Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Coconut Cream Cut Out Cookies

Coconut is one of my favorite things! It's so good! Fresh from the shell, shaped like Santa and covered in chocolate, baked into a pie, rolled into a cookie, you name it, I like it!

I decided a few months ago I was going to make coconut roll out cookies. I wasn't convinced that I had found the right version until I made them for my sister on Easter.  She raved about them and has been calling and texting me daily asking for more.

She's kind of a big deal, in my cookie world, so I trust her opinions ;)

She's cute and she likes cookies. I mean she has tried every single cookie I've ever made in the last 15 years! Good enough for me!

If you've tried my Citrus Vanilla Bean Cut Out Cookies, you'll recognize the base for this recipe. All of my cookies start with the same basic ingredients and measurements.

We're going to start some pretty delicious things :)
The first time I tried the recipe I used regular sweetened flaked coconut. You can buy it at any grocery store in the baking isle. The problem with flaked coconut is that the flakes are really long and they torn up my dough when I cut into it. Not pretty! But the flavor was great!

The next time I tried it I was going to use desiccated coconut. It's very fine, tiny little flakes of unsweetened coconut. Luckily a much wiser cookie friend had already taken that route and informed me it was dry and flavorless in cookies. Not what I wanted.
She suggested I try toasting the coconut first and then adding it to the recipe. It worked great, no torn up cookie edges! But it completely changes the flavor of the cookie. Not in a bad way, still incredible delicious. Just toasted. It adds a different texture as well.

If you stop over in the baking aisle of your favorite store, you'll probably find a few different kinds of coconut. Two I can almost guarantee you'll see are "Sweetened Flaked" and "Sweetened Shredded".
The shredded coconut is cut a little finer than the flaked variety and for this recipe it's my go to coconut!

In addition to changing up my coconut in this recipe, I also used a different fat. I am usually a 100% butter kinda gal. I like it organic and I like it unsalted. There are few things as wonderful as pure, fresh butter.

Coconut oil might be one of those things :)
As soon as you break the seal and catch a scent, you'll understand.

I like to gather everything up and measure it out before I start mixing, that way I don't forget an ingredient or add too much of one.

I start my cutting the butter into smaller pieces to allow it to break down faster. Toss the butter cubes, coconut oil and sugar into your mixer bowl and start it up. Cream together on medium low.

You want the butter, coconut oil and sugar to be very well mixed, no large chunks of any one ingredient should be visible.

Once creamed, scrape the butter and sugar mixture off the sides and back into the bowl before adding the egg and coconut emulsion.
Turn mixer back on to medium and blend until smooth and fluffy.

Grab your pre-measured bowl of dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking powder) and dump it into the bowl.

  • Mix just until mixture forms large crumbs, similar to piecrust. 

Once you get here, stop mixing and add your shredded coconut. If you do it at this stage it still gets incorporated into the dough but doesn't get over mixed.

Once the coconut is added turn the mixer back on medium low and continue to beat until everything is well mixed and the dough starts to come away from the bowl and form a ball around the beater.

Now scoop your dough out of the mixer bowl and roll out onto a lightly floured surface. I like to roll mine out on wax or parchment paper to save cleanup.

Can you see all the little flecks of coconut? Aren't they exciting?! I love coconut :) I may have already told you that...

Once you have the dough rolled to your desired thickness, I usually go with about 1/3 of an inch. They bake up a little thicker leaving me a thick, soft, moist cookie. Mmmmmm my favorite!

Grab up any cutters you plan to use and start cutting into the dough.

Even with the shredded coconut, the little pieces of coconut will still get pulled out of the dough when you cut through. Leaving you with some jagged edges and rough tops. This is nothing compared to the first time I did it with flaked coconut!

They'll still look fine after they bake, and won't be any problem at all if you plan to decorate them.

Take your cut out shapes and place them onto a baking sheet, give them plenty of room as they expand when baking and you don't want them to touch.

