Coconut-Cardamom Cookies

I find P rave about those coconut cookies from his hometown quite often.The discussion comes up mostly on weekends when we have the time to sit together for morning tea.  There must be something about them, I often thought to myself. More than the fancy taste, it could be the fact that his mom got them from a bakery near her workplace – making it so special for him.

I took the discussion a little further & asked him last week- after all whats so special about them? Fluffy inside, crispy outside, overly sweet but something with perfect balance of textures – a cookie which  leaves behind a ghee laden,chewy coconut taste in the mouth – his prompt reply made me wonder if he waited all the while to be asked.

I knew what was baking for next few weeks. First few batches were extremely dry, I almost burnt the bottom each time & obviously the ratios went haywire. I felt extremely uninspired to try more.Well, what can terribly go wrong with loads of ghee (clarified butter),coconut & sugar? A question I asked myself all the while – however when the ingredients are few, getting the right outcome is much more difficult.

I greeted P with (yet) another batch this weekend.They came out like a small bundle of festivity.Utterly moist & chewy – that is how I imagined these cookies.These were just like it. Now, I need to dig further about what else reminds of his hometown. Clearly,our weekend tea rituals will need new topic of discussion now on.

Coconut & sweet smelling cardamom are clearly the star here – the ingredients make these cookies enchantingly indian. If you are nuts about coconut (like me & P) – then you need to try these. I started mixing the recipe with pure gut - I ram the mortar till skin separates & I sniff the cardamom pods. I mix the resulting powder with flour till my fingers smell awesome, I play with flour & sugar, I add ghee to the dough till I feet it is just enough. The whiff of air that sways through the kitchen right from when the coconut toasts to when the baking tray comes out of the oven- the challenge came out perfect.Impatiently, I waited them to cool off, I tasted one & I knew it – this is the ticket!

The recipe is real easy & despite a lot of room for error, it runs good in the oven. I always make small batches of 15-18 which are enough for two of us. The best part about the recipe – just five ingredients. Quality of ingredients plays a huge role thereby, try using the best.

Makes 15-18 cookies


  • 1 cup dried dessicated coconut, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar (or castor sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/8 tsp fine salt
  • 6-8 tbsp ghee, melted (or unsalted butter)


Dry roast the coconut flakes on extremely low heat for about 3-4 minutes or till you start smelling the aroma, taking care that flakes do not turn brown.Transfer to a plate & let cool.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, salt & powdered sugar to remove all lumps. Combine cardamom powder with the sifted flour mix. Mix the coconut flakes to flour next and rub the mixture with fingers to combine everything together.

Start adding the melted ghee 1 tbsp at a time and gently kneading the dough till you get a soft & pliable dough. Do not knead too much, just until everything is combined.

Note:- You may increase/decrease the ghee by a tbsp or more if your mixture is loose/crumbly, the idea is to just use ghee to form the dough.

The dough will be slightly sticky. Wrap the dough in a cling film and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes or until firm.

Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.Take out the refrigerated dough and knead it 2-3 times. Pinch 15-18 equal portions of the dough. Roll each portion between your palms into a smooth ball with no cracks.Line the balls on the parchment paper. Press lightly with the back of fork . Line on the cookie sheet with atleast 2″ space between them. Refrigerate again for 10 minutes.Meanwhile Preheat oven to 300F.

Bake on the middle rack for 18-20 minutes keeping a close eye, these cookies should not change color while baking.Once you see the bottoms turning brown, remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes on the sheet itself.Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.Store in an air tight container at room temperature for upto 3 weeks.

49 thoughts on “Coconut-Cardamom Cookies

  1. Oh I have loved coconut cookies for as long as i have remembered. Just loved this recipe and your photographs are making me want to snack on them right now. Awesome post as always Tanvi:)

  2. I LOOOOOOVE both coconut and cardamom. It sounds easy enough for me to make, and I’d love to try these soon. Tanvi, your photography is amazing. I keep saying that from last year but I’m talking about another level from last year! 😉

  3. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. There are only about a handful of things that I am crazy about when it comes to desserts / sweets. Stuff that is coconut based is one of them:)) Nice recipe! Are the coconut flakes you used the same as dessicated coconut ?
    Love all the shots but no. 2,3 and 4 are just fabulous!!

    1. I m afraid but I think fresh might not work.The cookies may not come out crispy. However, if you still give it a try..let me know 🙂

      1. Infact I did a little bit of research on web & saw that toasting fresh coconut longer to dry it out more may work.

  4. Hi Tanvi – Sending my first hello since we arrived in the States. I am thrilled to finally have the time to catch up with some real homemade foods and goodies after two-week of traveling. Coconut and cardamom both make an incredible pair! We had a taste of cardamom twisted doughnut in Iceland and absolutely loved it. I will surely give these cookies a try once I get back to the kitchen.

