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.