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Buttery and Crispy Coconut Cookies

Incredibly quick and easy to make, these buttery and crispy coconut cookies are the perfect accompaniment to your coffee, to bring as a snack while hiking, or even in your Christmas cookie box! They are versatile with a hint of coconut and vanilla, and an addictively tender and buttery texture.

 

Crispy coconut cookies in a wooden box, seen from above.

 

These little goodies are inspired by the Norwegian Gjende-kjeks. Gjende cookies are very popular here in Norway, I guess because of their simplicity and versatility.

 

For more treats like that, I'd recommend Norwegian krumkake, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, or soft cinnamon and banana snickerdoodles.

 

Coconut shortbread cookies on a round cooling rack.

 

Ingredients

 

To make crispy coconut cookies you'll need:

 

  • Flour: Providing structure and stability to the cookies, ensuring they hold their shape while baking.
  • Butter: Adding richness and flavor to the cookies, contributing to their crispy texture.
  • Egg yolk: Provides fat and makes the cookie dough smoother and the end product more tender. If you want a crisper cookie, you may want to exclude the egg yolk.
  • Desiccated coconut: Infusing the cookies with their distinct tropical flavor and crunchy texture.
  • Sugar: Providing sweetness and caramelization, enhancing the overall taste of the cookies.
  • Baking powder: Acting as a leavening agent, helping the cookies rise and achieve their crispy texture.
  • Vanilla extract: Adding a subtle depth of flavor and aroma to the cookies, complementing the coconut.
  • Salt: Salt enhances the flavors and should never be omitted.
  • Coconut extract/coconut emulsion (optional): If you want to kick up the coconut flavor even more!

 

Ingredients to make coconut cookies.

 

Instructions

 

In a food processor or spice grinder, grind the desiccated coconut for a couple of seconds until it resembles coarse sand (1). It's an optional step, but I think it makes for a more enjoyable texture as it blends the coconut flavor better into the dough.

 

Mix the dry ingredients: Coconut, flour, baking powder, and salt (2).

 

In a mixing bowl, cream together softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy (3-4). This will take a couple of minutes on medium-high speed.

 

Add vanilla extract (and coconut emulsion if using) and the egg yolk and mix well (5-6).

 

Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients in batches. On low speed, mix until just combined (7-8). It's important not to overmix or else you can end up with tough cookies.

 

Steps to makes the cookie dough.

 

The dough looks really dry at first, so you need to knead the dough a little with your hands to combine well (9-10).

 

You can now choose to either shape the dough into a roll, or you can shape it into a flat disc (11). Cover in plastic foil and let it chill in the refrigerator for an hour or up to 48 hours.

 

Steps to knead the cookie dough.

 

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350℉ (180℃). Take the dough out of the refrigerator and depending on which shape you chose do the following:

 

  1. Shaped it like a roll: Cut into ½ cm or a ¼ inch and place on a lined baking sheet (12 + 14).
  2. Shaped like a flat disc: On a floured surface, carefully roll the dough into it's about ½ cm or ¼ inch thick (13). You may need to use more flour on the rolling pin too. Cut out small cookies using your favorite cookie cutter. Place on a lined baking sheet (14).

 

Steps to cut the cookie dough.

 

These cookies will not spread out much, so you can fit quite a few on one baking sheet.

 

Bake on the middle rack for 10 minutes or until the cookies are a little brown around the edges. Cool a little on the baking sheet (5 minutes) and then let them cool completely on a wire rack.

 

Substitutions

 

Honestly, for such a basic recipe, all the ingredients play a vital role, and changing just one can alter the recipe. However, you can omit the coconut and add more flour (by weight). And the extracts can be exchanged for whatever you prefer.

 

The egg yolk is there to give the cookies a tender crumb, however, if you want it even crispier, you can omit it. 

 

Showing two different kinds of shapes of coconut cookies on a cooling rack.

 

Variations

 

  • Chocolate-covered cookies: A version of the popular Gjendekjeks in Norway. Simply melt some chocolate and cover have the cooled cookie (either on top or on the side). Let them cool on a cooling rack.
  • Nutty Crunch: Add 2 tablespoons chopped nuts like almonds or macadamias to the cookie dough for extra crunch and flavor. But keep the pieces small as the cookies are very thin!
  • Citrus Zest: Mix in lemon or lime zest for a refreshing burst of citrusy goodness. 1 teaspoon should be enough. 

 

Equipment

 

For this recipe, I recommend getting a spice grinder. Although this is not completely necessary, I really love my spice grinder and I use it for a lot of things and a lot of recipes - like making my curry spice blend, for coffee beans, or cardamom for cardamom buns.

 

I literally spent like less than $20 on mine and I don't regret a cent of it.

 

Other than that, it's just basic kitchen supplies like bowls, a hand mixer, a rolling pin, and cookie cutters - and a kitchen scale is always recommended for accuracy.