  5. Tanvi, these cookies look great…coconut and cardamon…would love to have one of this with my afternoon tea.
    Hope you are enjoying your week 🙂

  6. I just made a chilled summer soup with coconut and cardamom (I will be posting it soon!) — it’s such a fantastic combo! Bet it’s delicious in your cookies too!

  7. I love the last picture 🙂 Too bad I am not a coconut fan, definitely looks delectable. P is one lucky guy!

  8. I am such a fan of both coconut and cardamom, and have been suing ghee a lot in my cooking as I read that it’s considered very healthy in ayurvedic terms, so these cookies sound right up my alley! also, gorgeous photos, I love the styling.

  9. Awesome pics… makes me go craving for food… especially the ones in the pictures… hope to learn cooking very soon… 🙂 following you.. and I love the name Sinfully Spicy..

  10. Thank you! I’ve looked at three different versions of this recipe and none of them told when to add the coconut. Crazy! So I guess I try them. I teach a class to children called arts and crafts around the world. This week is India. This will be a great treat.

    1. Art & craft week sounds exciting Michelle! Hope the little ones enjoy these cookies, both baking them & eating them!

  11. I tried them and they came out gr8. I have a question it possible to substitute ghee with something healthy? I tried half veg oil nd half ghee the secpnd time and they were good too. Just wondering if we can add some water or milk and less ghee to make the dough?

    1. Thanks. I have never tried adding water or milk to make them so can’t say what would be the outcome. These are more of shortbread rather than a cookie, I agree! I would say make a small batch and portion control – healthy? 🙂
      Thank you

      1. I know healthy was not the right word here :)..will try to experiment with different options.. and thanks once again everyone in my family loved the cookies 🙂

  12. I made these cookies a couple of days ago after finding the recipe (and your site) on The Huffington Post. I am a professional baker and let me simply say, this is the shortbread formula I have been looking for all my life. These cookies are so utterly outstanding: sweet but not too sweet, crumbly but with a fascinating chewiness from the coconut (I describe them as multi-textural though I know that is not a word) and today I am going to make them again except instead of coconut, am using chopped pistachios. Pistachios and cardamom are great together. Actually, cardamom is great with almost everything. Don’t worry — I’ll still continue to make them with coconut in the future, maybe with a bit of lemon zest. Many thanks.

    1. Many thanks Pat.Your comment is very generous.Thanks for trying and more for your feedback here.
      Yay to the cardamom shortbread ..with coconut or without:)

    1. It’s dry shredded coconut. Unsweetened. I get mine from whole foods bulk section ( in case you are located in the states).

  13. my apologies, I see now where it clearly states ‘flakes’ 🙂 I had to make some alterations due to what ingredients I have on hand, I’m using coconut sugar and whole wheat pastry flour….I’ll report back on how it works out….the dough is divine!

  14. Love these cookies. The combination of coconut and cardamom and the final texture of these cookies..outstanding. The cookies from your site always come perfect. I usually make a batch of nan khatais and coconut cookies together and enjoy them with family and friends. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Hi Tanvi,
    thank you for this lovely recipe. I made the cookies today and while they taste delicious, they did not quite turn out right/like they were supposed too; they wouldn´t form a dough so I had to double the amount of butter but even baked and cooled they are still super crumbly. I would love to make them again, so it would be great if you could advise me on what have might gone wrong.
    The only point were I think I might have done a mistake is when it comes to sugar- could you please clarify what kind of sugar you used? For me as a european its so hard to understand because we do not differentiate between castor sugar and `normal`sugar and also I think in the paragraph were you talk about combining the ingredients you mention powdered sugar. Do I need to use castor sugar next time or powdered sugar? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Katharina,
      In USA here, we call it confectioner’s sugar, the one which is used in cake frostings and cookie icing.The confectioners sugar we get here in the States is mixed with cornstarch which plays a role in the texture of the sugar.
      Granulated or crystal sugar will not work in the recipe.

      1. Hi Tanvi,
        thanks so much for your reply. I had no idea that confectioners sugar contains cornstarch (somehow the german expat sites failed to mention that, common opinion was that you could just substitute it with normal sugar), no wonder the dough wouldn´t form! The cookies were delicious nevertheless and gone within a few days 🙂 Happy Diwali and thanks again!

Leave a Reply