This year, Pesach falls during school term. Which means that I have to make KLP packed lunches for Kipper to take in with her. Which is fine, more or less, except that they have a strict NO NUTS rule. Which means that just about every cake, biscuit, treat and sweet thing that I might have included, is off the menu. Uh-oh.
I realised that the answer has to lie with coconut, which is the one Pesach baking staple that isn’t on the banned list. However I long ago stopped making coconut pyramids/macaroons, because they’re dry and yucky and nobody eats them.
What to do?
Having successfully made coconut butter in the blender last Pesach, I wondered if it might be possible to use it in place of other nut butters to make cookies. The answer – it is!
Having mixed up the dough, I added some melted chocolate to half of it, which I hoped would boost the fudgy texture I was aiming for. Alas, it did not, but they do taste fabulously chocolatey! The texture of both flavours is moist and almost cakey. I’ve been having a hard time deciding which of the two cookies I prefer.
DH, who really hates dry coconut pyramids, tasted one of these coconut butter cookies and was moved to exclaim how much better they were than he had anticipated. The look of relief on his face was remarkable. And then he ate a second one! Success indeed!
Of course the real test came with Kipper. Having gone to these lengths to create something to go in her lunchbox, it would be sod’s law that she didn’t like them… But fortunately, the cookies were a hit all round! Phew!
I made these small (approx. 5-6cm diameter) so that Kipper can have two of them at a time. You’re welcome to make fewer, bigger cookies, if you prefer.
You do need a food processor to make these, and you do need to hold your nerve – the desiccated coconut will whizz round and round for what seems like an age before anything happens. Don’t give up! It can take 10-15 minutes before suddenly the oils are released and your dry dusty coconut turns into creamy dreamy coconut butter. (Which you can totally spread on matza and eat, by the way, it’s delicious!)
Pesach lunch boxes here we come!
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- 150g (1.5 cups) desiccated coconut
- 50g (quarter cup) sugar
- 20g (2.5 tbsp) potato flour/potato starch
- 0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Pinch salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp grape juice or other fruit juice
- 50g chocolate (2oz or approx. third of a cup chocolate chips)
- Preheat the oven to 170C (335F). Line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
- Put the desiccated coconut into the bowl of a food processor, and process until the oil is released and a smooth coconut butter is formed - this may take 10-15 minutes, just leave the motor running. Once the coconut has turned into coconut butter, scrape down the sides of the bowl and process again to get it nice and smooth.
- Add the sugar, potato starch, bicarb and salt to the bowl and process until combined.
- Add the egg, vanilla and juice, and process to a soft dough.
- Remove half of the dough to another bowl. Melt the chocolate and add it to the half still in the food processor. Quickly process to combine.
- (At this stage, you can refrigerate the dough for 10-20 minutes, which will make it easier to handle, but this is optional.)
- With damp hands, divide each flavour of dough into 12 balls and place onto the lined trays. Use your fingers to squash them down into circles approx 5-6cm diameter.
- If desired, use a fork to press a pattern onto the top of the biscuits.
- Bake at 170C (335F) for 5-6 minutes, swapping the trays over halfway for even browning if necessary.
- Remove from the oven when the cookies are just starting to brown. Allow to cool on wire racks before eating!