One Coconut Cookie, Three Personalities

September 1st, 2009  |  36 Comments

Coconut cookie and strawberry ice cream sandwiches


A big gracias to all of you for your stunning influx of comments about the Dobos. It was overwhelming and really made my día, so thank you.

You may be asking yourself if this has suddenly become a Spanish blog, what with me sprinkling foreign words around like there’s no mañana. Por favor, rest assured, this will continue to be a pastry blog. There is a reason why I’ve suddenly gone spicy. In a few days, Scott and I will be taking a long awaited vacation to Spain.

Though I’m busting out of my skin with excitement, my enthusiasm might double, even triple, if you could help me compile a list of places to visit. If you’ve ever been there or live there and can point me to some spots that you think are worth it, I’d really appreciate it. I’ll be spending a few days in Madrid and a few days in Barcelona and maybe a day trip in their respective vicinities. Whatever comes to your mind—pastry places, arty places, pretty places, out-of-the-way places, delicious places—are all up for consideration. We’ll likely divide our time with sightseeing during the day and bar/restaurant lounging in the evening. Surely my camera will gain 10 pounds from all the pictures I’ll load it up with, but I’ll purge them all here when I return.

Too bad my high school Spanish never stuck because now I have to wax poetic about the coconut cookie in English. You may remember the post on strawberry ice cream and its insistence on being just a tad icy. It occurred to me that a good way to disguise that would be to hide it in cookies. That’s when I heard the call of the ice cream sandwich. The crumbliness of the cookie would make the lacking ice cream texture unnoticable.

Coconut cookie and chocolate ganache sandwiches


Now’s a good time as any to interject a few thoughts on building interesting dessert plates. When you come across a recipe that is so good you forget your own name, file it away. It could even be just a component of a recipe, like a killer chocolate sauce or a buttercream that makes you fall to your knees. Eventually you’ll build up a repertoire of excellent recipes that you can mix and match to come up with creative combinations.

Sometimes it’s a seemingly elementary recipe that can be catapulted to a higher level. Here’s a simple coconut cookie. True, pleasant and tempting all on it’s own, but with the addition of strawberry ice cream, it’s a changed cookie.

Where else can we take the coconut cookie? Well, if it goes well with strawberry ice cream, it will go well with strawberry preserve. An easy dress up.

And what else goes well with coconut? Chocolate? Why, yes, a chocolate ganache. We all know that’s a classic combo. Maybe cinnamon can be added to the ganache to make it more intriguing. These pairings can go as far as the imagination takes you. This little cookie can go with lemon curd… almond cream… fig butter…

Then, if you’ve ever wanted to build a whole dessert plate, you might ponder “What goes well with a strawberry coconut sandwich?” We already have a cold element and a crumbly element. What can be added for contrast? Perhaps a soft square of vanilla pound cake, and some minted peach compote, for a big, fruity hit. All of a sudden, you’ve got a fancy-pants dessert.

Coconut cookie and strawberry preserve sandwiches


It’s a bit of stream-of-consciousness thinking and the way I’ve always worked out a menu. Even just the few recipes that I’ve posted so far can be taken in offbeat directions. How can the carrot cake from last week become something more surprising? What if I didn’t bake it in round cake pans? I could bake it in a square pan, and cut long, rectangular wedges out of it. Then set it on top of roasted pineapple pieces and served it with cream cheese ice cream. All of the components are the same as what you’d typically find in a carrot cake, but are presented in a way that makes you dance in your seat.

Maybe instead of individual maple-blueberry cupcakes, I can make a large cake, slice it horizontally into layers, and fill it with lemon mousse. Whipped cream can play the part of the frosting. Now it’s a whole different cake.

What I’m trying to say is that if you find a great recipe, don’t think of it as a self-contained recipe in and of itself, but rather the beginning of a million possibilities. That’s where you get to be really creative in the kitchen.

