Friday, August 26, 2011

Coconut Apricot Icebox Cookies

This recipe features apricots and coconut. I use coconut quite a bit in my baking, but I don’t have too many recipes featuring apricots. I really like apricots, so I’m not sure why I don’t use them more frequently. For this last Friday in August featuring fruity cookies, I was tossing between this recipe and a Pillsbury Bake-Off bar cookie that uses apricot preserves. I have made a couple of bar cookies already this month, so I opted for these. Besides, refrigerator cookies are perfect for the summer as you can make the dough in advance and just bake them up when the moment’s right (and the house isn’t too warm).

I’ve rediscovered the cookbook Great Cookies by Carole Walter, which I had forgotten was on my bookshelf. It has some great recipes! It even has an international cookie chapter and many cookies that are just different. I love that, as I’m always trying to find something a little different. The cookbook also rates cookies by difficulty and other features such as shelf life, whether they travel well and other factors.

This cookie is rated as an easy cookie, and while nothing is too hard, there are a lot of steps (and many dishes to wash) for these cookies. I didn’t quite have enough coconut left when coating the exterior of the logs, so you may want to ration the coconut so you have an equal amount for all three logs. I love the combination of coconut and apricots in these. They smelled so heavenly when baking. The original recipe said to bake these for 12-15 minutes and don’t over bake. I had to bake them for closer to 20 minutes for them not to be doughy. Perhaps I cut them a little thicker, I don’t know. They taste like a coconut macroon, with fruity bursts of flavor from the apricots. I found that these cookies were really different and I liked them so much.

Coconut Apricot Icebox Cookies

10 ounces sweetened, flaked coconut
2-1/4 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
6 ounces dried apricots, chopped in 1/8” pieces
1 cup butter, slightly softened
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon coconut extract
1 egg white, beaten with 2 teaspoons water
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon milk

Place the coconut in a food processor. Pulse five or six times and then process until finely chopped. Set aside. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Remove 2 tablespoons of the mixture and combine it with the chopped apricots. Set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter until creamy. While the mixer is running, pour the sugar into the bowl in a steady stream; mix for about 2 minutes. Add the egg and mix one minute. Add the extracts and mix until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in 1-3/4 cups of the coconut. Add the flour in two in two additions, mixing just until the flour disappears. By hand, stir in the apricots.

Divide the dough into thirds; shape each piece into a log 8” long and 1-1/2” in diameter. Place the remaining coconut on a piece of waxed paper. Brush each log with the egg wash and roll in the coconut. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, up to three days.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Slice the dough into 3/8” thick slices and place on the prepared baking sheets. In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolk and milk and then brush the tops of the cookies with the mixture. Bake for 12-20 minutes, until very light brown around the edges. Do not over bake. Allow to cool slightly on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Great Cookies by Carole Walter

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