[Aren’t they just cute as a. . . . ]
I’m late! I’m late!
(Oh. Sorry to alarm you–no, I didn’t mean “that” way. I’m waaaaay too old for that!).
What I meant was, “late in posting this recipe.” You see, I had hoped to get it posted yesterday for a special blog event, but my baking mojo was being coy and wouldn’t show up.
Instead, what I got were multiple trials that looked somewhat like this:
[Not a pretty picture.]
Luckily, my mojo returned after three attempts (really, Mojo, did you have to make me go through all that trouble, when you were planning to show up later anyway? Really, why must you be so frustrating much like the HH coquettish? Now I think you should eat all the cookie rejects as reparation.)
My initial idea was to combine two cookies I used to bake and love: first, from Australian Women’s Weekly, a little gem called Butterscotch Shortbread Buttons; and second, a treat my mother baked but once a year during the holidays, called Frozen Nut Cookies (why they were called “frozen” nut cookies, I have no idea; none of the ingredients was frozen). I also had some newfound unsweetened coconut I received recently and thought I’d throw that in, too.
I’ve always found the marriage of walnut and coconut to be utterly celestial (whenever I make homemade walnut butter these days, I habitually include a tablespoon (15 ml) or so of coconut oil in the mix, both for the subtle flavor and to help the naturally jiggly walnut butter firm up to spreadable consistency when refrigerated). I decided to name my new creation “Coco-Nut Shortbread Buttons,” to reflect this pairing, but mostly because I think that calling cookies “buttons” is just so darned cute!
[This will melt in your mouth–like buttah.]
Well, the flavors weren’t the problem: as I suspected, toasted walnut and toasted coconut complemented each other perfectly. Like sunny days and convertibles, like Butch and Sundance, like fishnets and mini skirts, like Katy Perry and. . . nothing, they were made to be together. No, it was the texture that tripped me up.
I was determined to include some all-purpose flour mix I had left over from an earlier baking experiment. Of course, to retain a somewhat traditional texture (the HH is of Scottish ancestry, you see), I added brown rice flour. But somehow, the flour was too light, the nuts and coconut dissolved into butter, I added too much oil, there wasn’t enough xanthan gum. . . hence, the spattering of crumbs across the cookie sheet any time I attempted to lift a cookie. (I’ve packed all the crumbles in a plastic container for future use and already have a good re-purpose in mind. Can’t afford to waste anything edible these days, people!).
Finally, I thought to add a bit more flour and decided to dissolve the palm sugar in water before combining. And. . . the result was exactly what I’d been looking for! These buttons (see how cute it sounds?) are golden and slightly crispy on the edges, with a soft, sandy interior and just a hint of butterscotch flavor from the palm sugar. They’re solid and release just the slightest crumb when you bite into one, and they melt langorously on the tongue. A perfect treat for a holiday dinner.
Just don’t eat them all before then, or you might end up scrambling to bake something at the last minute, too. 😉
“Mum, these sound great and we’d love to try them, but you know, if your mojo isn’t eating all those rejected crumbs, we’d even be happy with those.”
Coco-Nut Shortbread Buttons (suitable for ACD Stage 3 and beyond)
1/2 cup (40 g or 1.5 ounces) lightly packed coconut sugar
2 Tbsp (30 ml) coconut nectar
2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) coconut extract, optional
2 Tbsp (30 ml) water
1 cup (110 g or 4 ounces) lightly toasted walnuts
Heaping 1/2 cup (40 g or 1.5 ounces) unsweetened shredded coconut (I used Cocoa Camino)
2/3 cup (160 ml) Ricki’s all purpose gluten-free flour mix (or any GF all purpose flour mix)
1/2 cup (90 g or 3.2 ounces) brown rice flour
1/2 cup (90 g or 3.2 ounces) glutenous rice flour or arrowroot/tapioca starch
1 tsp (5 ml) xanthan gum
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
1/3 cup (80 ml) unrefined coconut oil, preferably organic
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line two cookie sheets with parchment, or spray with nonstick spray.
In a medium bowl, combine the coconut sugar, coconut nectar, vanilla and water and stir to begin dissolving the sugar. Set aside while you measure the dry ingredients.
In the bowl of a food processor, place the walnuts, coconut, all purpose flour, brown rice flour, glutenous rice flour, xanthan gum and sea salt. Process until it has the consistency of a meal and there are no walnut crumbs larger than a grain of quinoa. Add the sugar mixture and coconut oil and process until it comes together in a clumpy dough (this may take a while; at first, it will just look like dry crumbs. Resist the urge to add more liquid until you have processed AT LEAST three minutes). The dough should hold together when squeezed between your thumb and fingers.
Using a small ice cream scoop, pack the dough into the scoop and place mounds on the cookie sheet about 1.5 inches (3-3/4 cm) apart. Using the tines of a fork, press into the top of each cookie to flatten it slightly and leave an indentation.
Bake the cookies in preheated oven for 20-22 minutes, until browned on edged and bottoms, rotating the pans about halfway through. Allow to cool before removing from pans to store. Makes about 2 dozen. May be frozen.
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