Pull them out of the oven when the bottoms are very slightly golden and any little pieces of coconut sticking out look toasted.

These cookies are heavenly straight out of the oven. They are so creamy and moist and packed full of coconut flavor.

Here is the recipe:

Coconut Cream Cut Out Cookies:
Recipe by me :)

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup coconut oil (if you don't have coconut oil you can use all butter, or if you prefer coconut oil you can leave the butter out.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp coconut emulsion or extract (I prefer LorAnn's Bakery Emulsions)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut (try toasting it first if you want to change up the flavor and texture of the cookie)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream butter, coconut oil and sugar until smooth and well blended.
3. Add egg and extract and beat until fluffy.
4. In separate bowl combine flour, salt and baking powder and mix together.
5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in mixer bowl and beat for 30 seconds to a minute until it resembles crumbly pie crust starter.
6. Add coconut and continue to mix until dough forms.
7. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface and cut into desired shapes.
8. Bake for 9-11 minutes until lightly golden on bottoms.
9. Remove from oven and let cookies cool slightly before eating and completely before decorating.

I like them fresh and hot without any decorations. It's like a soft, sweet little bite of coconut shortbread and it melts in your mouth.
But of course, if you are making them for your super cool little sister, you'll want to let them cool and add on some decorations.

I used my Royal Icing recipe to decorate the cookies above, and you can follow the instructions and make some too!

And now the moment you've been waiting for! I mean we're technically all winners when we make these cookies, but one lucky reader has been drawn to win a bunch of prizes from my RI post!

And the winner is....

Congratulations Nicole! You have 48 hours to contact me and I'll get your prizes in the mail! If I don't hear from the winner, I'll draw a new one on Saturday!

For the rest of my wonderful readers, thank you so much for sticking with me! Try this recipe and make some royal icing to go with it!

I'll back soon with another post and there will be plenty more prizes to come!

Flour De Lis

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Icing on the Cookie, Part Three (and a GIVEAWAY)

We did it!! We made it through Icing, Part One and Icing, Part Two! Yay! So happy :D
Now we're getting to the icky, gritty, what-to-do-now stuff!
And I do mean icky!
You know that icky, sludgy, left your icing sit in the bottles for two days (or two weeks) separated goop stage? Yeah, you know the one... It kinda looks like this (on a good day)

The icing has separated into fluffy, airy icing on top, and runny, liquid nightmare on the bottom.


This one time, this other girl I know was making cookies (when she first started out) and she didn't really know what she was doing. She used piping bags, because all the cool kids were using them and she definitely wanted to be a cool kid or at least think she had something in common with the cool kids! She mixed all her icing and bagged it up and planned to decorate the next day. She did not know, that was a bad idea. She did not know that icing separated overnight. And she tried to "massage" it back to a smooth consistency, but she didn't try very hard. Everything went fine at first, a little piping here, a little pipping there. And then out of nowhere, the wrath of the gloopy liquid icing!!! It poured out and ruined my I mean her... Her already less than perfect cookies.  It was a sad, sad day in happy, happy cookie land!
Shortly there after, I discovered bottles and I shared them with my friend! The little, the big, the medium, the fantastic! I have a bunch of different ones, but I primarily use the ones with the interchangeable tips, they come in 2 sizes and you can find them here.

So when your icing separates in the bottles and you still need that icing to continue decorating, because despite what some people think I can't magically produce 4 dozen cookies from start to finish in a few hours. It usually takes a few days. And you're probably going to need to sleep somewhere in between there. And while you are sleeping, the little icing ninjas are breaking your icing down and planning to attack your perfectly good cookie!! I've seen it happen... To my friend.

So here is how to fight back! Grab your bottle, twist off the coupler with the tip still attached.

I normally buy powdered sugar in the 2lb bags and I keep it stored that way so I can grab one bag and whip out a batch of RI without having to measure it. But I also keep a big glass jar of it in my work area for this.

