December 19, 2012

Tangerine Coconut Cookies

It seems like time is flying by these last couple of weeks - there's less than a week left until Christmas, and I feel like I haven't done all the Christmasy things that I've wanted to yet, like watching all my favourite movies, spending evenings shopping in the crazy busy malls, driving around to look at Christmas lights, and going to see the lights display in the park.

One thing I have managed to is some holiday baking! Our annual cookie swap at school took place a couple of weeks ago, and in the last few days I've made 4 more kinds of little treats.  The latest treat to come out of my kitchen was these tangerine coconut cookies.

I had bookmarked the original recipe for mandarin coconut cookies from Whole Foods, and I was inspired to try them after a fellow student brought some clementine cookies to our cookie swap that I really liked.

These cookies are kind of like a cross between a sugar cookie and shortbread, and they're made vegan by using coconut oil instead of butter.  Because the baking time is a bit longer, they come out with a crisp, crumbly texture (perfect as a tea biscuit!) and if you place them in the freezer before baking, they stay nice and thick without spreading.

These are studded with lots of coconut and full of tangerine flavour.  I love anything with coconut, but I'm actually a bit picky with orange-flavoured treats as I find the zest can be a bit overpowering.  That wasn't the case with these cookies though - the tangerine zest and juice added lots of flavour, but it was balanced out really well by the coconut at the same time.

I also loved the pretty effect of pressing the cookies with a small glass to create the ridges around the edges. Plus the coconut-sugar mixture that I rolled the cookies in makes them look like they were dusted with snow!

If you're still looking for more cookie ideas, I plan on doing a round-up post of some of the other treats I've made lately, so stay tuned!

Tangerine Coconut Cookies
Adapted from Whole Foods

1 tangerine (can substitute with a clementine instead)
6 tbsp (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) coconut oil, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
1.5 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp cane sugar

Preheat oven to 325°F and prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.

Wash the tangerine and use a zester to remove the zest. Set aside the zest and cut the tangerine in half with a knife.  Use a lemon juicer and juice one half of the tangerine – you should get at least 2 tbsp of juice. Save the other half of the tangerine for another use.

Cream the coconut oil and powdered sugar together in a large bowl, until fluffy.  Add the vanilla and coconut extracts, 2 tbsp of the tangerine juice, and ½ tbsp of zest. Beat until mixed.

Add the flour, 1/4 cup of coconut, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt and beat again until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Use your hands to form the mixture into a smooth dough.

Combine the remaining 2 tbsp of coconut and the cane sugar. Use a blender or food processor to grind until coarse.

Form the dough into small balls.  Roll each ball in the coconut-sugar mixture and place on the baking sheet. Take a small glass (I used a shot glass) and dip the bottom in water, then in the coconut-sugar mixture. Press the glass into each cookie ball to flatten (You will need to wipe off the bottom of the glass and re-dip in the water a few times).

Bake cookies in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until firm and lightly golden on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes about 19 small cookies.

Note: If you prefer a softer, chewier cookie, you can try baking them for less time, but I haven't tested this!


  1. i'm with you, i haven't done all the christmasy stuff i've wanted to do yet. these next few days, i'm watching all my christmas movies, baking and candy-making up a storm, and TONS of wrapping...

    i'm quite picky when it comes to orange flavoring. usually not a fan. but, i have a feeling i would love these, especially since there is coconut!!!

    can't wait to see your round-up, lady!

    1. Sounds like a busy but fun upcoming few days for you! Yeah, I don't know what it is about orange - I love actual oranges and orange juice, but not those cakes that have orange zest, or those chocolate oranges that were so popular growing up. These cookies were just right for me though!

  2. I feel the same way. I'm so behind on all of my christmas traditions! I need to watch a few more movies, go driving around to see the lights and just enjoy the season. I have, however, done my fair share of baking and eating said baking this year. *HAH*

    I saw this recipe on Whole Foods a while back too and wanted to make it. The cookies sound awesome! I am glad they turned out so well :) I'll give them a shot in the new year for sure!

    1. I've definitely been eating more than my usual share of cookies this past month...something about the holiday season just makes me crave them! Glad I could give you a review of the cookie recipe (with some modifications)!

  3. I am in total denial that Christmas is right around the corner. I am so behind on everything too, and feeling completely overwhelmed! These sound so light and tasty--the perfect counterbalance to all the heavy chocolate cookies that are popular at this time of year!

    1. You sound like my Dad - he thought there was still another week before Christmas and just realized yesterday how soon it was! I'll always prefer non-chocolate desserts and cookies, so I'm happy to contribute a lighter option to the holiday cookie tray :)

  4. YUM! I love the idea od using a tangerine in place of an orange, I too love anything with coconut - what a great addition to your cookie swap!



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