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Coco-Nut Shortbread Buttons

[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 and giveaway hosted by Shauna, also known as Gluten Free Girl.  Also known as blogger and book author extraordinaire.  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.]

Ouch.

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.)

Shauna’s event is called the  “Gluten Free Baking Challenge”  and you can all enter, too!  ( Yes, my friends, the giveaway madness has gone over the top–and this one isn’t even mine!  Come back tomorrow for one of those).

Shauna and her Chef hubby, Danny, have just published their first book together, and as part of the kickoff, she’s giving away a whack of amazing prizes (seven in all) including multiple copies of the book–and a Cuisinart stand mixer!!  So pop over to the blog to enter, and start thinking about your own GF contribution! (If GF cooking isn’t something you’ve tried before, I would wager there are already many gluten free staples in your repertoire–lots of foods are actually naturally gluten free! If you need some help, send me an email and I’ll make suggestions).

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.”

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Coco-Nut Shortbread Buttons (suitable for ACD Stage 3 and beyond)

Diet, Dessert and Dogs (http://dietdessertndogs.com)

1/2 cup (40 g or 1.5 ounces) lightly packed coconut sugar

2 Tbsp (30 ml) agave 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) all purpose GF 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

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, agave, 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-agave 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.

* I didn’t include a weight measure for the AP flour, as they tend to have different weights depending on the ingredients. I tried this with two flours: first, Maggie’s all-purpose mix, here, and Bob’s Red Mill premixed AP gluten free flour–both were good. 

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This recipe is linked to Maggie’s 12 Days of GF Christmas Cookies event. . .head over to her blog to see all the other great entries! 🙂

You Might Also Like: Hazelnut Melting Moments

Two Years Ago: Let Them Eat (Eggplant) Caviar

Three Years Ago: Sweet Potato and Carrot Casserole (no photo, but scrumptious recipe!)

© 2010 Diet, Dessert and Dogs

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37 comments to Coco-Nut Shortbread Buttons

  • I love the baking mojo comment! And these look great… but your trial picture looks like something I’d count as success – not all the cookies are broken! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Ricki Reply:

    Thanks, Eleanor, but quite honestly, they were *not* a success–the only reason the others aren’t broken is because I hadn’t touched them yet when I took the photo! One touch and. . . . poof. Crumbles. 😉

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  • Frig, I totally lost my mojo today! Lost 2 batches of muffins. UGH! Wish I could turn them into crumbs or something! Yours look lovely and yummy. You’re so darned adventurous. I see you used the glutenous rice flour – is that sweet white rice flour? I’m impressed!

    [Reply]

    Ricki Reply:

    I *think* it’s the same as sweet rice flour, but it doesn’t say “sweet” anywhere on the bag. I got it at a Chinese market, and most of the writing is in Chinese (and I can’t read that) 😉

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    Arielle Reply:

    Yes, it is the same – “sweet rice flour” is the Japanese name, while Chinese/Korean/Vietnamese refer to it as “glutinous”

    [Reply]

    Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli Reply:

    Thank you for asking the glutinous rice flour question. I’m going to try these this week.

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  • Jes

    Mmm coconut goodness! Foiled attempts aside, the final batch looks mouth-watering!

    [Reply]

    Ricki Reply:

    Thanks, Jes! The foiled attempts tasted okay, but the texture was just wrong.

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  • Cute as a button, they are. And I’ll bet the kitchen smelled heavenly all day.

    [Reply]

    Ricki Reply:

    Come to think of it, it did. . . so I guess all was not lost after all!

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  • hooray for cookie success, Ricki! sometime i lose my mojo and it takes DAYS to find it again. ah ha ha! your coco-nut shortbread cookies are cute as a button! i don’t think i’ve ever had this combination of gloriousness known as coconut meets walnuts. now i’m gonna have to try it out. i don’t see how it can’t be awesome! i LOVE shauna’s blog and i’m gonna pop over there are see what she’s got go’n on. with all the MoFo’n i haven’t had a chance, and i don’t want to miss out on the good stuff!

    [Reply]

    Ricki Reply:

    Jessy, you must try the walnut-coconut combo–it’s totally delicious! I think you’ll be in awe of all the great recipes on Shauna’s blog, too. 🙂

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  • These cookies look wonderful! I love toasted coconut in anything, so I’ll definitely have to try this recipe. Plus, they really are cute as a button!

