LATINO VOICES
12/16/2013 03:59 pm ET Updated Dec 16, 2013

Latino Recipes For The Holidays: Coconut Cookies

Stephen Chavez and Art Rodriguez

Better than just a regular old sugar cookie. Galletas de Coco or Coconut Cookies bring a little bit of the Caribbean Islands to your kitchen. How does a furry, brown, hard shell ball when cracked open transform into yummy goodness? Yes, I just said the word yummy to describe these cookies because they are addictive. You can’t stop with just one.

In South American countries, coconut recipes came from African slaves who arrived with Spanish and Portuguese conquerors, that is why I think we not only have galletas de coco in the Caribbean islands, but also in countries like Colombia and Brazil that had black influence.

Did you know the term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which, botanically, is a drupe, not a nut? The coconut is the most familiar palm of the tropics, yet until recently its origin was hotly disputed. It is now thought to come from the western Pacific and spread via human activity and ocean currents to most of the tropics. Today it is a domesticated plant and has become an essential resource for food, shelter, fuel and tools. I prefer to use coconut in my baking. Who doesn’t like a white cake with pineapple filling and coconut frosting?

So here is simple coconut cookie recipe enjoyed especially during the Christmas holidays, but also other times throughout the year. The biscuit has a slightly sweet taste and a hint of coconut rounds out the flavor. If you want them sweeter, simply dust them with powder sugar. Make some hot chocolate and serve these cookies at dessert during your next holiday dinner party.

GALLETAS DE COCO

Yields: 32 cookies
Prep time: 40 minutes (includes refrigeration time)
Bake time: 8 to 10 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 7 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 4 tablespoons of coconut


Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 350F
  2. In a bowl put the flour, baking powder, sugar and butter in cubes - manually mix flour to form crumbs.
  3. Then add the beaten egg, vanilla extract, honey, coconut and knead until the dough is stiff and not sticky. You may need to add more flour for this to happen.
  4. Place in plastic and leave in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Then on to a floured surface, roll the dough with a rolling pin and leave it 8 mm thick or so.
  6. With a cookie cutter, cut shapes of desired size.
  7. Grease and flour a baking sheet and place the figures there.
  8. Place the tray in the oven and cook them for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned.
  9. Remove the tray to a safe area and remove the cookies onto a rack or plate to cool before serving.

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