Frosted Coconut Lime Cookies
I am making a concerted effort to stop being such a grinch. YOU HEAR ME?! I’M TRYING. I can’t guarantee success, but I thought that the best way to ease into some semblance of a holiday spirit would come in the form of creamed butter and sugar. If there’s one thing which generally lifts my spirits, it’s cookies. I love cookies…even the awful ones. Crisp cookies, chewy cookies, frosted cookies and even packaged cookies that are full of preservatives. There’s just something so satisfying about a small, sweet bite of buttery love.
The compromise for my first foray into Holiday Baking 2009 (yes, 10 days before Christmas I have finally begun baking) was to make Tina Cookies instead of Christmas Cookies. I don’t have the heart for ginger, nutmeg and glace cherries just yet, although I’m sure that will come in time. Hopefully, that time will be in the next 9 days. While we’re waiting for me to get nice again, however, at least I baked concession cookies. You know, cookies that look just enough like holiday treats that you can get away with them, but with enough island flair that you can almost imagine yourself laying languidly on a beach until December 26th.
Brother bought a coconut, he bought it for a dime*
His sister had another one, she paid it for a lime.
She put the lime in the coconut, she bake it all up.
She put the lime in the coconut, she bake it all up.
And said, “MICHAEL! Ain’t there nothin’ I can take,
I say MICHAAAAAEL! To relieve this belly ache?”
You bake the lime with the coconut and frost it all up.
You bake the lime with the coconut, you such a silly woman
You bake the lime with the coconut and call me in the moooooooorning.
* Note – I don’t entirely support bartering palm fruits for weed, but I do enjoy Brother’s sense of entrepreneurship.
Harry Nilsson is probably rolling over in his grave right now. Oh, what of it. If you could have heard me, I totally sounded better than Kermit the G.D. Frog, that smug little green bastard.
The one comment that I will make about these cookies, before you embark on your happily baking way, is that they’re a bit fussier than most of the recipes that I post. You see, I’m lazy. I know that. I like to take the easy route whenever possible, and making these frosted jewels was a bit more finicky than a regular butter cookie. But hey, good things take time! Even if that time comes in boring half hour installments…twice. That’s okay though, I know that you’ll find something productive to do while the dough chills. I certainly did. After all, you can’t crack a new bottle of rum for only three measly tablespoons, right?
Frosted Coconut Lime Cookies
Makes appx 3.5 dozen
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 cups all purpose flour + more to dust
- 1 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut, divided
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 chubby limes (3 tbsp zest, divided, plus juice of both)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 3 tbsp dark rum *
* If you don’t drink and would prefer not to use rum, unfortunately you’ve come to the wrong place. There are no substitutions. Ha! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself there for a moment. Feel free to use water or milk instead – the sugar will bind the icing enough that the milk and lime juice won’t curdle.
Cream together the soft butter and granulated sugar until they’re light and fluffy. Crack in the egg.
Beat the egg into the creamery until it is well combined. Add in 2 tablespoons of lime zest, which will be the yield from 1 large or 2 small limes.
Sift in (see? I AM capable of sifting ingredients from time to time and when necessity demands it) the flour, baking powder and soda, salt and cornstarch.
Stir the flour into the butter using a light touch, and stopping when it is just barely starting to combine. You don’t want to be too aggressive and beat it together or the flour will start to ball itself up and get gluten all over the place, which means a rather tough cookie – and not in the good way. Add 1 cup of the finely shredded or ground coconut.
Abandon the wooden spoon and use light pressure from your fingertips to work the coconut in until the dough will hold together when pressed. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces.
Spread a large piece of parchment paper out on your work surface and dust it with flour. Pat one half of the dough into a flattened square and gently roll it out until it’s a bare 1/8″ thick, or about 14×14″. The dough will roll out remarkably easily although you may have to flour the top or your pin as you roll to prevent sticking. This is actually Finicky Area # 1, because the dough will literally just spread out with the merest pressure, which means that it’s also in danger of rolling unevenly or tearing around thinner edges. Oh yes, and did I mention possible sticking? I loathe and despise sticky pastry doughs, but that’s just me being fussy I suppose.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup of coconut evenly and all over the top, stopping a scant 1/2″ from the upper edge.