 

Coconut cookies shaped as flowers in a wooden box. Blurry flowers in the foreground.

 

Storage

 

Dry cookies like these last for about a month in an airtight cookie jar. If you want to keep them for longer, I recommend freezing them.

 

Expert tips

 

  • Allow the cookies to cool completely before storing them to prevent them from becoming soggy.
  • Toast the coconut before adding them to the dough for a deeper, nuttier flavor. Toast in a dry skillet for a couple of minutes on medium-high heat until it smells nutty and a little browned around the edges.
  • Softened butter, or room temperature butter, is cool to the touch and makes a slight indent in the butter when pressing it. Not so much that the butter melts around your fingers. It's about 65℉ (18-19℃).

 

Stack of crispy coconut cookies, one cookie cut in half to show the tender texture.

 

Recipes FAQs

Can I use sweetened coconut flakes instead of unsweetened?

Yes, you can, although you will end up with a sweeter product. I wouldn't reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe, because sugar has a vital role in creating the right, crisp, texture of the cookie.

Can I add other flavors to the cookies, like cinnamon or cardamom?

Absolutely! Your imagination is the only limit. Well, almost. Limit yourself to spices and extracts. If you add too much liquid it will not be a pleasant cookie texturewise, more cakey than crisp.

You can also add 2 tablespoons of chopped nuts, but keep the sizes small because it's a very thin cookie.

Can I freeze the cookie dough for later use?

Yes, no problem. After you make the link or disc, cover it well and place it in the freezer. It keeps well for months.

When ready to use, thaw it on the counter until it's possible to roll out or cut out cookies. Bake for a couple of minutes longer, but otherwise, it's the same.

Can I use other sugars?

For crisp cookies, my answer to this would be no. Regular granulated sugar (or caster sugar) has less moisture than most other sugars and therefore creates crispier cookies.

Brown sugar is delicious in chewy cookies, so then I'd rather try these brown butter macadamia nut cookies instead (notice how I use both granulated and brown sugar for the perfect texture).

 

Close up of a box with parchment paper and coconut cookies shaped as flowers inside.

 

Did you like this recipe? Here are more cookies I think you would like:

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📖 Recipe

Close up of a box with parchment paper and coconut cookies shaped as flowers inside.

Buttery and Crispy Coconut Cookies

Yield: 30 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

These buttery and crispy coconut cookies are versatile with a hint of coconut and vanilla, and an addictively tender and buttery texture.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup* desiccated coconut (30 grams)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (120 grams)
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick minus 1 tablespoon softened, unsalted butter (100 grams)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon coconut emulsion (optional)

Instructions

  1. Optional step: In a dry nonstick skillet, toast the desiccated coconut on medium heat until it smells aromatic and almost nutty. It should be a little brown around the edges, set aside to cool.
  2. Once cool, food process the desiccated coconut. Or better yet, use a spice grinder. Just carefully pulse it a few times to make it resemble coarse sand
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, coconut, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In another medium bowl, cream (using a handheld mixer) the butter until smooth, then add in the sugar and cream until pale and fluffy, a couple of minutes.
  5. Mix in the egg yolk and extracts, then add in the dry ingredients. It will look very dry so eventually you will have to knead it a bit with your hands to incorporate all the dry ingredients. It takes about 30 seconds or so, make sure not to overwork the flour as the cookies can turn out tough.
  6. Once you have a cohesive ball of dough, place it on a plastic wrap and shape it into either a sausage or a flat disc**. Cover completely with the plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to firm up, for at least 1 hour (up to 48 hours).
  7. Preheat the oven to 350℉ (180℃). Add parchment paper to baking sheets.
  8. Sausage shape: Roll the sausage so that it reaches the diameter of a small cookie. Once you're satisfied, cut using a sharp knife, about ¼ inch or half a centimeter thick.
  9. Flat disc: You need to use a little bit of flour so that the disc doesn't stick to the surface or the rolling pin. Roll until the dough is about ¼ inch or half a centimeter thick, use your favorite (yet small!) cookie cutters. You can reshape the leftover dough, although it becomes increasingly sticky so you may need to use more flour.
  10. Place the unbaked cookies on the prepared baking sheets. You can fit quite a few as they will not spread much. I used 2 baking sheets in total.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes on the middle rack or until they turn a little brown around the edges. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before moving them over to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  12. Once they are cooled you can dip them in a little melted chocolate for another variety of the Norwegian Gjende-kjeks!

Notes

* Measured after a round in the food processor/spice grinder.

** Choose a sausage if you just want to cut it, use a flat disc if you want to roll it out and cut it into neater shapes. The latter is prettier, the former is easier. Both are yummy.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 30 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 31Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 50mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information isn't always accurate, estimate for informational purposes only.

Did you make this recipe?

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