Scandinavian Coconut Cookies with Sea Salt
A wooden spoon and a simple recipe are all it takes to create a memory. “I want to help Mama bake cookies,” he says, coming inside and finding out I’m starting to bake. The butter is melting in the saucepan, the coconut measured. There’s really little else to do. And that’s perfect for this particular early-May evening.
I scoop up my little boy and position him on my hip, holding him up with one arm as I show him how the eggs change properties when beaten with sugar in our cobalt blue stand mixer. He’s too heavy to hold like this for long, but with the addition of a little vanilla extract, the components are soon ready to bring to the counter and mix.
He stands at the counter on a stool eager to help. I begin to stir the butter and coconut into the rest of the ingredients and quickly give in, handing him the wooden spoon. He is big enough to try. I am as ready as I’ll ever be to relinquish control of the process. I watch, hoping for minimal spills, as his little hand clutches the wooden handle. I hold the saucepan still as he concentrates and maneuvers the spoon throughout the coconut, the handle just the right size for an easy grip.
I do the rest of the work, dropping little mounds of dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets while he watches. He is just like his mother and wants to sample the dough before it’s baked. I must be asking a lot, to make him wait until the cookies are done and we have finished our dinner. But soon enough, soon enough, we’re all back in the kitchen–mom, dad, and son–each eating a cookie before bed.
As many excursions, activities, and adventures I’m tempted to fill our days with, I know that moments like these are special. While I teach and nurture healthy eating habits with my son every day, these occasional baking sessions allow us to connect, to take a little time to engage in an activity together and finally to savor the results of what we have made.
My childhood memories are full of moments like this, helping my mom cook and baking alongside my grandma as she indulged my curiosity when I’d find a recipe of interest.
A wooden spoon and an easy recipe. Yes, that’s all it takes to make a memory. May you make some of your own in the coming days too.
Scandinavian Coconut Cookies with Sea Salt
I first wrote about these cookies–adapted from Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine by Marcus Samuelsson–almost four years ago. But I love how quick and easy they are to make and decided to revisit them with the addition of sea salt from semiswede.com. I hope you enjoy making them as much as I do. (Update: Do not use large flake coconut or the bags of moist, sweetened coconut. The flakes should be fairly small and dry.)
2 1/2 cups unsweetened, medium grated or shredded coconut
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Melt butter in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and stir in the coconut until well-coated.
Beat eggs in a separate bowl to combine the yolks and whites. Add sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla extract.
Stir the coconut into the eggs until combined. Drop batter by rounded teaspoons into mounds onto the parchment paper, giving almost an inch between cookie. Flatten slightly using the bottom of a glass or the back of a spoon. Stir the batter occasionally as you work to reincorporate the melted butter. Sprinkle each cookie with just a little sea salt; you want to add just a touch of flavor, otherwise they’ll be too salty. Bake until golden, 8 to 11 minutes depending on the size of the cookie.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Do I need to cool the butter mixture before adding to eggs so the eggs don’t cook before making cookies? Or should I temper it?
Hi Michelle, great question. Since you’ll be removing the butter from the heat before you stir in the coconut, it will cool off adequately by the time you’ve mixed up the eggs. So you don’t need to worry about that at all. Enjoy!
Have you tried using a non dairy butter substitute? I’m wondering if that would work.
Hi Domini, I haven’t tried, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work.
These are wonderful! Have had to use more butter than called for –maybe I just can’t tell that the coconut is coated with the proper amount and am overdoing it–but very easy. Desolated my office coworkers with happiness and deliciousness.
Kurtz, I’m so glad to hear it! Thanks for sharing that with me–it’s always fun to hear when people try the recipes.
Amazing cookies!!! I made these this afternoon with my sons and they have officially declared them our family’s summertime cookie (with your salted chocolate rye cookies taking the cake….er cookie for the winter title)!
Thank you for the memories and the memory making recipe!
Thank you! I wanted a recipe and got a heart felt tear as a bonus.
Help! I made these today and they were an utter disaster! The batter ran into the other cookies (I left plenty of room, it just ran a long way) and then crystallized on the baking sheet and when I tried to lift them onto a cooling rack they just scrunched up into a big sticky mess! What did I do wrong? How “fluffy” are the eggs supposed to get? Should they be stiff or still runny? Mine were about the consistency of heavy cream when I gave up beating them… The only other thing I changed was melting the butter in the microwave instead of on the stove… I had such high hopes!
Carissa, thanks for the comment. I will experiment a bit and see if I can provide some help.
followed this recipe exactly, they turned out so crumbly. Couldnt really eat them
Tania, oh no! I’m sorry to hear they didn’t turn out for you. They’re certainly delicate cookies, but I’ve never had a problem with them being crumbly. If I run into that in the future and come up with a solution I’ll let you know!
I forgot to put butter and they came out a little dry, but still good. I put only 4tbs of sugar instead of 3/4, and they were plenty sweet.
I only had 1 tblsp unsalted butter left, so mixed it with 1 tblsp salted.
Ended up cooking mine longer, about 12/13 min. Probably because I kept checking them to see if they were golden yet 🙂
The first batch was half gone before I got the second batch in the oven. Winner!
I am loving the blog! I am new here in Norway, Ålesund, and looking for some traditional recipe to fall in love with, and your blog seems to have many of them!
I have recently inaugurated a blog for my own, check it out!
Will definitely try these!
I needed to add another cup of coconut in order for the batter to not be a runny mess.
Do you ALWAYS warn guests that you are baking with almond ingredients since there could be deadly consequences? i.e., my adult daughter.
I just thought i would drop you a line and let you know that 6.5 years later my mom found this recipe and sent it to me. We are in the USA, and are strong Norwegian. I had to do a little tweaking for this recipe to work for our diets. The first time i made these i only changed the sugar to Splenda. They turned out FABULOUS. They didn’t look anything like yours but i realized it must be because my coconut was too big. I made them again 2 days later because they were gone already. Even my 3 year old granddaughter loves them. This time I toasted the coconut first and made it smaller. I also used .5t of coconut extract and vanilla extract. Also added just a little bit of almond flour. Just as yummy but now looked more like a cookie. Thank you for this recipe.