Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TWD: Coconut Butter Thins

Last week was a busy week, and this week's TWD recipe, Coconut Butter Thins, chosen by Jayne of The Barefoot Kitchen Witch (best blog name ever!), could not be a better "busy week" cookie. The dough comes together lightning fast; you don't mess up too many bowls; you don't even have to crack an egg. On the same night I made these cookies, however, I made the poor "busy week" decision of popping in one of my favorite movies ever, the BBC production of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." That set off a chain of other time/sleep sucking activities, such as watching the five hour BBC P&P again, watching every other Colin Firth film ever made (okay, maybe not EVERY one), reading the book again, watching the Kiera Knightly/Matthew Macfadyen P&P, and chatting with my P&P-loving friends about how much we love P&P.

In one particularly great scene in the book (and the movie . . . and the other movie . . ), Elizabeth tells Mr. Darcy that he is apparently lacking any imperfections, and therefore there is nothing she could tease him about. Mr. Darcy protests, and lists among his faults that "My good opinion once lost is lost for ever." Well, when it comes to coconut, I THOUGHT that I shared Mr. Darcy's sentiments, because my good opinion about coconut was lost years ago, and I had assumed that it was lost forever. But the great Dorie Greenspan has created yet another winning recipe, and one that has caused me to confront my prejudices against coconut head on.

These cookies are simple to make. Mix together flour, cornstarch, coriander and salt in one bowl. Then zest up your sugar in the mixer bowl. Look at this beautiful lime-infused sugar!


Many of Dorie's recipes call for this ingenious technique of rubbing lemon or lime zest directly into the sugar. This apparently releases some of the citrusy goodness (actual scientific term) from the zest. I now do this every time I encounter a recipe that calls for zest and sugar. It really makes a huge difference in bringing out the citrus flavor in a recipe.

Add a couple of sticks of softened butter in with the zest and sugar, and beat for a few minutes. Add in some vanilla, and then the dry ingredients, coconut, and finely chopped macadamia nuts. Put the dough into a gallon size ziploc bag and roll the dough to a 1/4 inch thickness:


My rolled dough filled the entire storage bag, and I think that was actually a little too thin. It didn't affect our enjoyment of the cookies in the slightest, though, nor did it seem to cause any overbaking/browning, even when baked for the full time stated in the book.

The dough needs to chill in the fridge for two hours. I believe this is the point at which I popped in my movie and kissed my to-do list for the week goodbye. Then remove the bag and cut it into 1.5" x 1.5" squares. I used a carpenter's level to ensure both size uniformity and levelness.


Prick the squares twice with a fork. There wasn't any picture of these in the book, so I just kind of guessed.


We enjoyed these for several days, and they kept really well in a Rubbermaid container. Amazing how a metric ton of butter will keep things fresh! But I was distressed to realize that we were down to just two not-very-attractive cookies and I had yet to take a picture. How can I still be forgetting to take pictures of this stuff at this point? You'd think I was baking for my health or my family's enjoyment. Anyway, I scrambled and did my best with "11 p.m. in my kitchen" lighting and a couple of asymmetrical three day old cookies:



Sadly, my best is not very good.

I know that when it comes to these Tuesdays With Dorie desserts, my good opinion is frequently bestowed and therefore not worth the earning. But here we go again! These cookies were truly fabulous. My hubs loved the cookies, and I was happy that there were a lot of them for him to eat, because we TWDers are about to dive head-on into chocolate in a couple of weeks, so he'll be dessert-deprived for awhile. I knew that if I told my kids that these were coconut cookies, they would balk, so I just presented them as "butter cookies," and they gobbled them up. I found the presence of coconut to be subtle and pleasant. If there is a dominant flavor in the cookies, it is butter, or maybe lime. But really, the assorted flavors in these meld together beautifully and create a cookie that is far greater than the sum of its parts. Thank you for picking these truly great cookies, Jayne! I most ardently admire and love them.

66 comments:

Karen said...

Glad these were a hit with your family! Ah Mr. Darcy *swoon* :)

Elyse said...

