunchy texture of the coconut tarts invaded my mind in such an explosive manner that I had to do something about it - I baked something with coconut to eat!

Well, you would naturally think that I will make some coconut tarts... No, no, if I do that, I knew I would definitely be disappointed... It would be a futile effort to rival childhood memory. So I took an easier path, I made coconut cookies.

Coconut Icebox Cookies

1/2 c butter (I used 1/4 c butter and 1/4 c oil since I ran out of butter)
1 cup white sugar (I cut to 3/4 c)
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract (I didn't use since I do not have it at home)
1 3/4 c sifted flour (I used cake flour but think all purpose may be better)
3/4 tsp salt (I actually used slightly more)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 c shredded coconut (I toasted it slightly to bring out the fragrance)

1. Cream the butter until smooth; add sugar and continue creaming until light and fluffy. Stir in egg, vanilla and coconut flavouring.
2. Mixed the sifted flour, baking soda and salt. Alternately add the flour mixture and the shredded coconut into the creamed mixture.
3. Form the dough into logs about 2 inches in diameter. Tightly wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight (I did overnight)
4. Preheat oven at 190 degree C. Remove dough from the fridge and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Bake on ungreased sheet until edges are golden, about 10 mins. Cool on wire rack.

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.

The cookies are delicious and crispy, they actually taste like 'aerated' butter cookies with coconut goodness. Every mouthful is so additive that I kept reaching for more. I really think the salt is important, or rather important to me bcoz I really like the sweet savoury taste of the coconut cookies. Maybe it is my childhood memory again, or maybe it's a Chinese thing? We seem to have more sweet savoury traditional cookies.

While the whole process took longer than the usual cookies, it works for me. I started doing the dough at night after putting baby to sleep and the next day, after I put him to nap in the late morning, I took out the dough to bake.

Oh, it is crucial that you do not take out both dough logs at one go. If you take both out, by the time you finished slicing the first log, the second dough would be too soft and sticky to work. So, take one out, finished slicing and arranging on the sheet before repeating for the second.

Having done this, I am contemplating to try more recipes with coconut in future.... :)... so let's see if I do.

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