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.
6 days ago