These aren’t the prettiest looking cookies, but paired beautifully with coconut gelato make a lovely, spring dessert and they taste good. It may be the buttery, nutty crunch, the bright flavors of coconut and lime or that dash of coriander that make these cookies delicious.
I made my first batch following exact instructions from Dorie’s Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours.
Prior to baking, I always take a teaspoonful of batter and microwave it just to test flavor (texture will not be the same). When I did that, I realized these were probably too sweet for me, as I forgot the addition of pre-sweetened coconut. I decided to make another half batch using raw agave nectar, a natural sweetener that comes in liquid form and doing a little experimenting.
Baking with raw agave is a challenge. It’s syrupy and changes the texture of the dough. It stayed very sticky compared to the sugar batch. The dough needed to be frozen before cutting. This was probably not the best recipe to experiment with because of the large amount of butter ratio to flour. I cut the amount of agave by 30%, because it’s much sweeter than sugar. It never really became a shortbread with that distinct crunch and crumb. However, it had a little crunch and great flavor and still a very good cookie. I had to roll dough into a cylinder, freeze, cut and bake. They stayed together, didn’t spread and I was pleased with the result, although I still have a long way to go understanding this ingredient and incorporating it into baking recipes. I would love to hear from you if you have had success baking with agave.
The primary reason I’m drawn to this sweetener is that is has a low glycemic index, comes from the cactus plant naturally, and although is the same calorie for calorie compared to sugar, it is sweeter and, therefore, less is required.
These are very buttery and require an interesting technique of placing cookie dough in a gallon size freezer bag and rolling smoothly before refrigeration. We were supposed to bake beige (not golden) cookies cut into 32 perfect squares. Not being able to find anything except my straight edge, I eyeballed it, and this is why I never consider myself a baker. Sure as a faux artist, I have a level and a straight edge and can do perfect stripes, but I couldn’t bring myself to search for a ruler and fuss over size. At least not this time. Then again, I fussed with my photo for an hour!
I made the cookies in two sizes, bite size and DC size. He loves cookies.
The coconut add another layer of sweet and sugar could be reduced by about 25%, if you don’t like a really sweet shortbread.
Instead of macadamia nuts, I used chopped almonds.
After zesting, I couldn’t waste the lime and added the juice to the cookie dough. The lime flavoring created a nice tart brightness to the sweetness.
Just for color, I added some candied citrus peel, that I learned from fellow bloggers at White on RIce.