Friday, February 11, 2011


Toasting coconut before you put it in a cookie would not have occurred to me, but it’s a genius idea; not only do you get that toasty flavor but a unique crunchy-chewy-melt-in-your-mouth texture that’s totally different from the moist stringiness of regular coconut. And combining it with dark chocolate is even better.

That said, I didn’t adore these cookies quite as much as I expected to, considering that they incorporate one of my favorite flavor combinations and come so highly reviewed. First off, they seemed too sweet to me, what with the normal complement of brown sugar plus the sweetened coconut. I would not have expected excessive sugariness from Cooking Light, usually a model of restraint in such things, but none of the other reviewers mentioned that—in fact, several specifically said “not too sweet”—so I must be crazy in the minority (A didn’t agree with my assessment either, but then he’s probably never met anything he’d call too sweet). Still, I kept wondering what these would be like if I tried using unsweetened coconut instead.

Second, I could have used a little more chocolate (a few poor cookies hardly had any), but that’s no surprise for a CL recipe that’s aiming for moderation. And there’s an easy fix for that: If I make these again, I’ll try 6 ounces instead of 4.

There’s no easy fix for the fact that the texture of the dough itself is a little unusual, probably because it has about half the typical amount of butter, resulting in a cookie that’s on the crisp and crumbly side. This befits CL but may have contributed to my vague overall dissatisfaction with the recipe. Although I enjoyed the flavors of coconut and chocolate, the cookie base itself tasted one-dimensional to me, as though it was missing something; maybe that something was the savor of butter, and its lack was what left me with the impression of oversweetness.

All this is not to say that we didn’t thoroughly enjoy these cookies; A loved them and I happily scarfed down my share. I just thought they’d rock my world and they didn’t, quite, so I’m a little perplexed by them.

I’ve doubled the recipe, on the recommendation of many commenters; I feel like if I’m going to bother making cookies I’d might as well make a lot of them since they keep so nicely in the freezer (I actually prefer eating them frozen), and apparently CL made them really tiny, which I didn’t want to do. So this will give you about three dozen normal-sized cookies.

2 cups flaked, sweetened coconut
9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups, lightly spooned in and leveled with a knife)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ cups packed brown sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
4 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Arrange coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring once. Set aside to cool.

3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until blended.

4. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Beat in vanilla and egg. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Stir in toasted coconut and chocolate.

5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes or until bottoms of cookies just begin to brown. Remove from pan, and cool completely on wire racks.

Yields: About 3 dozen
Time: 1 hour
Leftover potential: Great; I liked them even better frozen.

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