This is just regular, straight out of the bag, unsifted powdered sugar. But if yours has been sitting out for a while and exposed to air or moisture and has a serious case of the clumpy you may want to sift if just so you don't spend 10 minutes trying to break the clumps down in the icing.

Grab a teaspoon or a small scoop, whatever you have on hand that isn't too much larger then the bottle opening.

Take a spoonful and pour it right down into the bottle, I try to do this part over a kitchen towel or the sink so I don't have powdered sugar everywhere.

Ooooooh, ahhhhhh look at that weird, giant hand...

Okay now for the best part, *squee* the super, awesome best part! Grab your chopstick!!

And stick it right down into the bottle! Swirl and swirl and swirl that little magic stick around in your bottle (if you close your eyes you might hear the music see the scene from Fantasia where the little flowers are dancing around it the glen... I do...)

Just a few seconds of swirling and you'll be done! Pull the chopstick out wiping the excess icing off on the bottle opening as you pull it out so you don't waste any.

Now chopsticks have two ends (duh), one is skinny and one is chubby. The skinny end is rounded and the chubby end is squarish (on some, some are still round just larger). When my icing has separated and I have to completely remix it I use the skinny end. The small round tip gets down and swirls all around the bottom of the bottle making sure everything is mixed up and there are no pockets of goop.

You may remember from Icing, Part Two that I only have one consistency of icing. I don't mix up flood and piping in each color. I start with thick flood icing (15-20 seconds) and do whatever I need to do with it, usually outline and fill the cookie before I add details. Once I've done that to all the cookies I use this same technique to thicken my icing for details. It's already the right color so I don't have to make a separate batch for a different purpose.  I use what I have and adjust it to fit what I am doing.

But your icing doesn't have to separate to be fixed :) for this I use the chubby side of the chopstick. I just pour in a little powdered sugar, stick the chubby chopstick into the bottle and swirl it around for a few seconds. The chubby end mashes the powdered sugar up a little faster, and since the icing is already one consistency and I don't have to worry about the aforementioned pockets of goop I want easy and fast!

This picture was literally taken about 20-30 seconds after adding the icing in the picture above. It really doesn't take any time at all to swirl the chopstick around and completely transform your icing!

You can't do that with an icing bag, so matter how hard you try! You can massage the bags and try to get the it back to one consistency, but if you've worked with icing a lot you know that it thins out overnight anyway. If you prepare a batch of thick detail icing and wait until the next day to use it, it's gonna be too thin already, the meringue powder breaks down and will need to be rewhipped to get back to the thick, fluffy consistency you had it at the day before.

So now that your icing is back in shape, you're ready to go!  If your bottles have been sitting around for a few days, the icing in the tip and in the coupler is probably a little dry and crusty and you don't want it to come off and clog up your tip so you will want to toss your coupler and tip into your tip jar and grab a fresh set.
 If you were just using the icing for filling and now you are detailing the coupler will be fine, but you'll likely want a smaller tip for the detailed work. I usually "flood" with a Wilton #3 or Ateco #2 and detail with anything from a Wilton #2 down to a PME 00.

The separation doesn't just happen in bottles and bags, any leftover icing will still separate in the mixing bowl. But this isn't hard to deal with. You wont need the chopstick for this part, you can just grab your little flat spatula.

Plop down some powdered sugar and mix away! You can add more or less depending on how thick you want. If you add too much sugar, give it a few sprays with your water bottle and mix it some more.

Powdered sugar is awesome. It's like duct tape for icing. It fixes everything! Unless you add too much and then water is like duct tape for icing ;) So maybe not the best analogy, but I hope you understand what I am saying. Powdered sugar is your friend!

Just a few seconds of mixing and you're back in business!
Now when you are thickening your icing your don't have to worry much about the resting processing we discussed in Icing, Part Two. Thick icing tends to not only have fewer air bubbles, but they are less noticeable, much less likely to leave craters. But when you thin your icing, you're whipping water and air back into it, resulting in lots of air bubbles.
So rest the icing when you thin, use it right away when you thicken! A good rule to follow to save yourself time and tears.

