• Asher Cusack

Strawberry Coconut Vanilla Cookies

The very best summer cookie recipe - soft, sweet strawberries, chewy, sweet & salty vanilla cookie, toasty coconut


THE STORY

Summer is coming to an end here in northern England. While the days are still warm and bright, there’s been a certain nip in the air at night. The leaves of the ancient trees overlooking our house have just begun to colour at their tips and the walls and mossy logs have become profuse with the white, gold, and caramel tones of fungi.

In the garden things are a little different. There’s still the distinctive summer smell of tomato plants in the greenhouse, most of which are just beginning to bear their bright green fruit. Outside, the squash flours and the thyme blossoms are still in full swing, with bees and butterflies flitting between them. It’s a bittersweet time. I love autumn, mainly because of the gorgeous food. Pumpkin, cinnamon, and apples abound. It’s truly the best time for a cook in many ways. But bidding goodbye to summer feels difficult as always. Our summers here are fleeting and unpredictable. Sometimes there are only a couple of weeks that really feel like summer at all. We spend them drinking local beer on wooden benches, picnicking on the beach, or travelling to somewhere that has temperatures a little more predictable than ours. This year there’s been little of that, so it’s particularly hard to let go of the long, bright days.

Still, despite the change in the air, I’m trying to stay optimistic. And while the pumpkins are ripening and the apples are turning red, buried under the herb bushes and dying sunflowers, there are still sweet crimson, strawberries to be had.



THE COOKIE

For this recipe I really wanted to capture the fresh flavours of summer in a sweet little bite. I’ve been experimenting with the ideal chocolate chip cookie recipe for a while, and one day while making a large batch for the freezer I separated out some of the dough and added chopped fresh strawberries in place of the dark chocolate chunks. To amplify the summer flavour, and make them easier to differentiate in the oven, I rolled them in a little shredded coconut. What began as a little fun variation soon became a firm favourite. Fresh and still a little warm, or cooled and firm, these cookies are little bites of sunshine. I’ll share that chocolate chip recipe, along with a more autumnal variation, when I’m done gushing over these. Don‘t wait up.



THE RECIPE

Strawberry, Coconut & Vanilla Cookies Dairy free, egg free, vegan.

prep time 25 minutes

cook time 10-15 minutes

total time 40 minutes

servings 12-16 cookies depending on size

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cups plain flour

  • ½ teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ fine sea salt

  • ⅓ cup melted butter (I used a vegan butter)

  • 1 tablespoon milk (I used soy)

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ½ cup light brown sugar (or a mix of white and dark brown)

  • ½ cup strawberries, chopped

  • unsweetened shredded coconut, for rolling

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c/355f

  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

  3. In a separate bowl, beat together the melted butter, vanilla, sugar and strawberries.

  4. Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir until everything is smooth and homogeneous. Don't over mix.

  5. Rest the mix in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. Don't leave it more than half an hour or if you do, let it defrost for a little while before continuing.

  6. Roll the dough into 12-14 balls and roll/toss in the coconut flakes.

  7. Place the balls, with a little space for spreading, onto a lined baking sheet.

  8. Bake for 5 minutes, remove from the oven, then tap the tray on a flat heat proof surface a couple of times to encourage texture and spread.

  9. Return to the oven for 5 minutes and repeat the tapping.

  10. Return to the oven for a final 2-5 minutes, or until the coconut is just beginning to take a tiny bit of colour.

  11. Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes before attempting to remove them from the tray, as they will be very soft.

  12. Enjoy warm or after cooling for a firmer texture.


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