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) —Kitchen Butterfly
(300 grams) all-purpose white flour (plus more if necessary)
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 .
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
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.)
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, or freeze up to 2 months
For the first 9 years of my life I hated food and really loved sugar till Wimpy (British Fast Food chain) changed my life! These days, all grown up, I've junked junk food and spend my days and nights on a quest - to find and share the sweet, sweet nectar that's food in The #NewNigerianKitchen!
Dreaming, cooking, eating and writing...about and adoring a strong food community that's big and bold enough to embrace the world's diverse cuisines - I'm passionate about celebrating Nigerian cuisine in its entirety.
Why do I love food so? It is forgiving. Make a recipe. Have it go bad....but wake up tomorrow and you can have another go at succeeding! Only with food!