Chopsticks are also great for drying out your bottles! I wash them and grab a piece of paper towel and use the chopstick to push the towel into the bottle and swirl it around to dry the inside. If you only have a few bottles and need to clean them out right away for a new color that really makes a difference.

And if you have a half used bottle of pale pink icing and you want a bright pink icing, add a few drops of food color to the bottle and use the chopstick to mix it up. You'll have to mix a lot longer than when adding sugar to make sure the color is evenly dispersed, but it works great!

I also use chopsticks for cooking just about everything, they flip and turn and stir and help me reach the big bottles of spices on the shelf that is way above my head!

Chopsticks are the coolest!! And now you know why I love them and bottles so much! I have saved a ton of time and have way less wasted icing this way.

If this was a class I'd have a big stack of certificates to give away right now! You are now THREE steps closer to being a RI master! But I didn't have time to print off a bunch of certificates and none of you paid your class fees on time anyway, so instead I am going to give one lucky reader all the great tools I used here and a few more fun things to play with!

One fabulous, deeply appreciated reader will receive everything pictured here!

  • 1, 16oz bag of CK meringue powder
  • 1, 8 piece (4 bowls, 4 lids) set of KitchenAid prep bowls, White
  • 2 small flat spatulas
  • 2 pack of rubber spatulas
  • 2 pack of CK 2 oz squeeze bottles
  • 1, 4 oz  bottle of Tahitian Vanilla extract
  • 1 super cute new apron with riffles and pockets and pretty flowers (I have a matching one, so we'll be twins :D) and
  • 4 shiny, new chopsticks of your very own!!!

Here is HOW TO ENTER:  Giveaway CLOSED! Winner has been announced!

Required Entry: Become a fan of Flour De Lis. Either on BloggerFacebookTwitter, or Pinterest, and leave a comment here letting me know you are a fan.

For one extra entry:
Share a link to this giveaway on your favorite site, you can pin it, tweet it, post it or even share it on your blog if you want! But you must leave a comment letting me know that you did.

Thats it, that's all! Enter only twice per person. Open to US and international fans. Winner will be chosen from all eligible comments using Contest ends on Tuesday May 29th and winner will be announced Wednesday May 30th! 

Thank you all so much for reading and enjoy the holiday weekend!

Flour De Lis

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Icing on the Cookie, Part Two

Okay, so we made it through the mixing process. If you have a big bowl of shiny white icing, pat yourself on the back! If you haven't started it's okay, just pop over here and check out my quick tutorial and recipe The Icing on the Cookie, Part One, I'll wait for you :)

For me, once the icing is whipped up, I can relax. When I first started, that was always the scariest part. I never knew if I was going to over-beat it, under-beat it, add too much corn syrup or otherwise mess it up and waste costly ingredients!
If you are thinking the same thing, it's okay. You're just gonna have to take the leap and see what happens! I can honestly tell you, I've never messed up bad enough to toss it!

Part two of this series is going to focus on mixing and coloring icing. I think this is the most time consuming part of the whole cookie operation! It takes lots of practice and lots of patience. But if you do it right here, there is less work in the decorating stage. Fewer mistakes, fewer air bubbles and that means time saved in the long run!

Here are the things you'll find most helpful for this part of the process. You don't need to have exactly what I have, as long as you have a set of bowls or any container, really. Some good spatulas, smaller ones are best and chopsticks! I am kind of obsessed with spatulas and chopsticks ;) everyone should own a few good spatulas and a nice set of chopsticks!

Those nesting bowls are made by KitchenAid, they come 4 bowls and 4 lids to a set. I have 3 or 4 sets of them. They range in size from 1 cup to 4 cups and are really great f mixing and storing icing. You can find them here. I have seen them frequently at TJ Maxx/Home Goods and I think Target may carry them too.

