Mmmm, I *love* shortbread cookies! Many thanks to Jayne of The Barefoot Kitchen Witch for choosing the Coconut Butter Thins from page 145 of "Baking: from My Home to Yours" for this week's "Tuesday with Dorie" project.
These delicious little cookies are a shortbread flavored with lime zest, shredded coconut, chopped nuts and a pinch of coriander. For the recipe, please visit Jayne's blog. (Take a look at some of her other recipes, too, not to mention her extremely photogenic--and entertaining--children and pets. Jayne has a real gift for finding and conveying the funny, touching, fascinating moments in everyday life.)
Back to the cookies--I substituted roasted, salted cashews for the macadamia nuts. (Macadamia nuts are so pricey!) Also I used unsweetened coconut and reduced the sugar to 1/2 cup. (We're not fans of really sweet things.) Other than that, I stayed with the recipe.
Dorie's suggestion for rolling and chilling the dough in a gallon zip-top bag is a great one! Of course, being the ultra-recycling type, I used a bag that had already been used several times, so I wouldn't have to feel quite so bad about cutting it up and throwing it away.(I am not quite as frugal as my grandmothers were, though. They saved used string. I just cut it up and compost it!)
Something about Dorie's math is a bit off when it comes to her instructions for cutting out the cookies, though. She says you have a 9-by-10 1/2 inch rectangle of dough and you cut it into 1 1/2 inch squares to get 32 squares. By my calculations, you have to cut into 6 pieces along the 9-inch side, and 7 pieces along the 10 1/2 inch side in order to get 1 1/2 inch squares. That's 42 cookies. Yes, I know, picky picky. Maybe I should be a proofreader. Anyway, I ended up with an 8-by-10 inch rectangle and cut it into 6 pieces by 8 pieces. There wasn't room on my baking sheets to place them the full 2 inches apart, so I froze them for about 30 minutes before baking. It seemed to work -- they spread a little, but not enough to run into each other.
I wasn't quite sure how to tell when they were done. I took them out after 20 minutes, but a test nibble revealed the centers were still pretty soft. A few more minutes firmed them up nicely, without browning them. For next time, I'd bake them until they are firm on the edges and almost completely firm in the center, but still pale. If they "give" in the center, they're not quite done.
I thought the lime flavor was just a little more subtle than I'd like, and I couldn't taste the coriander at all. The sweetness level was just right for our tastes. The coconut and nuts were also subtle flavors but just right -- and gave the cookies a nice texture. Yum, yum!
Like most shortbread cookies, these improve with a few days of aging--though you may have trouble keeping them around long enough to tell. Ours are vanishing fast!