One book I go to time and again is the The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefsby Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. It’s not a recipe book. It’s a flavor pairing reference, which includes both sweet and savory. Pick any ingredient and check the book. If I look up hazelnuts, there’s a list of possibilities that I sometimes wouldn’t think of that would go well with hazelnuts. A few items on the  list include mint, mango, persimmons, and red wine. All these things might not have automatically come to my mind. Now I have unusual options to play with, which will hopefully get my guests to do a double take.

Au revoir, for now. I mean adiós.

Coconut Cookie
Makes about 50 single cookies, and 25 if sandwiched

1 1/2 cups (190 g) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 stick (168 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups (240 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup (80 g) unsweetened shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Ingredients galore.



2. Start the butter in a mixing bowl by whipping it on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy.




3. Pour in the sugar and the vanilla extract and beat that in for another 30 seconds.




3. Then add eggs one at a time, and allow each one to mix in completely before adding in the next.




4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.



Then add it to the mixing bowl.



Stir it in on slow speed. Toss in the shredded coconut.



Here’s our finished batter. All made in the blink of an eye!



6. Scoop tablespoon-sized mounds on to a parchment lined baking sheet. Space them about 2 inches apart since they spread like they mean it.



Bake in the preheated 375 degree oven. I always hate to give a time because all ovens are so different. Even the three trays that I baked were ready at varying speeds. My top shelf is hottest, so it bakes the fastest. You’re looking for golden edges. Mine took about 8-10 minutes.





Let cool completely. Enjoy them as they are or…


Make ice cream sandwiches

1. Scoop your favorite ice cream onto the inside of a cookie.



Gently press a second cookie on top. If the ice cream is too hard, the cookie might snap in half as you’re pressing, so you may want to soften the ice cream first by popping it in the fridge for 15 minutes.


Place these in the freezer as they’re done.


Or fill them with chocolate ganache

7 oz chopped chocolate and 1/3 cup heavy cream



In the last few posts, I’ve melted chocolate over a double boiler, but the truth is, it’s waaaay easier to melt it in the microwave. Obviously, have your chocolate in a glass bowl. Chocolate can burn easily in the microwave, so it’s best to nuke it in short intervals. First 40 seconds…



… then stir, then 30 more seconds.



Chocolate also has a tendency to retain its shape even when melted so it can trick you into microwaving it more than is needed. Keep stirring in between 30-second bursts of nuking to distribute the heat.



Mine took 1 minute and 40 seconds to melt all the way.



Nuke the heavy cream in a microwave safe glass for 40 seconds to get it hot like the chocolate. Pour it over and start stirring feverishly, working from the center out to create and emulsion and pull the cream in gradually.




All smooth.



Fill a pastry bag oufitted with a plain piping tip. To “lock” the tip while you fill, first twist the bag near the tip…



… then tuck the twist into the tip.



The ganache will not dribble out until you release the “lock.” Fill the bag without a care in the world. My claw-shaped hand is holding it open like a puppet.



Scoop it in.



Smoosh all the ganache forward into the bag and twist it closed, so it doesn’t run out the back end. Looks like I need a third hand.



Pull out the locked pastry tip and pipe some goodness onto each cookie.



Make sammiches.



Or lastly, try a jam filling.





Who can decide what to eat first?

Coconut Cookie

Makes about 50 single cookies, and 25 if sandwiched

1 1/2 cups (190 g) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 stick (168 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups (240 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup (80 g) unsweetened shredded coconut

Optional fillings: ice cream (any flavor), chocolate ganache (requires 7 oz dark chocolate and 1/3 cup heavy cream) or strawberry jam.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cream butter until smooth.
2. Pour in the sugar and the vanilla extract and beat that in for another 30 seconds.
3. Add eggs one at a time, and allow each one to mix in completely before adding in the next.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Then add it to the bowl with butter and sugar.
5. Stir it in and fold in the shredded coconut
6. Scoop tablespoon-sized mounds on to a parchment lined baking sheet. Space them about 2 inches apart since they spread like they mean it.
7. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until the edges turn golden, about 10-12 minutes. Let cool. Enjoy as they are or fill with whatever strikes your fancy.

