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Gluten-free Coconut Cookies

Gluten-free Coconut Cookies

I only bake gluten-free things about once a year, for my writing group’s Christmas party.  A couple of the members are on gluten-free diets and I like to bring snacks that everyone can eat.  Sure, there are plenty of gluten-free things that don’t require special effort, like corn chips, or cheese, or fruit, but it’s Christmas and I want cookies.

Last year I made some kind of pecan-chocolate things that might have been great if I hadn’t burned them.  Or might not have.  At any rate, I didn’t care for them much.

When I’m baking for gluten-free friends friends who are on gluten-free diets, I look for recipes that are (A) easy and (B) don’t require a lot of exotic flours.  This recipe (original here) fit the bill, and has coconut, a bonus since I really like coconut.  It can also be made dairy-free.

I usually don’t post other people’s recipes if I haven’t changed them substantially, but she left a major step out of her recipe, and instead of pointing you there and saying “But remember to do XYZ”, I’m just going to put the whole thing and what I did here.

Gluten-Free Coconut Cookies

1/4 cup cornstarch

3/4 cup rice flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup room temperature margarine, OR vegetable shortening or dairy-free margarine if you’re making them dairy-free

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (original calls for orange extract)

3/4 cup shredded coconut

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Sift together the corn starch and flour in one bowl.
  2. Beat margarine and sugar together until fluffy in another bowl.
  3. Beat in vanilla extract and coconut.  I used my mixer for this because the coconut was very moist and stuck together in lumps.
  4. Add flour mixture to margarine mixture and mix until combined.  This will not form a cohesive dough like wheat flour would.  Just make sure the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  5. Using a tablespoon measure, press the dough into the spoon to mold the cookies and place on a VERY lightly greased cookie sheet.  I’m not sure you even really need to grease it, since there is so much margarine in the recipe, and the coconut has oil too.  Or roll the dough into balls and press to flatten slightly.
  6. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes until golden brown on the edges.
  7. If you look at the photo on the original recipe she drizzled hers with melted chocolate after they cooled, and it looks really good.

The house smelled REALLY good, like toasted coconut, as these baked, and even the next day.  They taste good too (even those at the party who weren’t on a gluten-free diet enjoyed them), although the rice flour gives them a sort of gritty texture.  They are a very dense cookie.  I wonder if adding one egg to the recipe would make them a bit lighter, since egg has a bit of a leavening effect, but I don’t know.