I absolutely love American’s Test Kitchen, Cook’s Illustrated, etc., etc., etc. My first cookbook from Christopher Kimball’s collections was The Cook's Bible: The Best of American Home Cooking. We received it as a wedding present and I have been fascinated ever since with the explanations of why certain methods & ingredients work or don’t work and the limitless experimenting that goes into the quest for the best recipes.
We tried the recipe for Chewy Coconut-Lime Sugar Cookies featured in the Nov./Dec. 2010 issue of Cook’s Illustrated. As expected, the cookies were fabulous. They had excellent texture, shape, & chewiness. They were crisp on the outside with a nice chewy middle. The lime and coconut flavors were quite subtle, so don’t expect much there. I might increase the amount of lime zest next time to give it a little extra punch of flavor.
As stated in the recipe, keep the handling of this dough to a minimum so your cookies will be fluffy & light. Set your mixer aside & mix this dough by hand. You’ll thank me later.
Chewy Coconut-Lime Sugar Cookies from Cook’s Illustrated
2 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. sugar, plus 1/3 c. for rolling
2 ox. cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 c. sweetened shredded coconut, chopped finely
1 tsp. lime zest
6 T. unsalted butter, melted & still warm
1/3 c. vegetable (or canola) oil
1 large egg
1 T. milk
1 T. lime juice
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, coconut, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Place 1-1/2 cups sugar, cream cheese, and lime zest in a large bowl. Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside. Pour warm butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (some small lumps of cream cheese will remain but will smooth out later). Whisk in oil until incorporated. Add egg, milk, and lime juice; continue to whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix with rubber spatula until soft homogeneous dough forms.
- The final dough will be slightly softer than most cookie dough. For the best results, handle the dough as briefly as possible when shaping the cookies. Overworking the dough will result in flatter cookies. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces, about 2 tablespoons each. Using hands, roll dough into balls. Working in batches, roll balls in reserved sugar to coat and evenly space on prepared baking sheet, 12 dough balls per sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass, flatten dough balls until 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle tops evenly with 4 teaspoons sugar, remaining in shallow dish (2 teaspoons per cookie sheet), discard any remaining sugar.
- Bake, 1 tray at a time, until edges are set and just beginning to brown, 11 to 13 minutes, rotating the tray after 7 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.
Makes 24-28 cookies.
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