36 Responses to “One Coconut Cookie, Three Personalities”

  1. Jackie says:

    Hi Pastrypal

    I’m looking at your coconut cookie recipe, and a coconut cake recipe popped in my head. I’m looking for a recipe that has a lot of coconut flavor to it which use coconut milk, coconut extract etc. A lot of coconut recipes I’ve seen do not use a lot of coconut flavor in their recipe, which most that I’ve seen is usually a white or yellow cake with coconut sprinkled on the frosting. Do you have one that I can use.

  2. PastryPal says:

    Hi Jackie,
    Funny you should mention that. I’m working out a coconut cake recipe that I will post when it’s good. Keep your eye out. Meanwhile, you could try this recipe which appears to have cream of coconut in the batter.

  3. Carolyn says:

    Hi there. I love your beautiful photos!

    I spent 3 weeks in Spain this Spring.

    A must…the churros and hot chocolate in Madrid (it is the best there) San Gines.
    For fantastic tapas…Taberna Slamanca..the croquettas and pisto are excellent and Casa de Abuelo for teh best shrimp in garlic ever.

    Have a great time…I am jealous. Barcelona was also a great city just thought that the food places near the port were very touristy and not that great. We stayed in La Ramblas area and all the little alley ways with cafes and shops are great!!

  4. May says:

    San Sebastain. It has been hailed as the gastronomy capital of the world (or at least Spain), the culinary epicenter and also known as Donostia in Basque (one of Spain’s jewels).

    “The cuisine in northern Spain’s Basque country is widely regarded as the best–or close to it–of the Peninsula’s varied cuisines. The Basque chefs were responsible for the culinary revolution of the 1970s, not unlike France’s nouvelle cuisine movement. San Sebastián boasts more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita than any place on earth.”

  5. MicaBA says:

    These cookies sandwiched with dulce de leche would be amazing.
    You cannot miss the market in Las Ramblas in Barcelona. I second the San Sebastian comment. Every little bar has wonderful tapas and the sangria is worth every calorie!

  6. Jackie says:

    Hi Irina

    I wrote to you earlier about coconut cake. I found a nice recipe on this blog, I thought I mentioned it to you since you are working on a good recipe for coconut cake. The blog is:, the posting is dated Friday, March 27, 2009. Take a look at it, you might pick up some tips from this recipe.

  7. EL ECKHARDT says:

    Try the cod cheeks in N. Spain. Also the roast pig. And try to get to the old restaurant in Madrid where Hemingway hung out. damn I forgot the name. And buy some saffron and roasted pimiento to bring home. not too expensive. i’m gonna make these cookies this afternoon. I can’t help myself. and I hold you totally responsible.

    you can stay in Paradors in Spain. state owned castles etc and not too expensive. have fun. and remember in spain a tortilla is a potato dish. el

  8. I love the variety!!! YUM!!! Gorgeous pictures!

  9. Gala says:

    I’ll have one with strawberry ice cream please!

  10. Ramya Kiran says:

    Wow, all 3 looks delicious. I loved the chocolate ganache combi.

  11. Rosa says:

    Those sandwich cookies look fantastic! A delicious treat, mmhhh!



  12. I love your different cookie versions. I was wondering, how do they make the cookies in bought ice-cream sandwiches so soft? I’ve tried to make them before but to no avail. How were your cookies? On a separate note, you may have something written in here, but as an amateur baker, are there any baking books in particular that you would recommend as a great reference? Have a lovely trip to Spain. I’ve never been there, but long to go one day!

  13. Amy says:

    I didn’t get to try the ones with the chocolate – only the ones with the jam!!! Boo hoo hoo (not that the ones with the jam aren’t delicious, b/c they are!) You’ll have to make me some with the chocolate another time! :-)

    Have a great trip!!

  14. PastryPal says:

    Julia—Unfortunately, I think the cookies on ice cream sandwiches are so soft because of chemicals.

