My coconut butter chocolate chip cookies are a mainstay of those nights when it’s 10 p.m. and we realize that dinner didn’t hold us over. They are some of my favorite cookies in the world because they’re 1) super chewy (the #1 quality that I look for in a cookie); 2) the dough doesn’t need to chill (cookies in under 30 minutes!); and 3) the coconut flavor is subtle and really quite pleasant!
But the fact that they taste like coconut can also be limiting. For example, I’ve been struggling to convert these into a chocolate version. Not enough chocolate and the coconut flavor overpowers it. Too much chocolate and the coconut butter doesn’t do its job of holding things together. So, that project is on the backburner for now. In the meantime, I came up with a few flavor combinations that work in harmony with the coconut, and this is the first.
I didn’t go into much detail the first time around, so let’s talk coconut butter. The reason I think it works so well for cookies is that you still get that saturated fat from the coconut, like what coconut oil would provide, so that the cookies can have crispy edges and a buttery texture. But the fibers from the coconut are still there, so it gives structure to the cookie in a way that coconut oil cannot.
Store-bought coconut butter can cost an arm and a leg, but you can easily make your own. Plus, freshly blended coconut butter is way easier to measure out! Just buy a bag of unsweetened, shredded coconut and dump it into your food processor (blenders might also work? I haven’t tried), and let it run. Scrape down the sides every so often, but otherwise, just let it keep going until the oils are released and the coconut butter is completely smooth. Coconut butter that’s still slightly grainy *will* work with this recipe; however, the texture will be a bit more cake-y.
I learned through accidental experimentation that if you leave the coconut butter in a jar on the counter at room temperature, you can make coconut oil! The oils will separate and go to the top. This was a totally informal and nonscientific endeavor so I can’t say whether it’s fully the same composition as pressed coconut oil, but I still used it! Not sure what to do with the dense coconut fiber stuff at the bottom of the jar, though.
Okay, enough dubiously-researched pseudoscience! You should definitely make these cookies (or the original chocolate chip version). The spiciness of the candied ginger and the crunch of the macadamia nuts are perfect foils for the chewy texture and coconutty flavor. Happy Thursday!
Chewy Coconut Cookies with Macadamia Nuts and Candied Ginger
Crispy on the edges and chewy in the middle, these coconut cookies are studded with toasted macadamia nuts and bits of candied ginger for a unique vegan cookie experience.
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
- 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut butter (see notes above)
- 1/4 cup plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 tbsp tapioca flour
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or additional AP flour; do not use regular whole wheat)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped candied ginger
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped toasted macadamia nuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat or other sillicone liner.
In a nonreactive bowl, combine the coconut sugar, (optional) molasses, brown rice syrup, coconut butter, milk, tapioca flour, cornstarch, and vanilla. Use a fork and mix aggressively until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Continue stirring for another 90-120 seconds (and be ready for sore arms).
In a separate, smaller bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda, and salt. Add them to the wet mixture and stir until completely combined. This dough is rather stiff and sticky, so this will be somewhat difficult, but it will work - don't be tempted to add more liquid.
Fold the candied ginger and macadamia nuts into the dough. Form the dough into balls about two tablespoons in size and place them at least an inch apart on the baking sheet. Flatten them slightly.
Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the edges feel firm and a little crisp or you see any browning. The centers will still be very soft at this point. Take them out as soon as they start to brown, because they may lose their chewiness if overcooked.
(Optional step for chewier cookies) at the 10-minute mark, remove the baking sheet from the oven and, working quickly, press down gently on the cookies with a spatula or your fingers to give them a flat shape. Return to the oven.
Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes (they will continue to get chewier until they reach room temperature). Gently remove and enjoy.
P.S. I candied my own ginger in pure maple syrup following these instructions (if you scroll down, there is an English version).