Have I ever told you the story about that time a bible fell on my face?
We used to live in this little house in Waverley. It was only three blocks from our cousin's place(!) and only a ten(!) minute(!) walk(!) to Bronte(!) beach(!). It was a house with a big rolling lawn (well it was big when I was about four years old so not sure how watertight that memory is), absolutely perfect for a slip'n'slide. It was the house of fairy dress-up parties, Women's Weekly birthday cakes and Pippy Long-stocking on VHS.
On my birthday one year, it must have been my fifth, my auntie Sarah gave me a giant (again, might not be so giant in hindsight) children's bible, complete with gorgeous illustrations and a nice thick ribbon bookmark. I tucked the book into the bookshelf above my bed-head and then tucked my little self into bed. I woke up in the morning and was just lying there... as you do... AND THE BIBLE FELL OFF THE SHELF AND ONTO MY FACE!
Just out of the blue, nothing else fell, just the bible. Can you think of anything else more freaky? I can't.
I must have left it overhanging or something but wow. Gives bible bashing a whole new meaning.
Well these biscuits are something like that, they also kind of slap you over the head, but instead of using religious literature, they use butter. Gorgeous, lightly salted butter.
The coconut mellows out quite a lot in the oven, when I make these again I think I will add half a teaspoon of coconut essence or oil just to give it a little boost. But they are still full of crumbly butter goodness without it. I swapped half the caster sugar for brown sugar to give it a more caramel flavour and it worked a treat. These are perfect for Christmas gifts (I know I'm pushing it saying this on Christmas eve eve, but just in case you're still stuck for something to give away, try these)
Merry Christmas everyone!
Toasted Coconut Shortbread
adapted from smittenkitchen.com
makes approx. four dozen biscuits
1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
340g lightly salted butter, room temperature (seems a lot but it is shortbread, it might as well be called butterbread, use the best you can find)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
2 2/3 cups plain flour
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c.
Spread the coconut evenly onto a parchment-lined baking tray and bake in the oven for about 8 minutes or until lightly golden brown (make sure you watch it, it can burn very easily). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugars together in a large bowl until smooth and combined. Add the vanilla and salt and mix again. Beat half the flour into the mixture at a time, mixing well after each addition. Fold in the coconut with a wooden spoon until evenly distributed throughout the dough. Bring the dough together with your hands, form into a thick disk, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees again.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out half the dough at a time to about 2cm thickness and cut out your favourite shape using a cookie cutter. Place the cookies onto a parchment-lined baking tray spaced about 2 cm apart. When all your cookies are cut, bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. You don't want to bake them too long or they will become dry. They harden a lot after removing them from the oven.
Cool on baking sheets for five minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack for half an hour until completely cooled. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week (if they last that long!)