    These coconut cookies are pretty soft. If you want softer cookies, you can play around with ratios, but off the top of my head, using soft cake flour, or a little more sugar and fat will make a softer cookie.

    As far as books: you already have a good amount of knowledge. I’ve seen the beautiful pastry you make. I think to take it further you can try books that give you more info about how ingredients effect baking, and get more into the hows and whys of it. Bakewise by Shirley O. Corriher is an incredible, well-researched book that gets into what each ingredient does and how you can adjust recipes to get the result you want. It’s also loaded with recipes. Then there’s Baking Illustrated by Cook’s Illustrated Magazine Editors. The book is full of basic recipes and they explain how they came to the best version of each recipe and talk about what NOT to do, too. An excellent book to learn from, loaded with great info. There are others I could think of, so maybe I should do a post on this.

  15. Thank you for the book recommendations. Yes, you should definitely do a post. Maybe suggestions for different levels of experience?

    All my family and friends know not to buy me ‘coffee table’ baking books any more. I have many of them – and adore them – but just itching to learn more. Detail that they just don’t include in that style of publication.

    I was eyeing off a CIA book actually but thought that may be going overboard. Without being able to enrol in pastry school myself, I am really keen to learn more about the background of pastry and baking. The only book that I have that seems to go down that track is Sherry Yard’s the Secrets of Baking. Each chapter focuses on a master recipe and the variations around it.

    I just looked up the book Bakewise on Amazon, and smiled when I read the line, “It’s not surprising that James Beard Award-winner Corriher (CookWise) once worked as a chemist” Yes. Sounds like it could be a perfect book. Now on my wishlist for my next purchase! The same with Baking Illustrated. Looks like a wonderful reference.

    I think a lot of it for me comes down to three things. 1) having the good book references to read up on, 2) lots of practice with the more complex techniques, and 3) having a way to ask questions when you’re struggling. That’s why your website is fantastic. BIG FAN!

    Thanks again. Oh, and thanks on the cookie details. I figured it would be some nasty preservatives or something creating that texture! I will try those ratio suggestions next time. See, this is why I need those books! :)

  16. PastryPal says:

    Julia—The CIA book is a really good one too and is not overboard at all. I know when I read more advanced pastry books, some stuff is over my head and some stuff I can absorb, but over the years, you just absorb more and more. Then you start to notice the stuff you thought was difficult two years ago is easy now. I never went to pastry school either, but learned through practice and on the job, just like you describe. When you make a million batches of, say, ice cream you start to notice every nuance of how it looks on a given day or the texture if you use honey instead of sugar or if you use more yolks or less, etc.

    So yes, lots of practice. I think the key is noticing how recipes are broken down when you make anything. And not being afraid to screw up big time. I always think you learn a much bigger lesson after a royal flop. I’ve had a huge share of those.

    Thanks so much for reading. I’ll be visiting your gorgeous site, too.

    Happy wedding!

  17. linda says:

    OOh I love coconuts.. What’s better than coconut cookies? Ice cream coconut cookies.. YUM

  18. My daughter made these cookies and we filled them with Nutella. They were just wonderful! You can see our version here. Thanks for sharing this great recipe.

  19. PastryPal says:

    Deanna — That’s so sweet, baking with your daughter. Well, now that I read your post, maybe it was all her! Once again, thanks for baking from this site. The cookies look awesome and Nutella is inspired!

  20. Lauren says:

    Hi there! Just wanted to say…I love your blog!! The step-by-step photos and reassurance are amazing, and the funny captions help too (sammiches!)

    I’m making your chocolate caramel mousse tomorrow….yum :)

  21. Made the cookies tonight with the ganache filling. They came out great. It was a nice way to break in my new kitchen aid mixer.

  22. PastryPal says:

    Michael — Glad to see you got sucked into a tabletop mixing way of life. You’ll never want to go back.

