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Toasted Coconut Spritz Cookies

Nothing beats the flavor and texture of fresh coconut. To open up a coconut, I take a corkscrew or a hammer and a clean screw and test the three soft spots on the husk of the coconut. When I find the softest spot, I dig into the husk to make a hole to drain out the liquid. I then put the coconut on a sheet tray and roast it in a hot oven until it cracks. Right out of the oven, I wrap it in a dish towel and bang it against the ground to break it up more. While the coconut is still warm, it is easy to peel away the husk and the dark brown skin to reveal the white meat. This is good stuff. It peels into elegant strips with a vegetable peeler, which I then like to lightly toast. But, clearly, it is a process.

So when fresh coconut is out of reach, dried coconut is the next best thing.
I use sweetened coconut here, which I toast and then grind into the flour to create a lovely, textured dough. You can use unsweetened if you prefer, but you may have to increase the sugar in the recipe. To shape, I like to pipe these cookies a little larger than the other spritz cookies in this chapter to create a dramatic effect.

RECIPE: Toasted Coconut Spritz Cookies

Makes approximately 50 cookies

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1⁄2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
  • 2 1⁄4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3⁄4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cream of coconut (such as Coco Lopez)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

FOR DIPPING

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60% to 65% cacao), melted

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Scatter the coconut evenly across a half sheet (13 by 18-inch) pan and bake, stirring once or twice, until the coconut is an even light brown, approximately 10 minutes. Cool completely.
  3. In a food processor, pulse 1 cup of the toasted coconut with 1⁄2 cup of the flour until a coconut meal forms. Pulse in the remaining 1 3⁄4 cups flour and the salt. Reserve the remaining 1⁄2 cup toasted coconut for finishing the cookies.
  4. Line a couple of half sheet pans with parchment paper. Fit a pastry bag with the Ateco tip #826.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter
on medium speed for 5 to 10 seconds. Add the sugar and beat until the butter mixture is aerated and looks like frosting, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to bring the batter together.
  6. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the cream of coconut and vanilla.
  7. On medium speed, add 1⁄2 cup cream
of coconut and mix until the batter resembles cottage cheese, approximately
10 seconds. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to bring the batter together. Mix on medium speed for 20 to 30 seconds to make nearly homogeneous.
  8. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the coconut-flour mixture. Mix until the dough just comes together but still looks shaggy, approximately 30 seconds. Do not overmix. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to bring the batter together.
  9. If the dough seems too thick to pipe, mix in a tablespoon at a time of cream of coconut, up to 2⁄3 cup.
  10. Fill the pastry bag halfway with the batter. Pipe 31⁄2-inch-long sticks onto the prepared pans, allowing 1 inch of space between each cookie. Chill for 10 to
20 minutes.
  11. Increase the oven to 375°F.
  12. Lower the oven to 350°F. Bake one pan at a time for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake until the cookies brown around the edges and hold their shape when touched, 5 to 7 minutes more. Let the cookies cool completely on the sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining pan.
  13. To dip the cookies, line a couple of half sheet pans with parchment paper. Dip the ends of the cookies into the melted chocolate, shake off the excess, and place on the prepared pans. Sprinkle a pinch of the remaining toasted coconut over the melted chocolate. Refrigerate until set.

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Reprinted with permission from 'Cookie Love' by Mindy Segal, copyright © 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Photography credit: Dan Goldberg © 2015

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