12 March 2009

A Tale of Two Coconut Cookies

Or, "Mother's" may know best, but daughter's are better.


Everyone knows about Mother's Cookies by now. This grocery store had a selection of Mother's Cookies in stock that I guess they were clearing, so my mom purchased many of the packages at the very decent price of around .79¢. That is awesome. The two available cookies were Chocolate Fudge, like an Oreo but better and with a fudgy chocolate filling, and Coconut Macaroon. I actually liked those the best because it was lighter.

Among the many old Everyday Food magazines that are here, a recipe for what I'm calling Coconut Slices. It's really meant to be Coconut Sandwich Cookies, but I needed a name for the cookie itself.
Anyway, I made these because I wanted to have a taste test between a homemade version. The ingredients were almost the same, except mine didn't have a bunch of preservatives, fake flavorings, and a mix of vegetable oil and hydrogenated oil. The only real difference was that the Mother's Macaroons had eggs, as implied by the word 'macaroon'. Next time I may add an egg white or two in to see what happens.

The manner in which these are made is almost like a shortbread. Cream the butter with the sugar, add the flour and salt, then add the coconut, which I shredded in batches in a food processor because tinier pieces are easier to slice through than strands of coconut. After the dough is made, you form it into a rectangle and chill before slicing.

A few tips I learned about the slicing:
  • Keep the dough rectangle chilled. It may seem like it'll be harder to slice, but as long as it's not frozen solid it actually makes it easier. And doing so will end up with 24 slices instead of 23.

  • Read the directions and use a serrated knife. Doing so will end up with 24 slices, not 23. But if you want to eat a slice of raw dough, that's perfectly okay.

  • Using a measuring tape, make indents at every 1/4" so you'll have a guide to go by. Doing so will help to ensure even slices, ending up with (hopefully) 24 fairly evenly-sized cookies.

  • Use a sawing motion instead of pressing down on the dough. Unless you have a Miracle Blade (or so I keep being told), then it'll slice through anything like it's room temperature butter!



What was the verdict? My batch was entirely better. By contrast, it made the Mother's Macaroons have that artificial vanillin and coconut taste, whereas mine had a nutty coconut flavor with a butteriness missing from the former. The other difference was the macaroons broke apart easily. You could lightly touch the cookie with your pinkie finger and it'll crumble like a wave crashing over a sand castle at the beach. Mine had a chewy center, but the edges were crunchy.


I bet I know what you're thinking. I think you're thinking I made a chocolate version, which is a great idea that I'm planning on trying. But I didn't. I baked the coconut slices on the left for 20 minutes, as per the directions. Why didn't I check it when I smelled the coconut flavor wafting through the kitchen and into the living room? I can't tell you. But it wasn't a complete waste. In fact, all my tasters preferred the, um, toasted cookies more because of the extra nuttiness that it brought out in the coconut. If I had served these to others who were unaware of the issue, they probably might have wondered but would have figured that it was meant to be that way, because I certainly would not have told them I'm feeding them a mistake.

This leads me to the topic of trusting yourself. I hesitated when I read "bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350°," yet I figured that perhaps they knew something I didn't. Considering the thinness of the cookies. Factoring in the baking time for sugar cookies of the same thinness. So it wasn't that I "knew more" than the recipe as much as relying on my prior baking experience. I knew better, but I didn't trust myself, which is an integral part of baking well. Fortunately, it remained an edible mistake. I'm just going to say that the cookies on the right were underbaked and leave it at that!



Coconut Slices
Adapted by a recipe the July/August issue of Everyday Food

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
7 ounces sweetened shredded coconut (2 1/3 cup, loosely packed), shredded further in batches in a food processor

Directions:
  1. With an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and salt until smooth. Mix in flour, then coconut, beating until a dough forms. Transfer to a pice of waxed paper; pat into a rectangular log, about 3 inches wide and 6 inches long. Wrap with waxed paper; freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat oven to 350°, with racks in upper and lower thirds. With a serrated knife, slice log of dough crosswise 1/4 inch thick (you should have about 24 slices); arrange slices on two baking sheets. (Me: It doesn't say to grease the baking sheet, and I'm guessing you probably aren't since these have a high amount of butter per ingredients, but I played it safe and lined the baking sheet with parchment paper.)

  3. Bake until golden, rotating sheets from top to bottom and front to back (Me: I've never done that. Does it really make a difference considering opening the oven reduces the temperature?) halfway through, 10 to maybe 15 minutes (watch closely toward end of cooking time to avoid overbrowning). Cool completely on sheets. (Me: I let it cool on sheet for ~5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.)

The recipe at this point says to spread slightly softened ice cream on the flat side, i.e, the side facing the bottom of the baking sheet, then sandwiching with another coconut slice, again flat side down. Then place on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, which would be about 3 hours. For longer storage, up to a week, wrap sandwiches individually in plastic wrap.

Next time I make these I'll sandwich it with icing.

12 comments:

  1. .79 cents is a steal. I would at least expect to pay .79 US dollars for said cookies.

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  2. I love coconut, so I know I would like these. I prefer you homemade version much more. But I'd eat the mother's cookies, too. :)

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  3. They looks like lovely cookies and I reckon homemade is always heaps better!

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  4. I adore coconut and soft & chewy is the way to go. Thanks for the tips.

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  5. LOL, i am so the one to make that darkened batch of 23 cookies :) they look amazing!!

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  6. I always second guess the doneness of my baked goods when they're ready 10 minutes before the recipe suggested time!

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  7. VeggieGirl - Coconut is delicious.

    PBHoney - Are you one of those n00b tr0ll3rs who spam blogs?

    Em - Yes, I won't stop eating the Mother's macaroons, either.

    Anita - Usually is =)

    Peter - No problemo

    TTFN - I used to have a habit of, um, over-crisping toast. It became such a habit that I developed a taste for over-crisped toast. My mom kept telling me I was ruining my taste buds.

    HtEaC - Which would have been my case had I checked it halfway as I normally do. But ohs wells =D

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  8. that looks SOOO yummy. my family love coconut and i think it may have grown on me, too!

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  9. Hey!! What's your Ravelry ID!?!! I need friends on there! LOL. :)

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  10. I really love coconut cookies, and this recipe looks devine! I am going to have to try making these very soon! Thank you so much for sharing!

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your thoughts are appreciated! ^,^

~Christina

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