07 September 2017

Thin and Crispy Coconut Cookies - Gluten-Free (or Not)

Thin and Crispy Coconut Cookies - Gluten-Free (or Not) / www.delightfulrepast.com

I'm going to need your help on this one! Thin and crispy coconut cookies are no problem if you don't mind a cloyingly sweet cookie. Where the problem comes in is reducing the sugar to the bare minimum. So let me tell you the whole story, then I will welcome any suggestions you might have.

When I'm in the mood for a coconut macaroon or other chewy coconut cookie, I make these Swedish Coconut Cookies. But what I had in mind this week was a super thin and crispy coconut cookie. The first version I came up with resulted in the third sheet of cookies being close to what I was aiming for, though a bit dry.

So I added the step of moistening the coconut with a bit of water before proceeding with the recipe the second time. Organic unsweetened finely shredded coconut is quite dry; in fact, I think it's dehydrated. Supermarket coconut has added sugar and water as well as propylene glycol and sodium metabisulfite, and that just ain't happenin' in my kitchen!

I also increased the butter for the second batch. And now I'm thinking I might increase the sugar next time if it will help the cookies spread. (Sugar - Toxin or Treat? tells you about me and sugar.) If you've ever looked at any of those "Cookie Troubleshooting" articles, you know that most people are complaining about their cookies spreading too much.

Thin and Crispy Coconut Cookies - Gluten-Free (or Not) / www.delightfulrepast.com


The problem with these is that they won't spread. At all. If you roll the dough into a ball or use a cookie scoop, it just bakes in that shape. If you mash it down slightly, it bakes in that shape. So if I wanted these thin and crispy, I had to roll the dough into balls and then press the dough ball into a very thin round about 2.5 inches or so in diameter.

You know I never mind doing fiddly stuff in the kitchen, but this was a bit much even for me on most days. I use the bottom of a metal measuring cup to press down lots of cookies, but it didn't work on these. I tried everything on the bottom of that cup -- water, flour, baking spray. No go. The only thing that worked was my plain fingers. Pretty fiddly work.

Anyway ... I'm willing to increase the sugar to 3/4 cup if it will help them spread without my manual assistance. I figure that would come out to about 2/3 teaspoon of sugar per cookie. A cup of sugar would still be under a teaspoon per cookie, but they would be far too sweet for my taste.

Any suggestions? Higher temperature? Lower temperature? Loosen up about the sugar for once in my life?!

Thin and Crispy Coconut Cookies - Gluten-Free (or Not) / www.delightfulrepast.com


Thin and Crispy Coconut Cookies


(Makes 4 1/2 dozen cookies)

1 cup (2.75 ounces/78 grams) organic unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces/59 ml) water
1/2 cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) coconut flour
1/2 cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) gluten-free blend (or use unbleached all-purpose flour and omit the xanthan gum)
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 sticks (5 ounces/142 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1 In 2-cup glass measure, stir together coconut and water; cover and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

3 In 1.5-quart bowl, whisk together flours, xanthan gum, salt and baking soda.

4 In 2.5-quart bowl, cream butter and sugar together until sugar is dissolved. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture; combine well. Stir in moistened coconut.

5 Drop by level 2-teaspoon* scoops onto parchment paper. Roll each scoop into a ball and flatten it with your fingertips to about a 2.5-inch diameter. Bake until edges are browning, about 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

* This set of stainless steel measuring spoons is one of the few that include a 2-teaspoon spoon, something I've wanted for a long time, and the round shape makes it easy to push out a scoop of cookie dough with a finger.

58 comments:

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

LOL…“loosen up about the sugar for once in my life.” Now, you know what I want to say. Can’t believe I’m going to encourage more experimentation instead. Truth be told, I’m always trying to head in your direction of less sugar. If more sugar would work, there must be something equally catalytic based on other than the sugar molecule. I know, not a totally logical statement; but what is it in the sugar that you expect to add malleability to your formula. Not recipe, formula. It’s chemistry more than culinary.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Sully. Yes, I will experiment further, as long as it doesn't require a Bunsen burner!

Angie Schneider said...

Coconut flour is a bit tricky to work with, esp. if you want cookies evenly thin and crisp..they just don't hold too well. Yours look pretty good, considering that you didn't use lots of eggs there. Maybe you can flatten them with the help of the bottom of a glass..

Louca por porcelana said...

Hi Jean!I think sugar is a treat...Your red teapot is gorgeous!Good luck with your cookies.Xo.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Angie. This was the first time I've used coconut flour in a cookie - didn't know it was a bit tricky. Good to know.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Maristella. I love that little red teapot too!

Lorrie said...

Coconut flour is tricky. It absorbs a lot more moisture than regular flour. I wonder if adding another egg to the dough would help with the spreading out? Like you, I try to minimize sugar as much as possible.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Lorrie, I'll give that a try! I don't think an additional egg would make the cookies too "eggy."

Debbie - Mountain Mama said...

