I recently acquired some raw organic shredded coconut. I wished to create something with them but what? I do not like macaroons. Something about weird chewiness that ends up hurting my jaw and too much sweet hurts my brain.
After a bit of google-ing, I stumbled upon this lovely recipe for Orange Butter Drops with Shredded Coconut. Excellent. Just what I needed.
With a few twists of my own, I created a crunchy, crumbly almost shortbread-like cookie that doesn’t have an overbrearing sweetness with just enough tang from the juice. The toasted coconut adds such a delicious smell and texture – plus it looks amazing!
Makes: about 18
- 3/4 cup caster sugar (I have vanilla pods in my sugar so that they’re scented!)
- Grated zest of 1 mandarin – this was really difficult because mandarins have such a soft skin, I grated some of the white pith as well, a little bit won’t kill you 😉
- 2 1/3 cups plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 300g unsalted butter, cold, cubed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional, if you don’t have vanilla sugar)
- 1/4 cup fruit juice, or more if needed – I used apple and mago juice that I had in the fridge
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, or more if needed
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Add zest to sugar in a large bowl and rub together. This step turns the sugar orange and makes it smell delicious – will be using in future for other recipes that require something special!
- Add the flour and salt. Mix.
- Add butter and rub into mixture with hands. Knead until it forms a ball of dough.
- Scoop out a tablespoon-sized ball and roll into a ball. Place on lined/greased tray and gently press down. Repeat. Leave about 2-3cm between each ball. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until golden around the edges. Transfer to a rack to cool.
- Make the toffee glaze: In a saucepan over low heat, add the water, juice and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves and the toffee begins to turn a dark brown. Take it off the stove and let it cool slightly.
- Toast the coconut in a fry pan over medium heat until it turns brown. Make sure to reguarly stir the coconut to avoid burning. Spread onto a plate.
- Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze, followed by the coconut. The cookies are quite hard so don’t worry about pressing firmly to get optimal coconut coverage. Set for 10-15 minutes to allow the toffee to harden so that the coconut sticks with minimal loss! (It would be a shame to lose!)
Bonus toffee recipe!
With the leftover toffee, I added them to moulds and sprinkled on the rest of the leftover coconut. Put in the fridge to set. Yum!
I love that I created two recipes out of this. You could always make more toffee so that you have more leftovers to make larger quantities of toffee. I dislike wastage so this was an excellent example of making two things from one! I love turning leftovers into a new meal. I.e. leftover bolognaise can easily become the base for nachos or tacos!
The cookie is quite hard and crumbly. The original recipe adds in cream cheese to the dough mixture which makes the cookie a lot more moist. You could also add a bit of juice or milk to the dough if you wanted something less dry.
The juice/zest can be anything. You could easily substitute lemon or orange zest into this recipe. I just love the fragrant smell of mandarins plus I didn’t have oranges or lemons.
When making the toffee, feel free to up the juice content as you go. You could even reduce it further after dipping the cookies in it so that it becomes less glaze-y and more sticky! The toffee glaze on its own would be delicious drizzled over puddings, ice cream, anything!