I decided to start my blog-baking misadventures with a new recipe. Baking the same tried and true blueberry muffin felt decidedly underachieving and pedestrian. So my plan is to exclusively write about my experiences with new recipes. Not that they will be complicated, advanced, or require mad baking skills, I just enjoy the unknown element and risk that a new recipe provides. It’s the best possible ingredient for a good story, and I’m all about a good story.
I went spelunking in my cookbooks for a trailblazing contender and settled on the very old-timey Coconut Washboard Cookie. It’s simplicity beckoned to me, and I liked the idea that a beginning baker could follow along. Also, I just couldn’t get enough coconut recently, so I figured that this was a triple win.
Spoiler alert: It wasn’t.
The steps were basic. Hornsby Nicklesworth, my trusty baking sidekick, supervised. Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, water, vanilla extract. (I added coconut extract to the dough, because there was OBVIOUSLY a misprint and they left it out. It’s okay, these things happen.) Combine the dry ingredients in separate bowl and then mix into wet goop. Fold in the coconut. Done. Easy peasey.
The next part instructed me to chill the dough for 2-4 hours before forming into 1 inch balls. I tried a shortcut. I stuffed the bowl of cookie dough in the freezer for about an hour. You can’t always do a fridge/freezer swap out as it will change the consistency of the dough. But we weren’t dealing with phyllo or sugar work here, so I risked it and it was fine.
While it was freezing I took a shower and got the bits of flour and sugar out of my hair. I’m not sure how I get so much cookie dough on me when I bake, but I am always part of the art project. I’d also like to interject here that if your kitchen doesn’t look like a bomb’s gone off when you are done baking–then you have clearly done something wrong. Just sayin’. All this snappy-snap stuff you see on social media is a LIE! Those warp-speed cooking videos are to baking/cooking, what airbrushing is to models. I vow you will only ever see my authentically blown-up kitchen in this blog.
After the dough was chilled and I was de-floured (ha), I formed the cookies into 1 inch balls, then shaped them into little planks, and the flattened them with a fork to give it the ‘washboard’ look. This was stupid. By the last batch I skipped the molding step and just smashed them with forks–realizing I had unintentionally given them the traditional peanut butter cookie branding.
These poor cookies have some deep-seeded, identity issues.
So how did it measure up? The dough tasted GREAT! Stop there. Eat the dough and don’t even bother baking them, because they were only okay-ish.
The coconut flavor came through very light, even with the addition of the 1 tsp of coconut extract that I added to the dough. It would have been nearly undetectable without it. Unlike nearly every cookie ever baked in the history of cookiehood, these guys actually tasted better a little on the overbaked side. They need to be a crunchy as possible without being burned.
They were NOT tasty warm. I felt like I was biting into a warm sponge–it was eerie how reminiscent the coconut tasted of Dawn. How a cookie could taste so different at temperatures was really interesting. So, yeah, strongly suggest enjoying these ‘delicacies’ at room temperature.
So I guess if I were rating them on a 5 star scale, I’d give them about a 2.5. My husband liked them; he appreciated the fact that they weren’t overly sweet, and he liked eating them with his coffee. I think I could be prevailed upon to make them again with a few tweaks. I would toast the coconut to enhance the flavor, as well as add a bit more extract. I wouldn’t bother chilling the dough, and I might sprinkle them with cane sugar before I pop them in the oven to bake. But honestly, I think I’ll just look for something else with coconut if a get a hankering. Too many recipes and not enough time.