Tuesday, September 25, 2012


When I make cookies, I usually want something involving chocolate or oatmeal, often both. Sugar cookies seem to boring to bother with—until I taste one and am reminded that they were one of my go-tos as a kid. This is probably because they tended to be frosting delivery devices, but still, a plain sugar cookie is nearly as delightfully nostalgic. What tempted me in this recipe, from Everybody Likes Sandwiches via Poppytalk, was the lime and the coconut, two of my favorite flavors—especially in the summer—but a combination I’ve never tried in cookie form. I was surprised to find that those elements are fairly subtle here, but I wasn’t too disappointed, because what resulted was essentially an excellent sugar cookie with the perfect crisp-chewy texture, but with intriguing notes of citrus and toasted coconut. They taste a lot like the sugar cookies my mom made when I was little, which she made with lemon extract (almond, of course, being reserved solely for holiday spritz). And they’re incredibly addictive.

Maybe it was because I baked these on a hot day, but mine turned out completely different than the ones in the photos accompanying the original recipe; those are thick and rounded, whereas mine are wide and flat, bakery-style. Whatever I did, I want to do it again, because the texture was my favorite thing about these cookies. I kept daydreaming about how perfect they would be as the base for an ice cream sandwich. Someone should get on that, stat.

These cookies are already on the sweet side, so do make sure you use unsweetened coconut. I found mine in the bulk section at Whole Foods.

2¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened (dried) shredded coconut
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1½ cups white sugar, plus about ¼–½ cup extra for coating the cookies
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest from 1 or 2 limes
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1. Toast coconut in a small sauté pan over medium heat until fragrant and lightly browned.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment or Silpat.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, toasted coconut, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, cream the butter and 1½ cups sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well, then add the vanilla, lime zest, and lime juice. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients until combined.

5. Place some sugar (start with about ¼ cup and add more as needed) in a shallow bowl. Form dough into heaping-teaspoon-sized balls and then roll in sugar. Flatten slightly and place on lined cookie sheets two inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes: 2–3 dozen
Time: 40 minutes
Leftover potential: High, if stored in the freezer; if stored at room temperature, the chewy texture will disappear after a couple of days.

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