Make Ahead

Coconuttiest Shortbread Cookies

May 14, 2013
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 2 dozen cookies
Author Notes

I like recipes that are adaptable. This is a take on my Scottish Shortbread recipe, which usually calls for brown rice flour to add a crumbly texture. I find coconut flour adds both texture and a lovely, nutty flavor. The butter and coconut oil ensure that the cookie is still crispy and durable, just as a shortbread should be. For a twist, roll the cookies in lime-infused sugar. I like to stamp my shortbread with springerle molds to make them extra special. I also like to use this dough to make press-in tart dough; one batch of this recipe will yield one 10-inch shortbread tart crust. —Hilarybee

Test Kitchen Notes

I was a little concerned about the size of the evaporated cane sugar granules. Would they dissolve into the batter? No worries, it seems to add a very subtle sugar bite. When cooled, the cookies become solid enough to pop into your mouth and dissolve into coconut bliss. My husband loved them, and he never liked coconut before. A winner! —ritagorra

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup high-fat butter (Plugra, KerryGold etc), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice (organic sugar)
  • 2 egg yolks
  1. In a small bowl, sift all of the dry ingredients together. Discard any hard bits or clumps. Set aside.
  2. Combine the butter and coconut oil in the bowl of stand mixer. Cream on medium speed for two to three minutes, until the two are combined. Scrape the bowl down, and beat for another minute.
  3. With the mixture still running on medium, add the sugar in a slow stream. Beat for another two minutes, then scrape down the bowl. Add the egg yolks one at a time, scraping the bowl between each addition. Beat for another two minutes, until the mixture looks white and satiny.
  4. Add the flour all at once. Cover the mixer head and bowl with a large tea towel. Hold the towel in place while pulsing the mixer on medium for 30 seconds. Peek under the towel -- cookie dough curds should have formed. If so, shake out the excess flour from the towel into the bowl and mix for another 15 to 20 seconds until just incorporated. If not, mix for another 30 seconds, with the towel in place, then proceed.
  5. Scrape out the bowl and form two balls of dough. If you want to make shortbread coins, roll the two balls into snakes and chill for at least 2 hours, and up to 24 hours. If you want to stamp the cookies, as I have, place a large piece of plastic wrap on top of the mound of dough and one beneath the dough ball. Roll the dough balls into disks about 3/4-inch thick. Chill.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. If making coins, cut them about 1/2-inch thick. If stamping, cut the dough using a cutter that is roughly the same size and shape as your cookie stamps. I use the small 3/4-inch round size, which is the same size as my stamps. Cut the cookies, and then dust with sanding sugar or finely ground evaporated cane juice. Use your forefinger and thumb to hold the dough in place while stamping with the other hand. After stamping, I like to go back around with the cookie cutter so that my cookies are perfectly round and uniform.
  7. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, rotating halfway through. My oven runs cool, so I tend to bake for the full 16 minutes.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • VRich
  • Heidi Thompson
    Heidi Thompson
  • Laurie Lynn
    Laurie Lynn
  • krusher
  • PRST
Dedicated locavore. I spend my weekends on the back roads (often lost!) looking for the best ingredients Ohio has to offer. I am often accompanied by my husband, Mr. Radar and our dog, Buddy. Born in West Virginia, raised in Michigan, I moved to Ohio for college and have lived there on and off since. I love to meet farmers and local producers. Cooking is an extension of this love. You can follow my move from government analyst to cottage industrialist and view the food I cook for my personal mad scientist on

