Now that December has finally arrived, it seems as though it is officially acceptable to start counting down the days until Christmas and to play Justin Bieber’s holiday album on repeat. Of course the upcoming holiday season only really means one thing to me: an excuse to bake as many sweet treats as my heart could possibly desire and share them with friends and family. If you are planning on giving out boxes of baked goods to your friends and family, I highly recommend adding these toasted coconut shortbread cookies to your list.
If you do bake these with the intention of giving the majority of them away, it will save you a lot of guilt from accidentally eating maybe 5 or 6 or 7 of these in one sitting. Oops. I can’t get over how addictive these things are. They are buttery and crumbly with a hint of toasted coconut, and are pretty easy to make considering how decadent they look. The only difficulty I had was rolling out the shortbread dough. It crumbled easy and I found it hard to make it hold it’s shape, but I only had the dough in the fridge for just barely an hour before I rolled it out, so next time I will probably plan my timing better and give myself more time to let the dough chill properly. I hope you will give these shortbread cookies a try!
Yield: about 32 medium sized cookies (depends on size and shape of cutter)
For the cookies:
1 cup shredded coconut
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
1¼ tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
To finish (optional):
Bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped and melted
Add the coconut to a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the coconut is lightly browned, being careful not to burn it. Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Blend in the salt and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour just until incorporated and a dough begins to form. Mix in the toasted coconut. Form a disc of dough and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Transfer to the refrigerator and let chill at least 1 hour or until firm.
Preheat the oven to 325˚ F. Line baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to just less than ¼-inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter or pastry cutter to cut out cookie shapes. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Reroll dough scraps as needed.
Bake until light golden and crisp, rotating the pans halfway through baking, about 16-18 minutes total. (Baking time will vary depending on the size/shape of your cookies. Keep an eye on them!) Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
If desired, dip cookies or drizzle with melted chocolate. Transfer to a pan lined with wax or parchment paper. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Let chocolate set completely before removing from the pans.