Repeat this process with the second half of the dough and then lay both sheets flat in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes.
When the dough is relatively firm start to roll it up as tightly as you can without compromising the shape of your cookie log. You can use the parchment paper to help you do this. Pretend that you’re a Girl Guide again (as if those days weren’t traumatizing enough) and Bossy Brown Owl is going to criticize your poorly rolled sleeping bag. You roll and press, smooth it out, roll and press, making sure that the log is as tight as it can be. Take that, Brown Owl. Have you checked out our serious rolling skills? Because we’re awesome now. By the way, nobody liked your “special jammers”. It was just a jam sandwich, and we were just being polite.
Apparently that’s one more area of my turbulent youth that I have yet to rise above. Let’s move on now, shall we? This was actually Finicky Area # 2, because if the delicate dough is too warm it will tear and crumble as you roll it up. If it’s too cold it will not be yielding and you won’t get a nice tight roll. Hey, at least I warned you in advance that these cookies had some trickery in them.
Wrap the log in plastic wrap, twisting the ends nice and tight, and tuck it in the fridge for another 30 minutes. We likes it cold, here in the CB Boutique. Don’t discard the parchment paper that you rolled the dough out on, because you can use it again when you bake the cookies. Oh jeez, there I go again sounding like a hobo who can’t afford parchment paper. I just don’t see the point in throwing it and using a fresh piece when the previous would have sufficed.
When the cookie dough has cooled you can use a sharp knife to cut the log into moderately thick rounds, each about 1/3″ wide.
Use your hands to pat around each round and tamp down any rough or loose edges. When you get to the skinny little end wedges you have total permission to mash the two together and make a macabre cookie casualty, because that’s about as good as they’re going to get. Lay the prepared cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure that the cookies have ample room in between. This first batch, which you see below, is just shy of being spaced out sufficiently so some of the cookies grew into one another like deliciously coconut flavored Siamese twins. Ahem. That may or may not be Finicky Area # 3, because if I had been paying only slightly more attention this kind of over crowding wouldn’t have happened.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF while you prepare the frosting.
Measure the icing sugar into a medium sized mixing bowl. Zest in 1 heaping tablespoon of lime zest and squeeze in the juice of one lime (about 2 tablespoons). Pour in the rum.
Whisk everything together until it’s nice and smooth. If you would prefer to make the glaze in advance you’re totally welcome to do so, but give it a stir occasionally to make sure that the sugars don’t crystallize and form a shell.
Bake the cookies in the center of your preheated oven for 12 minutes, give or take, until they’re golden brown. If your oven cooks unevenly, be sure to rotate the pans halfway through.
Let the cookies cool for 5-10 minutes before slathering them generously with the thin frosting, which is actually more akin to a glaze. You want the cookies to be warm, but not hot. If the temperature is too high the frosting will just slide right off.
I am ridiculously careless when it comes to frosting, so the fact that I got almost as much icing on the cookies as I did on the counter is no mean feat. My favorite cookies are the ones where the frosting has pooled just enough that a wee subtle hint of pinwheel comes peeking through. Ain’t they purty?
These are Mike’s new almost-favorite cookie. The reigning champion is still my Espresso Mole Shortbread, but hey, I’m happy to find a close second. Making delicious cookies almost makes up for the fact that I still haven’t decided what to get him for Christmas, the holiday which is looming ever closer day by day and scaring the holy bejeezus out of my disorganized self.
Okay. Deep breath. First batch of holiday baking is done and I don’t want to stick my head in the oven. This is a good sign. I’ll do my best to keep the momentum going, and at least bring you a tart or two before the season is done. Whether or not it’s mincemeat, well, I make no guarantees.