You can use any bowls or cups you already have on hand, but I like to have these as designated icing bowls. The lids make it easy to place a piece of plastic wrap over top and snap it shut to store and I don't worry about cross contamination because icing is the only thing that has ever been in them.

Now for spatulas, I have many different one and each has a purpose. I have a ton of the larger ones that I use for scraping the sides of the mixer when I make cookie dough and icing. I also use the large ones to scoop the icing into the smaller bowls for coloring. I bought a ton of the smaller spatulas and actually don't use them often. So I gave most of them away ;) Now I use the little rounded ones almost exclusively for mixing and coloring icing, and I'll show you why!

If you are like me and prefer bottles to bags when it comes to cookie decorating, you may already know that chopsticks are the most important tool you can have! I have a couple sets of the cheap plastic ones and mostly use them for icing. We have other "fancy" ones we use for eating, but occasionally have so many people over they have to use the plastic ones too.

If you're icing is prepped and you are ready to go, grab your tools!

The first thing I do is scoop out as much icing as I think I'll need for a particular color, for the set of cookies I am working on.
It's hard to get this part down, the last thing you want is to mix too little and have to try and match that color when you run out!

I use my big, (standard size) rubber spatula to scoop icing from the big bowl and put into the little mixing bowls. This big spatula stays he designated "naked icing scoop". But keep it tucked into the bowl and covered when you aren't using it or it will get dry and crusty.

I like to grab a clean cookie sheet and place the bowls on it. So I can move it around if I need to and once I am done I can place the whole tray in the fridge until I am ready to decorate.

I do one color at a time so the icing doesn't dry out while I work.

This little spray bottle changed. my. life. Seriously! I wouldn't trade my chopsticks for it, but it's still a great tool! One of the best cookie tips I've learned so far.

Royal Icing straight out of the mixer is very thick and very stiff, too much to actually decorate with. It always needs to be thinned down the way I make it. So I squeeze the trigger a few times and dust the icing with tiny water droplets,  this really reduces the air bubbles in the icing.

You can add your food coloring first if you want and then spray on the water. I don't think it matters just be careful when you spray so the food color doesn't spray out.
You'll have to spray a few times depending on how much icing you are color in each batch.

Spray and stir and spray an stir and scrape the sides until you get a nice homogeneous color. No white streaks and no color streaks.

These little rounded spatulas are great for mixing in small containers, the curved edge on all sides really hugs the sides of the bowl and helps mix everything.
Once I get my color all mixed in and the consistency is where I want it (usually 15 seconds)
I cover the bowl with a moist paper towel and move onto the next color. I do this until all the colors I will need are mixed.

At this point I make my cookie dough and leave the icing to "rest".  If I have a ton of cookies to make or other plans between baking and decorating I cover all the bowls with a damp kitchen towel and place the whole tray into the refrigerator.  It's perfectly fine to leave it on the counter, especially if your fridge is full or has several freshly cut onions of blue cheese in there ;)

If your cookies are ready to go at this point, I just let the icing sit for about 5-10 minutes. And when you remove the towel, you should see something like this,

Some big air bubbles! You may have more or fewer depending on how thick your icing is. Letting the icing rest with the damp towel draws all the bubble to the surface and this makes life much easier! Air bubbles are my nemesis!

I like to pick the bowl up and drop it a few inches, maybe a foot back onto the counter, all the exposed air bubbles will pop when you do this. Similar to when you are making a cake and drop the pan with the batter a few times to get the large air bubbles out and have a smoother, more even cake.

Now your icing should look relatively bubble free when you stick the spatula in. I use the small rounded ones for this too. And now I am sharing why I love these little guys so much!!

Do you see?!?! They are the same width as the little icing bottles!! I run the spatula around the edges of the bowl and scoop it up onto the top, flat side of the spatula and let it flow into the bottle, when it's mostly in I scape the spatula down the opening of the bottle and all the remaining icing goes right it! No mess! I don't usually even get any on the rim of the bottle!

