Tell me you love coconut. If you do, you *need* these Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Shortbread cookies in your life! Immediately! If you don’t, I suppose we can still be friends. My husband doesn’t like coconut, and we still get along (although we do have that whole “until-death-do-us-part” agreement). These are buttery, crisp, and melt in your mouth. We ate them all, and I miss them already.
At my house, the biggest domestic victories and defeats revolve around trying to get everyone to EAT. We are a family of five, two of which are extremely picky eaters. I considered it no small victory that ALL THREE of my kiddos like coconut. Woo! Coconut cream pie for everyone (except my husband)!
Growing up, you become accustomed to the foods that your parents feed you. On one hand, there will always be foods that are nostalgic reminders of days past: the turkey on thanksgiving, meat pie (it’s a French-Canadian thing–check that one out), made-to-order omelets on Easter morning, and good ol’ spaghetti and meatballs. On the other hand, there may be foods that you just never try because they aren’t something that you grew up with. I didn’t have my first fresh cherry until I was in my 20s (and I lived in Michigan where they grow gorgeous cherries)!!!
Coconut fell into the “never tried” category, since neither of my parents dig on coconut. I can’t remember when I first tasted it, but I remember wondering where it had been all my life. The next revelation was the pairing of coconut and chocolate. Heaven! So…when I made these cookies, I couldn’t help myself. They had to be dipped in chocolate. This is definitely one of those times where my reluctance to leave well enough alone turned into something wonderful.
A few details to help ensure success:
– Be sure to use unsweetened, dried (desiccated) coconut. If you use the sweetened coconut that you typically find at the grocery store, the cookies will be REALLY sweet. You’ll also have a hard time keeping the dough together and cutting out shapes because the pieces of coconut are so large. If you can’t find unsweetened, dried coconut at your local grocery store, it’s available [here].
– The recipe calls for pulsing the dough together in a food processor. I went this route, and my (small and old) food processor was barely able to do the job. It was full to the top, and I had to process the butter in batches. If you don’t have a food processor or prefer not to use one, you can cut the butter into the dry ingredients by hand using a pastry cutter (like this one [here]) or a fork.
– You’ll also want to make sure to follow the instructions in the recipe that call for rolling out the dough between two pieces of waxed paper. Trust me, you need to. Bonus: you don’t even have to clean your rolling pin when you’re done!
My cookies were about 2″ x 2″ and baked on a silpat (like this one [here]). If your cookies are smaller and/or you aren’t baking on a silpat, they will brown more quickly. If you’re making larger cookies, they may take an extra minute or two to brown.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. Also, if you’ve never had fresh cherries: please, please, *please* remedy that as soon as you can. A trip to Michigan this summer would be completely justified.
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Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma (link here).
Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Shortbread
- 3 cups flour
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened, dried coconut
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces (2 1/2 sticks)
- 4 oz chocolate, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup unsweetened, dried coconut, toasted
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, coconut, and salt (see note). Pulse until well blended.
- Sprinkle butter cubes over top of the dry ingredients and pulse until dough begins to form a ball.
- On a lightly floured surface, turn the dough out and knead gently into a smooth ball. Divide dough in half.
- Place one dough half between two pieces of waxed paper. Roll dough out to about 1/4" thick. Transfer dough to cookie sheet and refrigerate until dough is firm, at least one hour. Repeat with the second half of the dough.
- Preheat oven to 325F and line two baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.
- Remove chilled dough from refrigerator and allow to warm on the counter until dough has softened slightly, about 10 minutes (the dough will shatter if you try to cut out the cookies while it's too cold).
- Working with one half of the dough at a time, peel off the top sheet of waxed paper. Replace this sheet, turn the dough over, and remove the sheet that is now on top. Set top sheet of waxed paper aside.
- Cut out desired shapes and place cookies on prepared baking sheets about 1/2" apart. Gather scraps and re-roll (replacing waxed paper sheet that was set aside earlier), chilling the dough as necessary. Repeat with second half of dough.
- Bake cookies 10-12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through (see note). Cookies should be slightly firm and ivory in color. Cool on pan 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to metal racks to cool completely.
- Spread coconut out on *unlined* baking sheet. Toast coconut at 325F for approximately 5 minutes. Check on coconut and stir every minute or so to ensure even browning and avoid over-browning! Cool toasted coconut to room temperature.
- Place 2/3 of chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a small pan of simmering water. Make sure that the bowl doesn't touch the surface of the water.
- Stirring often, warm chocolate until just smooth. Take bowl off the heat, and stir in remaining 1/3 of chopped chocolate. Stir until chocolate is smooth. This step will help to temper the chocolate, which will help the chocolate stay glossy after it sets.
- Dip cookies in chocolate and top with toasted coconut however you desire. Enjoy!