46 Reviews

Caudia December 28, 2015
You dust the cookies with evaporated cane juice (or granulated sugar) before going in oven or afterwards? Thanks!
VRich April 30, 2014
Is it possible to use regular sugar in this recipe? I have everything else on hand so was hoping to avoid another trip to the grocery store :)
Hilarybee May 13, 2014
Evaporated cane juice is "regular sugar." It's just granulated sugar that hasn't been whitened. So go ahead, if you have granulated sugar, use it.
NickV December 15, 2013
If using a stamp can you just roll into balls and press them down with the stamp?
Hilarybee December 15, 2013
Hi Nick- I would still chill the dough before rolling it (or scooping) into balls. The dough has to chill or else it will just crumble apart.
Heidi T. December 12, 2013
These are in my oven right now. I am trying them with gluten free all purpose flour and coconut sugar icing sugar. So far, so good!
Hilarybee December 15, 2013
How'd the Gfree flour go, Heidi? I'm curious to know.
Heidi T. December 15, 2013
The gluten free flour worked great! I had to use 2 XL eggs and a little bit of almond milk in the batter because they got pretty sticky. It made the cookies have a stronger coconut flavor and they are tasty :)
Laurie L. December 10, 2013
These are Delicious. My coconut oil is solid and can be found in the oil section of any supermarket
Hilarybee December 15, 2013
Hi Laurie, thanks for giving them a try. Coconut oil is increasingly easy to find in most places.
Julie G. February 4, 2016
Can you use liquid coconut oil or does it have to be solid? Is there a difference in baking?
Ellen R. September 24, 2013
I must have done something wrong. After refrigeration I have nothing but crumbs that won't stick together. I may have made an error with the coconut oil. Is that actually a fluid type oil? The product I used was solid at room temp. I assumed coconut butter and coconut oil were the same. Was I wrong?
Hilarybee September 25, 2013
Hi Ellen-- Coconut butter is not coconut oil. Think of this just like any other nut. Just as there is peanut butter and peanut oil, same with the coconut.