Wow, these cookies look and sound FABULOUS! And can we talk about P&P?! My college roommates and I were OBSESSED with the BBC series. Colin Firth...well, he's just dreamy. When we all studied in London together, we watched the series incessantly. I'm so glad you're a fellow obsessor!!

Audrey said...

I'm actually pretty sure that Lizzie made these cookies, rolling them out in her little muslin ziploc bag ... and that hers looked and tasted just as good as yours did. I'm gladdened that you were able to get over your prejudice, because these were so worth it!

PS: Speaking of being gladdened, of course it's okay if you put a picture of CF on your blog, dear friend. But he's mine, OK? Mine.

Cathy said...

Audrey: Do we need to take this outside?

Jessica said...

I love P&P and Colin Firth will forever be Mr. Darcy to me. I love the post and I truly enjoyed the Austen-speak.
I'm so glad that you loved these cookies and that your hubs and kiddos loved them too. I was a big, big fan of these things and I had to put them in the freezer to "save for Dudley" and also so I wouldn't eat them all!

MacDuff said...

Honestly, we are living in a parallel universe. Because I had The Week From Hell last week, but instead of the Jane Austen Omnibus, I read Twilight. But honestly, you should totally check out the new Wuthering Heights. I know I told you this on Twitter, but I watched it and basically at six or seven times during it, I realized I had inadvertently thrown my bra at Tom Hardy, the guy playing Heathcliff. In my opinion, which counts for nothing, he's the New Colin Firth.

Sabrina said...

WOW! You did a wonderful job! They look amazing!

Marthe said...

Your cookies look sooo perfect, mine spread out but did stay in a sort of square shape.... :)

I love Pride and Prejudice!

Cathy said...

MacDuff, I looked for WH at the library last week on your recommendation, but they didn't have it. I'll have to get it from Netflix. The delay is probably for the best, because I would have felt disloyal to Mr. Darcy if I turned my attention away so soon. BTW, have you seen the numerous Mr. Darcy v. Edward Cullen analyses out there? Pretty interesting, although the fact that Mr. Darcy does not thirst for Elizabeth's blood gives him a slight edge in my book.

Peggy said...

Oh Mr. Darcy! I'm a Masterpiece Theater fan myself. But my favorite too has to be P&P. I didn't know we had that in common Cathy!! Your cookies look great and thank you for encouraging me to go ahead and try these. You were absolutely right - I did not taste the coconut at all - more lime flavor!! Loved them.

Leslie said...

These look great, Cathy! It was nice to have a TWD week without drama. They were big favorites here. I had to take them to work or we would have eaten them all.

Heather said...

ohhhh. i love the idea of rubbing the zest into the sugar. it sounds delicious!

Maria said...

I have got to make these! They look so good and you know I love my cookies!

Natashya said...

They do look perfect, so glad they were a hit with the whole family. I have never read or seen P&P, I'll have to do something about that..

vibi said...

Boy! ...a true P&P fan! LOL

The coconut you have to admit, wasn't too hard to like in this recipe... for the lack of taste coming true, its most important use here, was to get stuck in your teeth! But who am I too keep you from believing you've conquered yet another one of your nemesis! LOL LOL LOL ...kidding.

But in the end... you're right, they were fabulous, and I'm glad you and your family enjoyed them so much!

Flourchild said...

What great cookies you have going on at your house! I love the way they look so perfect rolled and cut out. I had the hardest time rolling that dough out. It was a great recipe! And I agree they did store well.

farah said...

These look great, great job. Glad your family enjoyed them :)

myfamousrecipe said...

I loved the lime and coconut in these cookies. And it was a nice change to make an egg-less batter!

Katherine Aucoin said...

Wow the corriander surprised me in the cookie. I love corriander too. Now you have me yenning for Mr. Darcy!

I think your cookies are beautiful!

Teanna said...

Seriously, we're totally meant to be long lost friends! Pride and Prejudice is MY FAVORITE! I have read the book at least 10 times and have seen every movie adaptation... but no one is dreamier than Colin Firth as Darcy (WOAH I actually just wrote Mark Darcy, because he was dreamy in that and I love Bridget Jones... maybe because of the P&P ties or maybe because it is just awesome).