And that's exactly why I don't bake very often! There's such a science to it....it eludes me. Cooking? That I can play with, and throw in a bit of this and a bit of that....but if you do that with baking I never know what the results will be! These look darned tasty, though!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Debbie, thanks. I'm very experimental with baking as well as cooking. Most - *most* - of the time, it turns out great the first time. But back to the drawing board on this one. They are indeed "darned tasty," but that pressing them flat by hand was just too much.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

I'll bet those crispy cookies are delightful with a cup of tea, Jean! Sugar doesn't bother me, but I know you're concerned about it. I'd "loosen up" about it! I wonder if the dough would work in a cookie press?

Sippity Sup said...

Not my recipe. And I've never tested it. But it comes from a source I trust. GREG

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1-1/3 cups shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a large bowl of electric mixer, cream butter and sugar.

Add vanilla; beat thoroughly. Mix in flour. add coconut; mix well. Shape into balls the size of walnuts. Place on ungreased baking sheets and flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in flour. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Makes 4 dozen.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Kitty. Yes, perfect with a cup of tea! It would probably work in a cookie press, but I'm aiming for paper thin. Pressed cookies are awfully cute, though.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Greg. Yes, that recipe would make a lovely coconut cookie, just not the one I'm aiming for right now. I'm going for paper thin and crispy. But that recipe might be just what I'm in the mood for next time I get a hankering for coconut!

Sippity Sup said...

How about a Florentine recipe and change the nuts out for coconut? GREG

Margie said...

I love all things coconut so these crispy cookies are right up my alley!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Greg, that's a definite possibility! Thanks.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Margie. And I know you'd have a cup of tea with them!

Raw Mum said...

Maple syrup works quite well for moist and spreading cookies. I do ginger cooking that come out more like gingerbread. Mmmm #dreamteam

Rhyming With Wine said...

I love the idea of these Jean. I adore chewy coconut macaroons. I haven't heard of xanthan gum before though? I'll have to look that up. Thanks for linking to #DreamTeam x

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Raw Mum! I think I'll definitely try them with some maple syrup!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Dawn, thank you. The xanthan gum is something used a lot in gluten-free baking. If making these with plain wheat flour, I wouldn't add xanthan gum. But the gluten-free "flour" blends need it to do the "holding together" of a dough that gluten accomplishes in regular baked goods.

Pauline Wiles said...

Oh dear. I have no intelligent suggestions, other than perhaps to make peace with them being a squished ball shape instead of thin and crispy? But... we love all things coconut in our house so I think this is probably a winning recipe, regardless.

Karen said...

Hi Jean
I love cookies of any kind. Yours sound so good and I like the idea of adding maple syrup. Thanks for sharing your recipe. Have a great weekend. Karen

Jeanie said...

Well, I was going to suggest rolling out and using a cutter or rolling into a log and cutting thin till you mentioned low effort. Cut out cookies are anything but low effort, though the log might be -- and less likely to spread. Good luck!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Well, Pauline, I'll keep that in mind - *after* I've tried a few more things, I might just have to make peace with them!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Karen. I can't wait to try a batch with all of these suggestions.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jeanie, thanks! I do have one variation of the rolling pin method I'm going to try. It will result in rectangles instead of circles, though.

Lauren @ My Wonderfully Made said...

WELL as one who TRIES to cut the sugar but made a chocolate layer cake with buttercream frosting last weekend, I'm PROBABLY not going to be much help! I do tend to be in the camp of 'everything in moderation' and I find that a lot of recipes just aren't worth trying to change. I have a few 'healthy' recipes I bake that I stick with because they really DO taste good. Then I bake the 'bad' stuff and give most of it away to neighbors haha! Let THEM worry about the sugar!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

:D Yes, Lauren, let THEM worry about it! :D I cut the sugar in everything right down to the point where if I take out one more spoonful the texture is going to be spoiled. Texture is important. I'd rather have just a tiny piece of a proper cake than a large piece of one with a bad texture.

Karen Dennis said...

I love coconut and as these are wafer thin , they won't be too fattening, so I will definitely give them a try#trafficjamweekend@_karendennis

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Karen, I hope you'll like them as much as we did! I just made up the recipe, and they're far lower in sugar than any you'll find.

Richard Sheppard said...

All the thin and crispy cookies I know of using butter and sugar to make that happen. Some also contain a little milk and light corn syrup. Good luck on what ever you decide to try!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Yep, Richard, I'm afraid if I want them to spread thinly I'm going to have to increase some things. Maybe I'll start with adding an egg, more butter and a little maple syrup. It's going to be fun!

April J Harris said...

It does sound like they were fiddly, Jean, but your Coconut Cookies look gorgeous and sound so delicious! I guess maybe try adding a little bit more sugar...I know how you feel about it though so maybe not...Thank you so much for sharing and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, April. I'll definitely have fun in my "laboratory" when I decide to sort it all out!

Miz Helen said...