The oil will be liquid or solid depending on the temperature that you keep it at. If it is warm where you are it will be liquid. Coconut butter includes the actual meat of the coconut and thus is not 100% fat. Whereas coconut oil is almost 100% fat-- it is made by drying the coconut husk and meat and then it is pressed until only the pure fat is left in the product. Unfortunately, coconut butter does not contain enough fat to make this recipe work.
Eartha August 25, 2013
Where does one get coconut flour? Or does one make it???
Hilarybee August 25, 2013
You can find it at the health food store, or in the Gluten Free section of most large grocery stores Kroger, Giant, etc.
Shantelbz June 29, 2013
I should probably have attempted something similar however I love and use coconut flour often and my son likes the taste of it. Thank you Hilarybee
Shantelbz June 29, 2013
Hi Hilarybee.. no I didn't shape into disks, I don't actually know what that means exactly, I am not an experienced cookie baker; I can make most things with much success but cookies for some reason is where I fall short. I chilled the dough overnight and followed the recipe and instructions exact in exception of the high fat butter and making the discs. I am going to sound like I shouldn't be making these but what is disc making and cookie stamping?
Hilarybee June 29, 2013
So cookie stamps are a tool that can imprint a design on a cookie, see my second photo in the recipe. To make dough disks, you would form to balls of dough, and then roll them into circular disks in between two pieces of plastic wrap. If you don't want the dough to crumble, you have to do this before you put it in the fridge. If you want an easier way, form the dough into snakes (or ropes) and just cut them into circles using a knife.
Shantelbz June 25, 2013
Did anyone experience crumbling when you took the dough out of the fridge? I went to get ready to roll it out and it crumbled and I am not sure what I did wrong. I used the correct amount of ingredients except a high fat butter, I used organic but that should not have made a difference. Any feed back will be appreciated.
Hilarybee June 25, 2013
Hi there. Firstly, the high fat butter is important to the recipe, and prevents crumbling. If you want to use regular butter, I suggest forming the dough into snakes and cutting the cookies into coins. Without the high fat butter, the dough will not have the elasticity. Secondly, did you shape the dough into disks before you refrigerated? That is really key. Lastly, how long did you chill the dough? It should be rock solid if you let it sit for at least two hours. If you live in a really humid place, like I do, I'd let the dough sit overnight. Thanks for trying my recipe. I hope they at least tasted good!
Shantelbz June 15, 2013
I am very excited to try this recipe, I normally don't make cookies because they always seem to harden before we can eat them. Where would I find evaporated cane juice? That would be the only thing I don't have on hand? Thank you :)
Hilarybee June 15, 2013
Evaporated Cane Juice is minimally processed sugar and is available at most major grocery stores. I've seen it everywhere from Kroger to Walmart to Trader Joes. You want it to be granulated, not in large raw crystals. If you can't find it, use granulated sugar.
krusher June 8, 2013
I also saved this as soon as it appeared. If I am going to sin in the baking area (being I do not have a sweet tooth) I head to a shortbread - adding coconut to it makes it irresistible for me. I printed it even and have it in a binder right beside the kitchen. Means it will be cooked very soon.
Hilarybee June 8, 2013
Thank you, krusher. I'm glad I could tempt you. I'm nearly always in favor of vegetables and fruit, but I love to bake. This has to be one of my absolute favorite recipes that I've written. Sometimes simple, but smart recipes can be the best!
PRST June 6, 2013
This is on the top of my cookie list to bake, hopefully this weekend. Thanks Hilarybee and congratulations!
Hilarybee June 7, 2013
Thank you very much! Hope you enjoy them.
deannanana June 6, 2013
What is high-fat butter? Doesn't all butter have the same amount of fat?
Hilarybee June 6, 2013
Deannanana, the short answer is no, not all butter is created equal. The FDA stipulates that AA grade butter contain no less than 80% butter. European brands will often have 83% butterfat content, sometimes more. I personally like how well KerryGold works in this recipe. You can use regular butter, they will be slightly more crisp, less melt-in-your mouth.
Hilarybee June 6, 2013
*FDA stipulates butter contains no less than 80% butter fat. The rest is milk solids, water.
lapadia June 6, 2013
Congrats on the CP! Your recipe is definitely on my "to make" list, as noted earlier on.
Hilarybee June 6, 2013
Thank you very much!
AntoniaJames June 6, 2013
What a wonderful, versatile recipe! I had a mixed berry tart recently that my cousin made using a shortbread cookie dough for the crust. It was out of this world. This sounds perfect for that use. What good timing -- I'm saving this to my must-try-soon collection. (And I thank you in advance on behalf of all of the guests at my next dinner party.) ;o)
Hilarybee June 6, 2013
Thank you, AJ! I'm excited about the CP--James Ransom's picture is so beautiful. This recipe yields a really nice shortbread crust. You can roll it out, but I am lazy and just press it in the tart mold. After baking it seems so solid, but just melts in your mouth. I haven't tried it yet, but I think this dough would make fantastic tartelettes.
aargersi June 6, 2013
LOVE that idea! Saved!
Hilarybee June 6, 2013
thank you.
Gail V. May 25, 2013
These sound great... but where do you find coconut flour? I have an Asian market nearby (H-Mart, outside DC), which would be my first spot to hunt it down... Thanks!
Hilarybee May 25, 2013
Gail, I would look for coconut flour in a health food store, or in the baking section of a large grocery store. Look for it with the "gluten free" or "special diets"
lapadia May 21, 2013
Love shortbread and the usage of coconut products in this recipe, thanks for sharing it!
Hilarybee May 22, 2013
Thank you! Please let me know if you try it and make any changes so I can incorporate them!
lapadia May 22, 2013
Well, I have the recipe printed, no telling when I will get the time but will definitely let you know how it goes :)
Midge May 20, 2013
These sound delightful, love the stamping.
Hilarybee May 20, 2013
thank you! is where I recommend getting them. They have the best designs.
em-i-lis May 18, 2013
These are lovely, h!
Hilarybee May 20, 2013
Thank you! You can do the stamping technique on any well chilled shortbread.