Make Ahead

Nigerian Coconut Cookie Crisps

November 21, 2015
1 Ratings
Photo by Linda Xiao
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Makes 10 dozen
Author Notes

If I had to offer up one cookie recipe that represents Nigeria, it would be these, the sum of three cookies and candies I grew up with—coconut jam drops, coconut crisps, and coconut candy—morphed into one treat that’s halfway between cookie and cracker.

The technique of 'crackerising' and 'crisping' comes from a Chocolate Chip Crisp recipe by Nancy Baggett (Simply Sensational Cookies, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012)

Want to hear more about Nigerian food? On our new podcast Counterjam—a show that explores culture through food and music—host Peter J. Kim talks dodo, jollof, egusi, and more with comedian Ego Nwodim and Afrobeat pioneers Femi and Made Kuti—check out the episode here. Kitchen Butterfly

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups (300 grams) all-purpose white flour (plus more if necessary)
  • 2 cups (120 grams) unsweetened medium-sized desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut or vegetable oil like canola or safflower
  • 2 tablespoons coconut extract combined with 1/2 cup room temperature water
  • 1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
  • Strawberry or other jam
  1. Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C). You will need 2 large baking sheets and 4 sheets of parchment paper, about 1 1/2 feet in length each .
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, desiccated coconut, sugar, baking powder, and salt until well blended, being sure to crumble any lumps of sugar so you have a mixture that’s uniformly combined
  3. Whisk the oil and coconut extract-water mixture. With a spoon, stir it immediately into the flour mixture until mixed in, then finish off combining by hand. The dough should be soft and cohesive. If it is crumbly, add additional water by the tablespoon till it forms a soft dough. Note that as you roll it out, it'll come together even more. If the opposite is the case and it is very soft, you can add additional desiccated coconut or flour, also by the tablespoon
  4. Split the dough in half (my halves weighed about 400 grams each). Set one half in between two pieces of parchment and roll it into a (thin) 12-inch square. I used the tiles on my counter as a guide, as they are perfect 12- by 12-inch squares.
  5. Cut and patch the square to make the sides fairly even, then remove the top parchment sheet. Sprinkle the top evenly with 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar. Lay the parchment back on the dough, then roll over it with the rolling pin so the sugar is embedded in it. Remove the top sheet of parchment and re-use if you like (I do).
  6. Using a pizza cutter, pastry wheel, or large knife, cut each dough sheet lengthwise and crosswise into 8 equal strips to form a grid - each square about 1 1/2 inches (with uneven edges all around). Try not to cut through the parchment. Slide the parchment and dough (leave the edges in place) onto the baking sheets. Make centres in each square with your thumb and fill with a tiny bit of jam. Repeat with second half of dough.
  7. Set in the oven on the middle rack for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the dough is set but not firm in the center; remove from oven and set aside to cool. Mine took 15 minutes in a gas oven. Turn the oven down the oven to 250° F (about 125° C). When the crisps are cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes after coming out of the oven, separate the squares and spread them in the pan. Bake for 20 minutes; gently stirring halfway through to redistribute the crisps.
  8. Turn off the oven and let the crisps sit in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes (or even more), till completely cool. (I had to go out once and left mine for a good 6 hours in the oven. By the time I returned, they were cool and perfect.)
  9. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, or freeze up to 2 months

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Denise Parker
    Denise Parker
  • Catherine Regina Cheng
    Catherine Regina Cheng
  • mrslarkin
  • Kitchen Butterfly
    Kitchen Butterfly
I love food and I'm interested in making space for little-heard voices, as well as celebrating Nigerian cuisine in its entirety.

6 Reviews

Denise P. December 12, 2018
Just made these tonight. So, a few things to take note if you're trying these for the first time...

I had to add about 6-8 more tablespoons of water to get it to be was entirely too dry and crumbly to hold any form without the extra water.

WATCH THE TIME FRAME WHEN BAKING! How thick or thin you roll out the dough will determine how long to leave these in the oven. I used the dimensions, time frame at 350 in the recipe and the first batch almost completely burned. I used the same dimensions for the 2nd batch, lowered the oven temp to 275 and cooked them longer and slower and they came out much better. I watched them every 10-15 mins then turned the oven off and left them in for a while longer to crisp up. It was a longer process but I was home for the night and in a baking mood so I didn't mind the wait.

I honestly wouldn't worry about the 12" square dimensions as if you're a carpenter or something! Just roll out the dough to a cracker thickness, cut it into a big square and then use that extra dough you cut off into another smaller square and keep going til you use all the dough. It's just cookies! Simply cut the dough into cracker size pieces; don't overthink about the exact size.

A LITTLE jam goes a long way! Just add a tiny drop of jam - it will spread a little bit but all you need is a dab of flavor. These are pretty good cookie crackers and I really like the coconut flavor!
Catherine R. April 24, 2017
Can you recommend a good coconut extract or a good substitute for it? I normally try to not use too much extract as it usually adds an artificial flavor that I don't like. I do REALLY want to try these though, I love crispy cookies and I love coconut even more!
Shanti December 26, 2015
I found these very challenging to make, despite the simple recipe. To meet the dimensions described, the cookie has to be really thin and is too thin for a thumbprint indentation. Their meant that even though I used a really small Fallon of jam, it still spread all on the cookie while baking, making them look smeared. Also, the dimensions of the cookie were not clear in the recipe.
Kitchen B. January 16, 2016
Dear Shanti, 21 days overdue but I'm sorry to hear the recipe didn't work as intended. I've made these a few times with good results.

I've updated the recipe to give rough dimensions for the crisps if you decide to try it again. I hope that helps. Thanks
mrslarkin November 23, 2015
These sound lovely, KB! The technique reminds me of a yeasted Dutch cookie I've been obsessed with. Might post recipe if I have time. Q: How much baking powder, and when to add the coconut oil and extract/water?
Kitchen B. November 30, 2015
Hi MrsLarkin, Yaaay and I'm so sorry, I just saw this. I've updated the ingredients list and the steps. Stay well