If you’re going to bake, use recipes with ingredients that set your heart on fire. I believe in this to the very last character in the sentence…but don’t relish coconut. Unless of course, it’s presented to me within an Almond Joy wrapper. Otherwise, you won’t find coconut crossing my palate or even my sinus passages. (I buy sunblock and tanning oils with NO coconut smell whatsoever. I open the bottles in the store and sniff to be sure!) Coconut Joy Cookies, however, are my divine exception. The almond extract in the recipe compliments the coconut perfectly along with a delicious toasted flavor thrown in there from the bottom of the cookie. My Aunt Jean in New York, she devours these cookies if I make them when she’s in town and they certainly don’t last long when I mail them to her during the holidays. They ship wonderfully and the filling is interchangeable. There’s also very few ingredients in the recipe so, it’s a quick bake with a fairly low oven temperature at 325 degrees.
Coconut Joy Cookies are dipped in a chocolate candy coating and are great in a holiday spread with or without it. I use a double-boiler to melt the chocolate and don’t shy away from this… it’s easy. You’ll need a small pot and a heatproof bowl. Put enough hot tap water in the pot to fall just below the bottom of the bowl when it rests inside. If the water touches the bowl, it may scorch your chocolate. Keep the stove burner on medium-low, put the chocolate in the bowl and leave it alone for about 15-20 minutes. Covering the bowl with a plate will speed up the process but don’t allow any condensation to drip in your chocolate – you’ll have a mess. Then, stir and dunk. Chocolate can be melted in the microwave; I prefer the double-boiler method simply because it gives me complete control over how hot the chocolate gets and keeps the chocolate warm and smooth for as long as I need it that way. Your home will smell like Willy Wonka should be living there when you get these cookies going. This is the first in my ’12 Bakes of Christmas’ postings for the 2012 holiday season. This recipe is a throwback to my early blogging days and these cookies were one of my very first posts. Eleven to go! Recipes after the jump.
1 7oz Package of Flaked and Sweetened Coconut
2/3 Cup White/Superfine Sugar
1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 Tsp Salt
3 Egg Whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
1/2 Tsp Almond Extract
4 oz Chocolate Candy Coating (often called Almond Bark)
1 Jar Maraschino Cherries (halved)
Heat your oven to 325 degrees. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set the chocolate to melt over a double-boiler. Drain the jar of cherries (save the juice to make a Roy Roger) and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to dry (this keeps the center of the cookie from being gooey from excess cherry juice). Add the coconut, sugar, flour and salt to your mixer bowl and stir together. Next, stir in the egg whites and almond extract and mix until well combined. Use a tablespoon measure to scoop the dough out and roll it into a ball. Place the ball on the cookie sheet, hold the sides of the cookie gently with one hand and use a knuckle from the other hand to make a dent in the dough. The idea is to have a dent to put the cherry in but to keep the ball of dough from bursting apart. Bake for 12 minutes for a toasted golden-brown cookie bottom with just a few browned flakes on top. Cool completely on the cookie sheet or a wire rack, whichever is more convenient for you. Dunk the cookie bottoms in the melted chocolate and place upside down to dry on a sheet of waxed paper. The most I’ve ever gotten out of this recipe is about two dozen cookies. Experiment with different fillings for the center of these cookies and make them exactly how you like them.