  23. Jelli says:

    I love your creative pairings. Sometimes I get too one-track minded to think outside the box when it comes to recipes. Thanks for the pastry bag twisting tip. I could’ve used that a few weeks ago.

  24. Mrs Ergül says:

    Thanks for the locking tip! It will now solve all the problems I have with the filling dripping out even before I got all the filling into the piping bag!

  25. Hello, my name is Jessica Peterson. I write articles for a website called as a Rochester Baking Examiner. My articles consist of recipes for readers to try themselves, and I also love to do commentaries on local bakeries. I would love feature your recipe for the coconut cookie icecream sandwiches in one of my upcoming articles. In the second week of July at examiner it is ice cream week. I would just need your permission to publish your recipe and to include pictures. All credit would be given to you for the recipe and pictures. If you would like to view my past articles please visit Please get back to me as soon as you have the time.
    Thank you,
    Jessica Peterson-Rochester Baking Examiner

  26. Eileen says:

    Hi PastryPal,

    I simply love your website and your step-by-step fantastic photos. I am baking for the 1st time, and will make your coconut cookies with diabetic jams for my lovely hubby. thanks heaps.. will keep you guys posted :)

  27. PastryPal says:

    Thanks, Eileen. Nice of you to make these for your husband and I look forward to your report…

  28. Eileen says:

    Hi PastryPal,

    Am baking them now. Just want to check, should the oven be top AND bottom ON or just TOP only.

    Also, I realised my dough (after completed) is slightly watery, compared with yours.

    Please advice :)

  29. PastryPal says:

    Hi Eileen — If you were baking these a few hours ago, I may be too late with my reply, but what kind of oven do you have? I use a convention oven that has the heat source from the bottom only, and that is enough to heat up the whole oven. Also, not sure why your mix came out a little watery, but here are some ideas for troubleshooting: maybe the butter was a little too soft from being out at room temperature too long and made the mix quite soft, maybe you used a different flour than I did (not all-purpose) which can make the mix less dry, maybe there was an error in measuring, maybe the eggs were extra-large and so made the batter more liquidy. I hope this helps!

  30. Blankie Monster says:

    Thank you for this lovely recipe. They turned out delicious except your oven yields perfect results and mine made the bottoms toasty rather than sunny :) Half were filled with apricot preserves and the other – with home made dulce de leche. Bye-bye before we even say hello, bikini season.

    PS. Never have I ever followed a recipe to a tee and still ended up with half the suggested amount. What gives?

  31. Blankie Monster says:

    Oh, and by the way, someone brilliant forgot to cover the platter with saran wrap several nights in a row and the cookies still remained soft and chewy, like day one!

  32. PastryPal says:

    Blankie — You’d almost think they had preservatives ;)

  33. PastryPal says:

    Blankie, Addictive little buggers, aren’t they? Are you baking on a dark sheet pan by any chance (as opposed to a light silver one)? Those tend to brown stuff much faster. Also, I can’t imagine about the cookie quantity. It could just be that I made mine smaller? Anyway, no one’s ever been too upset by a bigger cookie :)

  34. Blankie Monster says:

    Dark sheets, the death of me; I already got my eyes on the flat shiny ones from Willams & Sonoma. I’m going to add some cocoa to the batter next time, the sweetness is just right and they are super quick, too! :)

  35. edith says:

    have u ever eard about alfajores?!?!?
    its like a cookie or a french macaron fill with dulce de leche o caramel the dough its made with corn starch they are latinamerican from peru, mexico, argentina many places!!!
    how u taste one and try out a recipe, i havent found one yet!!!
    i just found your website ando im in loving it!!!!

  36. Blue says:

    Hi, I made these cookies last evening and they were yummy. My pre-schooler gobbled up 3 after a full dinner… and loved it. They tasted delicious with the chocolate ganache. However my cookies turned out a little soft in the center and didnt really spread and be crunchy like cookies do. Where could I have gone wrong ??

Post a Comment

Your E-Mail will be kept private. * = required fields.