I have had a hankering to bake with coconut. And with a bowl full of bright, citrusy Meyer lemons sitting on my kitchen counter, I knew there would be no better combination than coconut and lemon baked into a buttery shortbread to satisfy my craving. The idea to make these cookies morphed over the course of two weeks given that I committed to working the 3-day Fancy Food Show in San Francisco and then taking on the task many parents dread, myself included, of potty training my 2 1/2 year old. I will spare you the details as this is a food blog and not a rant on the trials and tribulations of being a parent (although I certainly have plenty of material on that subject). The point is certain obligations got in the way of me being able to focus on baking these little buttery bites. The payoff was well worth the wait.
I used a basic shortbread recipe from Ina Garten and added my own twist by toasting the coconut to give the cookies a bit of chewy texture. And of course there needed to be a lemon glaze drizzled on top for that extra hint of sweetness. My husband and eager taste tester is not a fan of coconut and would rather I choose to bake something with chocolate if he had his way. One bite and he was hooked. The coconut and lemon flavors are subtle which allows the shortbread to shine.
The dough freezes very well. Just make sure to wrap it in two layers of plastic wrap beforehand.
- ¾ pound unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Zest from 1 Meyer lemon
- 1 cup of coconut, unsweetened
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread coconut on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until coconut is light golden, stirring occasionally. Cool completely, then grind in a coffee grinder, food processor or blender until coarsely ground.
- Increase heat to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In another bowl, whisk together the flour and salt then add them to the butter-sugar mixture. Add the Meyer lemon zest and coconut. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough ½-inch thick and cut with a 3-inch round cookie-cutter or biscuit-cutter. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- While the cookies are cooling, make Meyer lemon glaze: In small bowl, mix confectioners sugar with lemon juice, adding more lemon juice if necessary to achieve the desired consistency (less juice for a thicker glaze; more juice for a thinner glaze).
- Glaze each cookie with Meyer lemon glaze, and allow cookies to chill in the refrigerator until glaze is set.