There is a recipe of my Great Grandma’s that has been floating around in our family for generations.
It’s one that remains on the regular cookie rotation in our house today, and when I share those cookies, it never fails that friends fall in love with them too.
When I started Home Is Where The Cookies Are, I was sure this recipe of Great Grandma’s was one I would share, but then I came to realize that secret family recipes are a treasure to be closely guarded.
My own rule became that if I couldn’t easily find the recipe available from an outside source, I wouldn’t share it – for the sake of preserving family history.
So, with a part of me suffering a bit of sadness that I couldn’t share her recipe with you – because it truly is a treat you want to share with everyone once you make it – but another part of me swelling with family pride, I moved away from Great Grandma’s recipe and on to many other sweet desserts.
Then, in December, Better Homes and Gardens published their recipe for Toasty Coconut Wedges.*
And BOOM! There it was – almost.
It’s almost here.
It’s not her recipe totally.
I can name a handful of things that are different, but I made the BH&G version and see how close it came, and it’s pretty darn close.
I made a few alterations to bring it closer to Great Grandma’s, but not close enough to give anything away.
This is a shortbread after all, and hers was a recipe for cookies.
The key ingredient that was always missing from every potential outside recipe I ever found though, was the almond extract – and it’s here. It’s here!! Right along with the oats and coconut and brown sugar.
These wedges are sweet and salty, buttery, and perfectly chewy about 10 minutes after they come out of the oven. Then, as time goes on and they cool completely, they turn delightfully crunchy – much like biscotti.
Here you are then. (Imagine me bowing with a flourish and presenting you with a tray of Toasty Coconut Wedges and tea).
These are for you.
I’m so happy I can finally share.
And welcome to my family.
*(Better Homes ran their recipe as a Christmas cookie idea, but I happen to think of them much more as a springtime dessert – they’d make a quite fitting finishing touch for Easter Brunch . . . . )
Toasty Coconut Wedges (Cookies)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks and slightly softened
- 1/2 cup granulated vanilla sugar (regular granulated works too - just add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract)
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose white flour
- 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut for sprinkling
- 2 - 4 tablespoons pearlized sprinkles for decorating edges
Position a rack in the middle of the oven' preheat to 300 degrees F.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. (If you wish, you can also use a greased 10 inch fluted tart pan or a 10 inch springform pan).
On another large baking sheet, spread 1 1/2 cups coconut in an even layer, and bake, stirring every 3 minutes, until evenly toasted (about 9-12 minutes).
Stir in 1 1/2 cups oats and continue baking, stirring every 3 minutes, until coconut is well toasted and the color of graham crackers and oats are beginning to brown (about 6 - 8 minutes more).
In a large bowl beat butter, vanilla sugar and brown sugar, salt, and almond extract with an electric mixer on medium speed until very well blended and lightened in color ( about 2 minutes).
On low speed, beat in coconut and oats.
Beat in flour with mixer. If it becomes too difficult to beat it all in with the mixer, finish by stirring in with a spoon or spatula until evenly incorporated.
If dough is crumbly, work in up to 3 teaspoons water until it holds together.
Pour dough out onto lined baking sheet.
Form into a ball, then press gently and work it into a free-form circle about 10 inches in diameter and about 3/4 of an inch thick. Make sure to leave at least an inch on all edges for the dough to expand as it cooks. Make an oblong shape if necessary. (You can also use the above-mentioned tart pan or springform pan).
Use a rubber or silicone spatula to press and smooth the top of the dough until uniform.
Sprinkle outer edge of dough with pearlized sprinkles; press them gently to secure them in place.
Sprinkle remaining shredded coconut evenly over the top of the dough.
Bake for 30 minutes.
If coconut topping becomes too brown, cover loosely with foil. Continue baking for 17-25 minutes until shortbread is fragrant, nicely browned all over, and feels almost firm when pressed in the center.
Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack; let cool 5 - 10 minutes to firm up slightly.
Cut shortbread into wedges first by cutting the circle into quarters, then cutting each quarter into 4 or 5 wedges each. I found a pizza cutter worked best for cutting the free form shortbread.
Let stand until cooled or barely warm. Separate wedges and use a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in a cool spot up to 2 days.
Can be frozen up to 3 months.
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