Love those cookies... they are so perfect!!!

dharmagirl said...

ahhh, cookies and colin firth. deliciousness and darcy. what could be better? i did the P&P marathon a few weeks ago, posted a bunch of film clips to my fb page, and then bought a "I &hearts Mr. Darcy" shirt at cafe press in an overzealous moment. i have fully embraced my english professor dorkiness:)

i'm glad these cookies were a success and broke through your previous prejudice:)

Cathy said...

Thanks everyone! These are really great cookies - perfect for summer with that whole tropical thing going on! Make them, you won't be sorry!

Elyse, Jessica and Teanna: Yes, Colin Firth IS Mr. Darcy. It took me 4 years to finally bring myself watch the other one, and I felt like a traitor the entire time (especially when I had to admit to myself at the end that it really wasn't bad.) But he is not the real Mr. Darcy! Teanna, have you seen the mock interview in the "special materials" of the second Bridget Jones where Bridget interviews Colin Firth? Hilarious!

Kimberly Johnson said...

Your cookies look wonderful! Glad everyone liked them.

Jamie said...

The zest in sugar trick is magical isn't it? Your cookies look scrumptious!

Cathy said...

Dharmagirl - Must.Have.That.Shirt.

Pamela said...

I really LOVE the BBC Pride & Prejudice. Colin Firth is great as Mr. Darcy! The cookies look perfect and I really am having a touch time staying away from the last remaining few.

The Blonde Duck said...

The cookies look great! I've never seen the Colin Firth version. I ADORE the Keira/ Matthew version. That last part at the end with all the kisses? SWOON!

spike. said...

oh, Mr Darcy! You made my day. I have all of the Jane Austin series saved on the dvr (for years now).
How did you get the cookies to look so perfect? I think I screwed something up.

n.o.e said...

I'm embarrassed to admit that I had the BBC P&P in my house for a few weeks and finally returned it without watching the thing. You've now confirmed that I'll be kissing my to-do list goodbye when I watch it. (Of course it doesn't take much to get me off the track.)

Your cookies look great, and I'm glad they got you (me too) off the coconut prejudice. Yum, I'll make them again.
Nancy

bakingwiththeboys said...

I wish I could share your enthusiasm for these but...no, not gonna happen. I would say the best thing about them is the lack of coconut flavor.

Pam said...

Now this is my kind of cookie - I love coconut and lime together. Nicely done.

chocolatechic said...

Pride and Prejudice......my all time favorite story.

I heart Mr. Darcy

Katrina said...

Glad you liked the cookies!
I think it's too funny that you put a P&P picture at the end of this post. Glad you got to enjoy your movies and such this week!

Banjo said...

They look wonderful!! Well done.

Jennifer said...

I really enjoyed these cookies, too, and Mr. Darcy makes me swoon!

Lady Baker said...

uh...what was I going to say..that parting shot of Mr. Darcy threw me off....what was this week's recipe again???

mike said...

These look great! What are you talking about? I love the texture - you really captured the zest in the dough! Along with the butter... :) And the photography is wonderful too - even at 11pm. These were hard to shoot.... an ANY time of the day! Nicely done!

Anne said...

I'm glad for the good reviews. I'll admit I think coconut tastes like sunblock and didn't want to make these... I guess I'll have to try them afterall!

Tracey said...

I also do the trick with the sugar and zest for every recipe now. Great job with your cookies! They weren't my favorite, but I loved the dough.

Jess said...

Ah, P&P...I wanted to hate the Keira Knightly version, but I didn't. Anyway, great-looking cookies...I hope you were being sarcastic about using a carpenter's level!

SiHaN said...

mr darcy!!! haha. I love him soo much!

gawd.. better behave myself. Anyway, the cookies look wonderful!

Melissa said...

I am the queen of getting distracted from the things I SHOULD be doing! Glad you all liked the cookies. I will have to try them sometime since I skipped this week!

margot said...

I totally want to go watch "Pride and Prejudice" (again) now. And eat more of these cookies. Yours look great.

Debinhawaii said...

I have, I believe almost all versions of P&P, old new, knock off, etc. and the best is the BBC version. I loaned it to a friend a couple of months ago and I am sad! I miss it! Was hoping you'd show a Darcy coming out of the lake picture but this one is a nice one too.

