Monday, May 21, 2007

Mondays with Maida - Coconut Washboards

Page 223 in the old book / page 249 in the new book

OK, here we go with my big coconut dilemma again. A conundrum that is only aggravated by the fact that I currently possess four different kinds of coconut, all of which must eventually be used up. Ideally I would try each kind of coconut in each recipe, but I'm afraid for now it's going to be try one and see how it turns out...

I made this week's Coconut Washboards with the unsweetened, dessicated coconut. This time, I did not rehydrate the coconut and I measured it by weight. The cookies turned out very crunchy - which was how I envisioned them (for me, that name conjures up an image of a store-bought cookie from my past), but a little different from the semisoft cookie described in the recipe notes.

The other difference I noticed was that the dough was easy to handle. In fact, I didn't need to chill the dough before shaping. Each portion of dough is first rolled into a sausage shape, then flattened, then pressed with a fork. It takes a little time, but is easy and nearly foolproof.

I thought the cookies were very good, but I'm curious to try the recipe again using sweetened, shredded coconut, which I expect would produce a cookie closer to the semisoft cookie Maida describes. Here's the panel...

Suzanne: "This was a plain-looking, rectangular shaped, big (but not thick) cookie. Even though it was plain-looking, the taste was anything but plain. I love the crunch of the cookie and the coconut, buttery taste. It tasted great with my morning coffee. Rating - 4.0"

Laura: "Crunchy and yummy - not too sweet - just right! I would have liked just a tad more coconut, but overall a very delish cookie. Rating - 4.0"

Denny: "These were good. I liked the crunch and the coconut taste. Minus one for no chocolate makes them a 2.0. Rating - 2.0"

Terri: "If you like the combination of coconut and crunchiness, this is the cookie for you! I particularly like coconut and found this cookie had just right amount... not as much as a macaroon. Also, a nice size cookie since it's rectangular in shape - with ridges like a washboard. Rating - 3.5"

Overall rating by the panel - 3.4

Next week - Coconut Pennies

Nutrition Facts


rowena said...

Crunchy is the word! And I appreciate what the panel had to say although the one thing that caught my eye from the beginning was the name of the cookies! Washboards! That brought back such fond memories of my grandmother and the days that she did laundry the old-fashioned way.

Please do an update when you try this with sweetened, shredded coconut.

mari said...

I personally prefer the unsweetened coconut; it adds a more subtle taste to the cookie. I also prefer crunchy cookies (except when the cookie is a choco-chip). Like Rowena, I think the name of the cookies is great. Have a great week!

Cathy said...

Hi Rowena! It is the word, isn't it - I just reread all the comments from the cookie panel and I see they were in complete agreement on that point! The whole coconut question gets even more interesting next week - I used the shredded sweetened coconut in a cookie that's supposed to be crunchy and it came out chewy!

Hi Mari! I usually prefer chewy cookies, but I really liked this one crunchy. I like the name of these as well, but they remind me of an old-timey cookie rather than an old-timey laundry tool! :) Thanks - you have a good week too!

Mindy said...

Oh, I have been anxiously awaiting your review of these since last week when I saw you were making these this week. There was a recipe for coconut washboards in an issue of Cook's Country a few years ago that I swooned over and never made, so I really need to make both recipes soon. Yours look even better than the ones in the Cook's Country (it's true...I just looked). Once I get moved and get settled, I plan to try these. They've moved up to the top of my must-bake list. (By the way, I really like your blog.)

Nupur said...

Cathy, they remind me a cookie from my childhood too, an Indian "biscuit" called "Nice"...crunchy with coconut! I can almost taste them :)
Yours looks beautiful and absolutely perfect, as always.

Hendria said...

These look good as well. I have bought the Maida Heathter's Book of Great Cookies when I found your site.
Yesterday I made Peanut Butter Pillows and Fudge Mallows. What a great idea to take a cookbook and make everything from it and let people know. I will be adding this one to my list.
Hope you had a great weekend.

Cathy said...

Hi Nupur - thanks so much! What a great name for a cookie!

Hi Hendria - thank you as well! Glad to hear you're enjoying the book. I remember I really liked the Peanut Butter Pillows but that they were huge!

Leigh said...

Oh dear, what a mistake. I'm visiting you right before lunchtime. Now after looking at those cookies I don't want anything healthy to eat, I want some coconut washboards! Have you done a visual / taste comparison post featuring your different types of coconut? I like the unsweetened best, but sometimes it isn't easy to find.

Amy said...

I had no idea there were so many kind of coconut until I read this yesterday. I only remembered sweetened coconut in a bag on the baking aisle. But today I went to a gourmet store and... wow... I am confused. But I bought some and want to try to get the crunchy cookies. We shall see!

Cathy said...

Hi Leigh! What a great idea - I think I'll plan on doing that. In fact, since the coconut gets stirred in last thing, maybe I'll divide up a batch and try all the different coconuts in this recipe. For the longest time I couldn't find the unsweetened dessicated coconut, but now it seems to be readily available in the Bob's Red Mill display. In fact, it may have been there right along - it's just that I was looking where the other coconut was.

Hi Amy! If you're trying this recipe with the unsweetened coconut, I think you shouldn't have any trouble getting crunchy cookies. If I recall, I baked the cookies for the time specified or maybe even a little less. The key is to watch the color - as Maida says, you want them to be golden brown all over.

Amy said...

Cathy, I made them today with unsweetend coconut. Love them. Mine must be a little too large, because I got 18, not 24, but I was confused by "heaping teaspoonful" because those were clearly not large enough. No worries, it all worked out in the end. Your tine marks look prettier than mine do!

Cathy said...

Hi Amy! I'm so glad you enjoyed the cookies! I'm planning to make them again soon myself - but more in the way of an experiment. You'll see... :)

If you have a scale, that is really handy for figuring out how big one cookie should be (weigh all the dough and then divide by the number of cookies the recipe is supposed to make, then you can weigh out a sample cookie to see how big each should be). I find that the descriptions of how much dough to use for a cookie are really confusing.

I used that old fork you see in the picture above for making fork marks in cookies - in fact that's all I use that fork for! I got the fork in an antique store years ago for $2 and I'd say I got my money's worth!

Anonymous said...

Looks delicious.😛