At the intersection of my desire put a surfeit of flaked coconut to use and an intense need for a soft, cakey cookie is this creation. It features two critical but slightly obscure ingredients: caramel sugar and Kerrygold butter. Standard issue white sugar will still make a nice cookie, but following Stella Parks’ super-simple instructions to make caramel sugar will yield a superior bite. Kerrygold, however, may be swapped with any other European-style, cultured butter.
A food processor has become my new favorite cookie mixing machine. It’s because I’m a lazy cookie whore, really. The heat from the friction of the blade softens the butter in seconds. No waiting an hour for it to warm up on the counter or taking your chances in the microwave. That said, if it’s a hand or stand mixer you prefer, just make sure your butter is at room temperature before you begin.
This recipe yields about 40 1-tablespoon cookies.
Salty Caramel & Toasted Coconut Cookies
30g unsweetened flaked coconut
300g unbleached a/p flour
200g salted Kerrygold butter
200g caramel sugar
4g baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp coconut extract
Preheat oven to 350º.
Spread flaked coconut evenly on a cookie sheet and bake for five minutes, in an oven preheated to 350º, until deep brown. It cooks with maddening swiftness, so keep a close eye on the oven. As soon as the coconut’s toasted, pour it out into a heat-safe bowl and brush the cookie sheet clean. Allow to cool completely before proceeding.
Weigh flour into a bowl and set aside. Weigh sugar and baking powder into another bowl and set aside. Weigh butter directly into work bowl of the food processor. Crack eggs into another bowl along with vanilla and coconut extract and set aside.
Process butter until smooth, soft, and lightened. (If you’ve started with cold butter, you may need to scrape down the sides of the food processor a couple of times to get it back into contact with the blades before the butter softens.) Add sugar and process for 10 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl with a rubber or silicone spatula then add the eggs/extracts. Process for another 10 seconds, and scrape down the sides of the bowl once more. Add the flour and coconut, process for three seconds, scrape down, and process for another three seconds. If there’s any flour left uncombined, scrape the bowl down one more time and process for three final seconds.
Carefully scrape contents into a clean bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and chill for at least twenty minutes. For maximum flavor goodness, chill overnight. The extra time really does give the flavors a chance to get to know each other.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350º, set one rack in middle of the lower third of the oven, and set the other in the middle of the upper third. Line cookie sheets with parchment. Scoop leveled tablespoons of dough and space 2-inches apart. Quickly roll the dough blobs in your palms to make rough spheres. Bake for twelve minutes, swapping cookie sheets between racks and rotating 180º half way through, or until edges are medium brown but centers are still soft to the touch.
Cool completely on racks before storing in an airtight container.