It only takes about two scoops to fill up the little bottles. If you are interested in buying them, you can find them on most supply sites, but I usually order them from or Karens Cookies

These bottles come with the coupler and a plastic tip. I always replace the plastic tip with a metal one in whatever size I need for the cookie I am working on. I haven't thrown the plastic ones away though, I don't know what to do with them, but I don't want to waste them either!!

I pretty much only have one consistency of icing. I start with 15-20 seconds and us it for all my flooding. 
I know you're wondering what happens with the chopsticks?! Right? Why did she bring them up 40 times if she wasn't even going to use them?!? 
I know... But It's coming! Don't worry :)

Thanks so much for reading!! I'll be back with part three soon and hopefully when we're done you'll be an RI pro! 

Flour De Lis

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Icing on The Cookie, Part One

I wanted to do a quick post about how I make Royal Icing (RI) for my decorated cookies. I had planned to do a video tut, but allergy season is in full swing and I am just not thinking it would go very well.

So instead I put together a little pictorial, it's going to be three separate posts to get it all in there, so I hope you stick around! I am trying to answer some frequently asked questions and makes it easier your you to troubleshoot any icing issues you have.

The first entry in this series is my actual recipe and the steps to making perfect RI! I think it's perfect :)

Grab your mixer and lets get started!

Start with a shiny, clean bowl.

Measure and add 6 ounces of warm water and 6 TBSP meringue powder. 6-6, easy right?!

For the first step I always use a hand whisk because I think it beats the water and meringue much better than the beater attachment. It gets down and dirty in the bottom of the bowl!
Take the whisk and beat the water and meringue several times until it gets frothy and bubbly and looks like this

Next add 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and whisk again until well blended. I think it looks a little thicker an creamier after the cream of tartar is added, but it could totally be my imagination.

Once you beat the tartar in, dump your 2lb bag of powdered sugar right into the bowl! No need to sift, I used to do that every single time and I don't notice any difference now.

You can use the whisk attachment or the beater blade, again I have used both and don't see any difference.
Start your mixer and let it go for about 1 minute on low speed just to incorporate the sugar into the frothy goodness.

You don't need full incorporation at this point, just enough to get everything moist.

Now I add 1-2 TBSP each of corn syrup and vanilla extract. 2 gives it more of a shine and a better flavor in my opinion.

Beat again for a minute on low speed until the vanilla is gone from sight.

Most of the lumps will be gone at this point and you'll have a smooth, thick syrup consistency. 

See all that froth and sugar on the sides of the bowl? I don't like that... I think it makes the icing grainy and leaves lumps that clog my tips, so at this point I grab my little spray bottle, fill it with warm water and spray the sides.
Turn the mixer back on, on medium high speed, you can spray the sides again if needed while the mixer is running. Now all the stuff is back in the bowl where it belongs and side are clean!

Let it run for 5-6 minutes until the icing is doubled in volume and looks like this

You want stiff, fluffy peaks to form when you pull the beater away from the icing.

Now I scoop it out of the mixer bowl and put it in a big (2 quart) glass measuring cup. Just to store it and free up my mixer bowl for cookie dough ;)

Doesn't it look pretty?!? At this point you can just cover it with a damp kitchen towel and save it for later. I usually make my icing first, and set it aside while I make my cookie dough!

Here is the recipe:

Vanilla Royal Icing
Adapted from SugarDeaux

  • 6 oz warm water
  • 6 TBSP meringue powder
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar (approx 6-7 cups)
  • 1-2 TSBP vanilla
  • 1-2 TBSP light corn syrup

  1. In mixer bowl, whisk water and meringue powder together.
  2. Add cream of tartar and whisk again until frothy.
  3. Add powdered sugar and beat until slightly incorporated.
  4. Add vanilla and corn syrup and beat for 5-6 minutes until thick and smooth.
  5. Store tightly covered.

Thanks so much for stopping by and don't forget to check back tomorrow for part two!

Flour De Lis