Joy the Baker

Crispy Toasted Coconut Cookies

August 13, 2008

Happy isn’t hard for me.  I might even take happy for granted.  I wake up in the morning and I’m genuinely stoked about the possibilities the day brings.  I have thoughts that make me smile when I’m sitting alone in my car.  I like rainbows and kittens, well… you get my point.

Today I shared a meal with a dear friend who isn’t so blessed in the happy department.  She’s been struggling in recent months.  She’s lost her happy.  After dinner, as we sat lingering in conversation, she told me that she couldn’t think of one thing that made her happy anymore.  I was totally floored.  I didn’t know what to say to her.  In vain I tried to name things and places that I knew she liked.  None of it worked, she just shook her head no.  It breaks my heart, but I know that I could recall fun things we’d done together until I was blue in the face.  Her happiness needs to come from the inside.

It got me thinking about happy.

What makes you happy?  What thoughts make you smile when no one else is around?  What makes you happy to get out of bed in the morning?  Share.  I want to know.

On my list of the many things things that make me happy:  Crispy Toasted Coconut Cookies.

If happy has been elusive lately, give these buttery and crispy cookies a spin.  Who knows, they might just be the break in the clouds.

Crispy Toasted Coconut Cookies

adapted from Big Fat Cookies

Print this Recipe!

1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Position a rack in the middle of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Spread the coconut on a baking sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes stirring once, until the coconut becomes evenly golden.  Watch carefully, as the coconut can darken quickly toward the end of baking.  Set aside to cool.  Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing.  Add the egg, vanilla and almond extract and mix until blended.  On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.  Use a large spoon to stir in the toasted coconut.

Divide the dough into two portions and pat into a flat rectangle.  Cut two large sheets of wax paper, and roll out the portions of dough between the wax paper into a 7 x 12-inch rectangle, about 1/4-inch thick.  Remove the top piece of wax paper.  I used a round cookie cutter to make cookies, but you can also trim the edges of the rectangle and make rectangular cookies by cutting the dough into 9 rectangles.

Lift the cookies off the wax paper and transfer to the parchment lined baking sheet.  If you have trouble lifting the dough, place it in the fridge for a few minutes to harden and then transfer to a baking sheet.  Bake one sheet at a time until the edges and bottoms are lightly browned, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Enjoy!  Find your happy!


52 Comments Add A Comment

  • I completely understand what your friend is going through as I often struggle with depression. I live by myself far away from everyone I know, it’s very lonely.

    But the things that make me happy? My dogs and my cat. Waking up to them makes me smile as they are always excited to greet the day. Trying new recipes and sitting down to enjoy them with a glass of wine and a good cook with my dogs curled up next to me. Finding a new bike route that is more challenging than my previous ones and pushing through it.

    I think the cookies will help too!

  • Wow. Well, I can understand why these lovely cookies would make you happy. Makes me want to try making them with agave just looking at them. ;D

    I can understand the loss of happy. I’ve been struggling a bit in that department myself lately (scary mammogram results, biopsies to come, etc.). However, baking and cooking always make me feel like a human being again.

    Thanks for the post.

  • These look wonderful. Good, simple ingredients!

  • I recently came across your site. Great blog! I’ve added you to my blog.

  • What makes me happy? Pajamas, memories of my grandparents, baking, driving, singing along with the radio, coffee, my boyfriend, Sunday mornings … I think I could go on and on!

  • oh…it sounds like your poor friend may have more than just lost her happiness. it sounds like she has clinical depression, which is characterized by anhedonia – the inability to feel happiness and joy with the experiences that used to make you happy. nothing, not food, not activities, not people, nothing makes you happy. if you think it is appropriate, you might suggest that she see a doctor. sometimes it’s just an issue with the thyroid. bless her heart.

  • Oh, and having my students pick up on the whole recycling thing…that REALLY makes me happy!!!

  • Mornings – I love mornings. Waking up super early and immediately having that first cup of coffee to get the day started…that makes me happy. Baking just calms me down and mellows me out, but having my cake-hating husband tell me a cake was delicious…that makes me happy. Weddings definitely make me happy. I don’t even have to know the people, but the wedding and the cake and the food…ahhhhh, happy.

    Unfortunately, I’m at a terrible loss of happy moments right now because teaching, even only for one week so far, has been quite a challenge. It will get better. Yesterday was actually a good day. Maybe I should bake some cookies…

  • Staying home on a Friday night with my DBF. Baking and cooking. Midsummer nights in Northern Europe. The first day of the year that I can ride my bicycle bare-legged. The smell of a new babies head…just to name a few.

    I’m pretty sure your coconut cookies will soon be added to that long list!

  • Yeah, I could go for some of those right about now. They would make my tummy happy.

  • The smell of clean sheets…and a nice afternoon nap on them. A new cookbook for me to inhale. Sitting on my new back patio drinking strawberry lemonade and staring at my new little herb garden. Watching my husband sleep(I am always in awe as he can sleep anywhere). Rainy(good thing I live in the Seattle area)afternoons that are chilly enough to be under a blanket and have some hot tea.
    I could go on, I am a pretty happy person.

  • I hope your friends finds her happy soon… I think I’m easy on the happy department, pass me an ice-cream, give me a hug and I’ll be the happiest person arround. Having people eat what I bake and care packages also bring great happiness!
    Beautiful cookies!

  • hmmm… FUNNY you made coconut cookies tonight- ME TOO! Except mine were chewy oatmeal coconut and they did wonders in the happiness department.
    You’re poor friend- I’m in limbo right now trying to figure out if I’m happy or pissed…(I wish I could – rainbows, like your friend said ;) )
    BUT- watching the USA olympians achieve their goals-dope free, not lying about their age, talking crap on other teams etc etc… I LOVE IT! Watching my little girls interact with each other, giggles, a smile from a random male driver (even though I’m married), and the knowledge that things change- even if it feels like forever, in the grand scheme of things, its a drop in the bucket, so the hope that whatever crap will fly by keeps me going. Tell you’re friend to hold on… much love!

  • Cookies definitely make me happy, especially coconut ones. My family makes me happy, a good cup of coffee, driving with the windows down and singing, reading, cooking and baking!
    Maybe she could take a vacation. Vacation and a little rest can do wonders.

  • LOVE the pics in this post. Don’t you just LOVE it when you get your happy on??

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