I’m crazy for coconut. I’ve created dozens of recipes that celebrate it, including a gorgeous makeover of classic coconut macaroons, crispy coconut wafers, crunchy coconut stick cookies, and even a lavish coconut version of the iconic French Marjolaine Cake.
Lately I’ve been riffing on Crunchy Coconut Cookies from my book, Flavor Flours, making all kinds of nutty variations, adding toasted sesame seeds, fooling with the texture, changing the method, swapping in kinds of flours, you name it. A good recipe is a terrific source of inspiration—and it deserves to be worked!
Last week I altered the recipe and method to increase the crunchiness of the cookies. Pressing the dough into thin rounds rather than slicing it from a log eliminated the need to refrigerate it and got me a bonus: golden brown deckled edges around each cookie. So pretty! And done, right?
But then, almost without thinking, I smeared a little peanut butter and some raspberry preserves between two of the cookies. The results were crazy good—and so simple.
There is just one little, potentially annoying step, and it’s optional: stiffen the peanut butter by spreading it over a couple of coffee filters to absorb excess oil. You do not have to do this—I swear—but it helps prevent filling from oozing from the sandwiches, and, even better, it gets you extra good peanut-y flavor that really pops in contrast with the tangy sweet preserves and coconut-y cookies. It’s entirely up to you.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).