Coconut is one ingredient that my mother has used with great success throughout her career as a baker. One reason is that she used fresh coconut for many years, breaking the shells on the concrete steps out back and then peeling the brown skin off the white flesh before shredding it.
It’s what adds a welcome extra flavor and texture to these airy cookies, which are easy to make. The secret is to make sure the butter or margarine is really at room temperature before you start making the dough.
You can also cut back slightly on the vanilla and add a light touch of almond extract or coconut extract.
1 pound (4 sticks) butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
½ cup cornstarch
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
4 cups shredded coconut
Cream butter in a large bowl, then incorporate powdered sugar thoroughly. Stir in cornstarch. Add flour and vanilla, and form a dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
When ready to bake, heat oven to 300 degrees.
Roll dough into small balls. Roll in coconut. Place on ungreased baking sheet about 1 inch apart.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until coconut turns golden brown.
Makes 8 dozen cookies.
From Annaliese Griffin