But back to that sweet food. Many of the food traditions in the South are very sweet and definitely an acquired or you-had-to-have-grown-up-with-it taste. Ambrosia, jello salads, tea cakes, pecan pie (that's PEE-can pie for you non-southerners), coconut cake drenched in syrup AND spackled with sweetened coconut, sweet tea, need I go on? I mean the sweet tea alone is enough to leave an unaccustomed drinker hopped up on sugar going into next week.
Well meet this cookie. Although not technically an authentic southern dessert the components certainly are. Back when Mr. Maricucu and I had been dating I wanted to send him a little something for Valentine's Day. I ruled out flowers since he's a pretty practical guy but I did enlist a local gift basket store to put together a basket full of some yummy goodies like rum cake and some snack salty things. To the basket I added a few geeky office toys and finally a supersized two fisted mug full of these cookies. I had seen the recipe in a magazine but the original used a refrigerated cookie dough. Did he like them? He ate them all and loved them.
Then I dropped the ball and never made them again in the almost ten years we've been married. Doh! So this past January I began to scheme of recreating these with a homemade sugar cookie base to surprise my pragmatic Valentine. I'll warn you though, this is a sugar cookie base which is quite delicious on its own but sweet nonetheless. Add white chocolate chips and dried sweetened coconut and you may as well not mention these to your hygienist. If you enjoy sweet then these pay off but if you want to make the sugar cookies au naturale go for it.
White Chocolate Chip and Coconut Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups white chocolate chips - 1, 12 oz package. If you can, find the chips that actually have cocoa butter listed as one of the first ingredients.
3 cups sweetened, dried coconut
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder and salt then set aside.
Cream sugar and butter until pale and fluffy - about 3 minutes.
Add the egg and vanilla.
Then dump in all the dry ingredients. Stir those in scraping down the bowl about halfway through.
Finally add the white chocolate chips . . .
. . . and the coconut. Stir them in but don't overmix.
If you're the dough eating type this one will be hard to resist. I mean, vanilla, butter and sugar? Come on!
Drop by spoonfuls about 1 1/2" apart onto a parchment lined baking sheet. I've mentioned it before but I heart my cookie scoop. It has a 2 teaspoon capacity and is as great for scooping out consistent cookies as it is for meatballs. If you don't have a cookie scoop I'd say spoon out 1 1/2" balls of dough.
Bake for 10-11 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden brown. There will be a dime sized spot in the middle that doesn't look set but that will finish cooking as the cookies cool.
Mmmm. These are pretty yummy even for me the coconut-I-can-take-it-or-leave-it person. What was the verdict from my husband? Oh he loved them too but did not have a clue about the original batch and inspiration. Either way he's requested we keep this in the repertoire and possibly ditch the white chips (but remember he's my non-chocolate person).