Our friend Karen who is the innkeeper at the lovely Woodstock Inn on the Millstream, had made a batch of these the last time we stopped by for a visit.
Karen was very generous with her cookies, and we sat around in the inn?s kitchen enjoying them. When I asked for the recipe, she told me that it was from Whole Foods. So I Googled ?Whole Foods mandarin coconut cookies? when we got home and, sure enough, there it was.
I?ve adapted the Whole Foods recipe slightly below as there were a couple of silly and inefficient things in their version. For example, instead of removing the skin of the tangerines with a vegetable peeler and then chopping it to obtain enough zest, I?ve changed it to just zesting the tangerines. Time is precious, after all?
We happened to have a small pile of tangerines that were not getting any younger sitting on the counter, so the timing was perfect. And I had the rest of the ingredients ? coconut oil (which is great to cook and bake with!), flour, sugar, baking powder, vanilla, salt and coconut flakes, too.
My almost four-year-old son ?helped? me make them. His favorite part was drinking the freshly squeezed tangerine juice and eating the sweetened coconut ? and eating the cookies, of course. He told me recently in a very solemn and proud little voice, ?Mama, I can eat SO much sweet things.? Which is true.
Since we usually use eggs in our cookie dough (this vegan cookie recipe is a bit out of the norm for me), he assumed that this dough was also off-limits for eating. And I saw no reason to tell him otherwise?
The dough is kind of fun to handle ? the texture is soft and marzipan-like with a delicious sweet smell from the coconut oil and the tangerine juice.
I also enjoyed smooshing the cookies with the bottom of a glass dipped first in water and then in the coconut flakes to flatten them out for baking.
I think the cookies end up looking a little bit like flowers, which seems fitting now that it?s spring and the warmer weather is on its way. Enjoy!
Mandarin Coconut Cookies adapted from Whole Foods? recipe
Makes roughly 3 dozen
* 2 mandarin oranges, such as satsumas or clementines
* 1 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
* 3/4 cup organic, virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 2 1/2 cups organic all-purpose flour
* 1 cup finely grated dried, sweetened, organic coconut, divided
* 3 Tbsps cornstarch
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 325?F. Use a microplane zester to obtain 1 tablespoon zest. Juice the mandarins to obtain 1/4 cup juice. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat 1 1/4 cups sugar and oil on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the tangerine juice, zest and vanilla and beat again. Add flour, 1/2 cup coconut oil, cornstarch, baking powder and salt and beat again until combined.
3. Form the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. Arrange the balls two inches apart on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet (I used my Silpat but it?s worth noting that both parchment paper and Silpat contain silicon so, if you?re concerned about that, my guess is you could also just grease a cookie sheet with equally good results.)
4. Dip a flat-bottomed glass in water and then in the sweetened coconut flakes. Press down firmly on each cookie, re-dipping the glass as needed. Bake until golden brown and just firm, about 15 minutes.
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