Monday, December 10, 2012

Coconut Cream Cheese Cookies

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Christmas cookie time, baby.

Back when I still lived at home (oh the lovely days before I had to go and grow up, get a job, and officially start to dread getting the mail- stupid bills), my mom, sister, and I had a little tradition every Christmas season:  the three of us would sit down and lay out a list of all of the cookies we intended to bake and then each choose a few to make.  Then, we would spend the entire day baking in the kitchen.  (Eventually my brother contributed with some out-of-this-world hershey's kiss peanut butter cookies- which I will probably be sharing in the near future).  In the end we had a lot of cookies...and some pretty good memories. 

While each of us kids has moved out of the nest, and some of the cookies have come and gone, every year, without fail, there are a select few that have endured and remained on the "list".  Now I should probably tell you that no, these here cookies are not on this little list I speak of, but that doesn't mean they aren't good.  In fact, they are insanely good.  Santa would be one jolly fellow if he was left a few of these.  Soft from the cream cheese and filled with a healthy dose of toasted coconut...yea, they didn't last long.  Therefore, they may have to make a reappearance in a couple of weeks when I set out to bake a few goodies to take home to the fam for the holidays.  I finally started making my cookie list today, have you?  Suggestions are always welcome!

Coconut Cream Cheese Cookies

Makes 35 cookies

2 cups coconut
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted & cooled until room temp
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out coconut evenly.  Bake for 10-20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes for even toasting. Remove from oven when coconut turns light brown (be very careful not to burn!).  Allow to cool completely before adding to dough.

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Mix butter and cream cheese together with a mixer until smooth.  Add sugars and beat until thoroughly combined.  Beat in vanilla until combined.  Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in cooled coconut.  Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Drop dough onto parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes or until edges are set and bottoms are light brown (mine went 12 minutes, but I suggest you set the timer for 10 minutes and check before cooking the full 12-14).  Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking and place on wire rack to cool.

Adapted from vanilla sugar blog.

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