I love thin crispy cookies with my afternoon tea, delicious! I really appreciate you sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday and hope you are having a safe and enjoyable weekend.
Come Back Soon!
Miz Helen

Tony Grant said...

Just keep rolling them as thinly as you can Jean. The thinner the cookie the less sugar, well as long as you keep the circumference small too. It's all in the taste and not the volume. With a nice cup of properly brewed tea to wash it down of course. All the best, Tony PS I'm in New York tomorrow. Really enjoying my North American escapade.

Phil in the Kitchen said...

I played around a bit with coconut flour last year and I tended to underestimate just how much liquid it soaks up. It may not help much because I didn't try making cookies but after a few experiments and discussions with a friend we made some decent traybakes and brownies by increasing the egg content (and I mean quite a big increase in some cases). I used coconut oil too but mainly for the flavour rather than texture. Good luck.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Miz Helen! And I'd love to join you for tea and cookies - do you have a shady porch?

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Tony, thank you. I was just getting ready to have a nice cup of properly brewed tea! I'm so glad you're enjoying your trip. Can't wait to hear all about it!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Phil, it's funny I've actually made some very good gluten-free cakes with coconut flour; and cakes are trickier than cookies. But I think I'll take your advice and increase the egg from 1 to 2 and see what that does before I go adding more sugar or butter. I was going to use coconut oil in these but discovered my oil was expired. They definitely had enough coconut flavor, though, with the coconut and coconut flour.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, Jean. On this recipe I am of no help at all for advice! I am clueless on coconut flour other than a little here and there when the mood strikes! But these cookies do sound very good.

This evening as I thought of our menus for this week I saw that once again several of your recipes will be included. Your Cole slaw dressing to go with a fish dish, your mashed potatoes to top Cottage Pie, your special tips will be a used in the making of scones and now I am using unbleached flour for the first time in 45 years of baking. Most likely there will be even more input from you than these. Jean, you are a part of our lives on the very important food and recipe level. Thank you from the hubby and me. These are very good changes!

Have a great week!
xo,
Lily

Jann Olson said...

Hi Jean, now and then I love a cookie with a crunch. These sound delicious! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
hugs,
Jann

Quinn said...

Those look like the perfect coconut cookie to me, Jean!
On the flattening/spreading thing - and as I am not much of a baker, please take this with a grain of salt, not sugar - I would try adding more butter before adding more sugar, because sugar is the slipperiest of slopes for me and I always associate butter i cookies with cookies spreading while baking. I might also try flattening them by rolling or pressing between two sheets of parchment paper, one trays-worth at a time, and then if necessary using a thin-bladed knife or spatula to help remove the top sheet of parchment without also removing the tops of all the cookies. Not sure that would be less trouble than pressing each one with fingers, but it might at least provide variety to the task? ;) Good luck and thanks for sharing your recipe and process!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Dear Lily, thanks so much! I always buy Bob's Red Mill organic unbleached flour. Glad you made the switch to unbleached. A lot of people don't like to make changes, but you are flexible - and that will keep you young! :D Now you have me craving cottage pie, but today there is chicken I must cook.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Jann. Yes, they're especially good with a nice cup of tea.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Quinn, thank you. For "not much of a baker," that is a brilliant idea! I'll let you know how it works out!

Annette, 3 Little Buttons said...

Jean, these look so lovely in any case. I actually have no idea how to make a cookie puff out on it's own. They just tend to do it, or maybe it's because I add in too much sugar. Who knows. I think it's one of those answers on a post card moments. Good luck with your quest for perfect cookies, I am sure you will get there. #DreamTeam xx

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Annette. It's way easier to make a puffy cookie than a super thin one, I've found!

Beatrice Euphemie said...

Hi Jean - a thin, coconut cookie sounds so very yummy! I am thinking that more liquid is needed, as the coconut is so dry - perhaps soaking the coconut in water for a while, like you might with raisins. Just a thought.....perhaps coconut milk? I now have a craving for these......xx Karen

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Karen, thank you. I do soak the coconut, but I think you're right - they need still *more* liquid. Maybe I'll work on them again next week!

Kitchen Riffs said...

More sugar probably would help -- I'm no baker, but my impression is it helps retain moisture in things. Have you tried reading Shirley Corriher? She's really good with explaining the chemistry behind cooking, and she's a great baker. Anyway, love the idea of this!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, John. Yes, I've read Shirley Corriher - it's fun getting into the science of things! I'm afraid I know the answer to getting these to spread is more sugar and that I may just have to roll them out in a sheet and cut them into rectangles if I'm not willing to add sugar *and* the other possibilities - more egg, more butter - don't do the trick.

Cocoa and Lavender said...

I am no good at baking "fixes" - but they look great to me without the fix!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, David! I do love them the way they are - except that I have to press them out by hand to make them thin and crispy - fiddly work!

Bernideen said...

These do look delicious Jean - another great recipe! Thank you for sharing and linking. Coconut is wonderful too!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Bernideen. A thin and crispy cookie goes so well with a cup of tea, don't you think?

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