Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Coconut Apricot Icebox Cookies
It should be pretty clear by now that I love coconut and that any recipe that includes coconut in the title is quite likely to appeal to me. The irony of these cookies is that I like coconut just about as much as I dislike apricots.
The list of foods I don't like isn't very long, but there are a few things I don't like -- any combination of sweet sauce and meat is completely gross to me, and the idea of fried eggs coming anywhere near maple syrup is enough to turn my stomach completely over...-- well, I suppose those aren't exactly foods I dislike, just combinations of food I don't like. Actually, other than apricots and saurkraut, there isn't much I don't like -- I even liked the fried crickets I tried in Thailand more than I like apricots...
So why did I make a cookie recipe that so clearly featured apricots if I don't like them? I have a rule for myself -- if I don't like a food, I keep trying it in the hopes that one day my tastes will adjust and maybe I will like it. It's happened before, and I'm sure it will happen again, maybe even with apricots... although I doubt it.
The verdict on these cookies is that the bites without apricot are great. Lots of coconut flavor and texture (coconut extract really bumps up the coconut flavor), but then you inevitably eat a piece of apricot and the whole thing is ruined -- at least for me. If you happen to like apricots and coconut and think the idea of them together is good -- you'll like these cookies.
The recipe is from the Icebox Cookie section of my Carole Walters book. They are pretty much a straight-forward slice and bake cookie. The only quibble I had was with the part where she instructs you to plump the dried fruit -- she references you to the back of the book for how to do it, but then the back of the book simply said that you steep them in hot water for a while (which I knew already) and that each recipe would give you the amount of time to steep. Except the recipe doesn't give me that information... being the lazy person I am I said screw it and just made the cookies without plumping the fruit since I didn't feel like guessing or trying to track down the right times.
The only other slightly different thing was that she had you glaze the cookies with an egg yolk mixed with half & half -- I did it and they taste fine, but the thick mixture creates a yellow, almost custard-y looking thick glaze on top... I've never really seen a glaze like that used on cookies before, and while it's fine, I find it a bit odd looking.
1 (10 oz) package sweetened, flaked coconut
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (6 oz) plumped dried apricots, chopped in 1/8 inch pieces
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1 large egg white, lightly beaten with 2 tsp water, for brushing the logs
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp half and half or milk
Place the coconut in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse five or six times, then process until finely chopped. Set aside.
Strain together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Remove 2 tbsp of the dry ingredients and toss with the apricots. Set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter on medium-low speed. Pour in the sugar in a steady stream, and mix for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the egg and mix for 1 minute longer, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix in the extracts.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and blend in 1 3/4 cup of the coconut. Add the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing only to combine after each addition. Using a large rubber spatula mix in the apricots. Shape the dough into three logs (I made two fatter logs) each measuring 8 x 1 1/2 inches.
Place the remaining coconut on a 15-inch sheet of wax paper. Brush each log with the egg wash and place on the coconut, positioning it so that the length of the log is parallel to the short sides of the wax paper. Grasp each side of the wax paper, lift the paper off the counter, and, moving your hands up and down, roll the log to coat it with the coconut.
Wrap the log with plastic, twisting the ends of the wrap tightly to secure. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm. (The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or may be frozen for 1 month)
To Bake the Cookies: Preheat the oven to 325.
Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 3/8 inch thick slices, turning the dough every two or three cuts to maintain the shape, and place on cookie sheets (I used silpats and parchment paper but the recipe doesn't call for them) about 2inches apart. If the dough tears when slicing, press it back together.
Using a fork, mix the egg yolk and the half and half in a shallow bowl, then lightly brush the tops of the cookies with the glaze. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. To ensure even browning, toward the end of baking time rotate the pans top to bottom and front to back. Do not over bake. Remove from the oven. Let stand for 1 minute before loosening with a spatula. Transfer to cooling rack.