    [Reply]

    Ricki Reply:

    The coconut flavor isn’t incredibly prominent, but it melds well with the walnut. And yes, cute! 🙂

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  • I’m glad your mojo did end up making an appearance! These look just beautiful, Ricki!

    [Reply]

    Ricki Reply:

    Thanks, Shelly. Days are lonely without my mojo! 😉

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  • Those look scrumptious.

    [Reply]

    Ricki Reply:

    They were–thanks! 🙂

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  • Arielle

    Shortbread are my favourite cookies! I love the simple flavours of butter, sugar, flour. Except, whoops! Can’t have sugar or flour anymore, so I’m going to try this out 😀

    Oooh, am I reading this wrong (clearly 2 cups of tea in the morning is not enough) or do you describe the “all purpose GF flour mix*” somewhere?

    [Reply]

    Ricki Reply:

    So sorry! I inserted an asterisk by the ingredient, then forgot to add the note at the end of the recipe! I used the AP mix from She Let Them Eat Cake, which I had from an earlier project. Next time, I used Bob’s Red Mill (links are in the recipe above–I’ve added them now). Both versions were yummy and worked equally well! I think pretty much any AP mix would work as long as you use the same volume (2/3 cup or 160 ml). 🙂

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  • oh very cute – I love those little cookies and while I am not a huge fan of shortbread (though the scottish part of the household is) I do love how adorable they always look. And I am very partial to walnut and coconut so I suspect I would love these much more than coconut

    [Reply]

  • oops – I meant much more than shortbread – hate seeing the comment disappearing into the ether with a typo

    [Reply]

    Ricki Reply:

    Ha ha! I feel your pain. . . happens to me all the time! But I see what you meant now, and I think you *would* like them better. 🙂

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  • That shortbread looks divine!! I have been away from my kitchen for almost a week and it is killing me. So many recipes to try. Thanks Ricki!

    [Reply]

  • Those sound yummy. I have never used coconut sugar before. I know this sounds dumb, but does it have a really strong “coconutty” taste? I like coconut, but only if it’s not too overpowering. I give you credit for going through that many cookie trials until you perfected the recipe. I probably would have just eaten the cookie scraps and gave up, lol.

    [Reply]

    Ricki Reply:

    No, it doesn’t actually taste like coconut at all–it’s more like a deep caramelly brown sugar. Delicious, actually! And believe me, I ate more of the cookie scraps than I care to mention. . .

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  • There must be a Mojo convention somewhere!! I had to dump two batches of cookies, a few apple dumplings and some savory tarts before I finally settled on brown sugar hand pies…which aren’t really settling ‘cos they’re yummy. But, perseverance pays off in the end. These sound so good…sweet little buttons. (I do love that name.)

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  • ROFL about being late and Katy Perry going with nothing. Ha ha (perhaps her new hubby would disagree though LOL)! These cookie look awesome, Ricki! Thanks for doing the hard work for us and thank goodness you got your baking mojo back. Life without baking mojo is not one I want to live! (I am at a complete loss when I momentarily lose mine. No fun for sure.) Anyway, great contribution to the baking challenge! My entry wasn’t even a baked good … talk about being “brain foggy.” 😉

    Hugs,
    Shirley

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  • Ricki, So glad you didn’t give up after round 2 🙂 Been trying to find easy-to-pack-and-take goodies … these fit the bill.

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  • I am sorry you had such a hard time with these! But the result looks stellar! I never had walnut and coconut together, I bet it is a fantastic combination.

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  • those look beautiful, and I agree it’s a fantastic giveaway!

    [Reply]

  • Is that sugar I spy in these delectable looking gems? Were you able to eat these?!! How cool would that be 🙂

    [Reply]

    Ricki Reply:

    I *was* able to sample them, as someone who considers herself (mostly) in Stage 3 of the anti-candida diet. But sadly, I think I’m not quite ready for coconut sugar as a regular part of the diet. . . it seemed to trigger pretty intense sugar cravings. Bah!!

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  • Thanks for linking these delightful cookies up to 12 Days of Gluten-Free Christmas cookies Ricki!

    [Reply]

  • […] Ricki of Diet Dessert and Dogs with her Coconut Walnut Shortbread Cookies […]

  • Those are indeed very adorable and sound so yummy! I want to try that walnut butter with a bit of coconut oil too mmm. Walnuts have always been my favourite nut yet I haven’t tried walnut butter!

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