BTW--the cookies look great too! Coconut and lime is my favorite combo.

Cakelaw said...

I loved this post - I am a huge fan of the BBC production of P&P from the early 90's, although I sadly own it on video. All of those P&P references and the mention of Colin Firth make me go weak at the knees. So glad that you ardently admired and loved these biscuits!!

Cathy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jacque said...

Oh, you're right, I hadn't noticed that it's chocolate times three headed our way.

Anyway, I'd say you aced these cookies! I'm glad you enjoyed them after all.

Amanda said...

Well they look gorgeous! I liked these cookies more than I thought I would. I keep nibbling at them LOL

Amanda said...

Well they look gorgeous! I liked these cookies more than I thought I would. I keep nibbling at them LOL

leanne said...

chocolate times three headed our way? Wonderful. Although these cookies were wonderful too. So delightful. I'm not much on coconut either but this was perfection.

pinkstripes said...

I loved these cookies. They were so delicious and so easy to make.

Can you believe I have never read P &P, nor seen any of the movies? Now that I think about it. I think I have the Keira Knightly one saved on my Tivo.

Bridgett said...

Oh my, I am a HUGE Jane Austen fan and watch the movies constantly much to my kids' dismay. Although my daughter is starting to enjoy it more, thankfully! There is nothing like the classic books such as those. I am guilty of telling my kids the cookies contain only their favorite ingredients. The best part is when they say they taste better than last!

Mary Ann said...

I love p & p. Definitely one of my favorite books. I also like the very old black and white movie version.
I love your cookies. I am also a big fan of Dorie's zest/sugar mixing combo. I always use it in whatever I make that calls for zest!

AppleC said...

Look yummy!

TeaLady said...

O.M.G. the long version of P&P is my all time favorite -- ever. And that Darcy pic is the BEST eye candy. **SIGH**

Oh, the cookies. Those are good, too. And yours look yummy!

kimberly salem said...

sigh... there will never be another darcy like colin firth ;) i have been obsessed since '96.
i didn't get a chance to make the cookies, but yours look good! :)

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I most ardently admire and love your post! Your cookies look perfect all lined up on that silpat!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Cathy, Hi! I'll have to try these cookies!! easy, buttery, whats not to like? Oh and your tart down below looks awesome, even the sideway photo. I just bought some puff pastry. Man I love that stuff!
Big hug!
Marie

Sweet as Coco said...

Oh how I love that movie. ;P

Ok, my cookies totally took the spread. Yours look perfectly square to me! Great Job!

Cathy said...

I am thrilled that there are so many of us P&P loving food bloggers! Deb, I ALMOST used the lake scene pic, but I didn't want you to think that I didn't also love Mr. Darcy for his mind.

Elra said...

WOW Cathy, with the look of this cookies, of course it become a hit for everybody, including me. I am sold.
Cheers,
elra

Irene said...

Oh, how fun to find your blog! I am seeing these cookies in the blogosphere and even though I don't like coconut, I am so, so tempted! Especially paired with an image of Colin Firth as Darcy... *swoon*

Karen said...

These cookies were really fun!

You've won an award over at my place!

Di said...

I'm afraid to admit that I've never read or seen P&P.... =) I've definitely fallen victim to doing something I shouldn't (usually reading a new book) when I have way too many other things that I should be doing.

I'll have to agree with Mr. Darcy. Nothing is going to convince me to put coconut in any cookies that I make. Not a chance. =)

The Food Librarian said...

Ah, Mr. Darcy and your cookies. You are the funniest writer! I hate shredded coconut (dental floss texture gets me), but I didn't really taste them in this recipe. Yum. And yummy Mr. Darcy.

Kayte said...

No, no, no...I do NOT have time to sit around and watch Colin Firth/Jane Austen movies all day today...or do I? No, no, no, I definitely do NOT! Your cookies look fantastic. I am going to make them soon as I did not have time to get to them before we left on spring break...if I had known yours looked this good, I would have stopped and sampled yours! Really great job. And, what on earth is it about Colin Firth????? I can't figure it out, but some things are best just left alone and not puzzled out too much.

 
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