Coconut Shortbread Cookies! These perfectly buttery shortbread cookies have a lovely coconut flavor. The cookies are topped with coconut sugar two times for extra crunch and flavor.
To start my coconut shortbread recipe testing I made the dough once with with coconut flour and again with shredded unsweetened coconut. These are very different products and I wanted to see which would work best to make a really good shortbread cookie with distinctive coconut flavor.
For both tests I replaced an equal amount of all purpose flour with the coconut product.
The results I got were totally different, although both were promising in their own way. This is why I find baking so fascinating. Just the smallest change in ingredients and you get a completely different result.
Not wanting to waste a good opportunity, I decided to veer in both directions and make two very different coconut cookies. The version using shredded coconut ended up as Coconut Thin cookies.
The first batch of shortbread made with coconut flour had a decent texture, but they were also very dry. This isn’t surprising since coconut flour has less fat than shredded coconut and is even more absorbent than all purpose flour.
For the second test I tried adding a little cream of coconut. Not only would cream of coconut add some fat, I thought it would enhance the coconut flavor. Unfortunately, even that little bit of moisture threw off the texture of the shortbread. The cookies were tough and dry and the flavor was only marginally more coconutty. Why?
The “short” in shortbread refers to the fact that without much water the dough doesn’t develop long gluten strands. Less developed gluten means your cookie will have a tender and crumbly texture. Even just a little moisture from the coconut cream developed the gluten, which made for some tough cookies.
What’s another way to add moisture to a cookie? Sugar! Yep, sugar is not only sweet, sugar helps retain moisture and keeps the dough tender. I added an extra ounce of sugar to the dough.
The added sugar also enhanced the coconut flavor, even when I cut the amount of coconut flour in half. A sprinkle of coconut sugar just before and just after baking adds a final layer of coconutty flavor to the cookies.
You can cut these cookies into squares or bake them in a round to make “petticoat tails”. I think the petticoat tails have a nicer texture, but either way the cookies are delicious.
Scroll through the process photos to see how to make Coconut Shortbread:
How to make square shortbread cookies:
How to make petticoat tail shortbread cookies:
For all you coconut lovers (I’m one!) here are some more recipes for you to try: Coconut Pound Cake, Snow White Coconut Cake, Coconut Passionfruit Cake, Coconut Macaroons, Pina Colada Pie and German Chocolate Cake.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
- 8 oz unsalted butter (1 cup, room temperatures (see note *))
- 5 oz granulated sugar (2/3 cup)
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 2 oz Coconut Flour (1/2 cup)
- 5 oz all purpose flour (1 cup)
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp Coconut Flour
- Combine the butter, sugar and salt in a mixer bowl and beat until softened and combined, do not aerate. Add the coconut flour and mix to combine. Add the all purpose flour. Mix until a dough comes together.8 oz unsalted butter, 1/4 teaspoon table salt, 2 oz Coconut Flour, 5 oz all purpose flour, 5 oz granulated sugar
- To make square cookies: On a sheet of parchment paper pat the dough to a small square. Lightly flour the top of the dough and roll to a 10"x 10" square. Use the straight edge of a ruler or a bench scraper to square off the edges. Slide the paper on to a sheet pan and chill for 30 minutes. (At this stage the dough can be wrapped frozen for later use). Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°F.
- To make "petticoat tail" cookies: On a sheet of parchment paper pat the dough to a small disc. Lightly flour the top of the dough and roll to a 10 round. Use your fingers or a fork to crimp the edges of the round. Use a long knife to score the round into 16 wedges, do not slice all the way through the dough. Poke each wedge with a fork 3x. Slide the paper on to a sheet pan and chill for 30 minutes. (At this stage the dough can be wrapped and frozen for later use). Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°F.
- While the dough is chilling, combine the granulated sugar coconut flour in a small bowl.3 tbsp granulated sugar, 1 tbsp Coconut Flour
- For square cookies: Remove the pan from the refrigerator and slide the paper with the dough off the pan. Use a pizza cutter or paring knife to cut the dough into twenty five 2" x 2" squares. Slide the dough with the cookies back onto the sheet pan and space them out evenly. Poke each cookie 3x with a fork. Sprinkle the cookies with the coconut sugar, reserving a couple of tablespoons to add after baking.
- For petticoat tails: Remove the pan from the refrigerator and sprinkle the cookies with the coconut sugar, reserving a couple of tablespoons to add after baking.
- Bake the cookies until the center is set and the edges are lightly browned, about 10-20 minutes (shorter for square cookies, longer for petticoat tails). If you're oven bakes unevenly, rotate the tray halfway through baking. As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, sprinkle them with a light coating of the reserved coconut sugar. For the petticoat tails allow the round to cool completely then use a long knife to cut along the scored lines.
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