Ok, I’m including this Toasted Coconut Shortbread in my Allergen Free Christmas Cookie series of posts (after Christmas) because it uses the same gluten free, dairy free, soy free, peanut free, tree nut free, (coconut is a fruit you know) optional egg and corn free, basic cookie dough that I used as a base for all of the other Christmas Cookies in the series (try them all! Plain sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, lemon sugar cookies, Raspberry Linzer Cookies and Chocolate Peppermint Drop Cookies). Honestly though, these flavors are great year round! Who doesn’t love coconut and chocolate? This recipe, along with the basic dough recipe is from Living Without Magazine in December/January 2013. I’ve been using it every year since I found it!
I’ve realized that coconut can be a bit tricky for people with nut allergies. Coconut, although not actually a nut (it’s a fruit), is commonly lumped into the tree nut category. When purchasing coconut for this recipe, I noticed that every single bag I could find listed “contains tree nuts” on the packaging. This is tricky – does it actually contain tree nuts? Or does it just say this because it’s classifying the coconut as a tree nut? AND if they are just classifying it, are there any other risks for cross contamination? I decided to dig a little deeper. Because we eat organic, my shredded coconut of choice is Let’s Do Organic Coconut. I decided to reach out to Edward and Sons, makers of Let’s Do Organic and they confidently told me that they only process coconut so there is no risk of cross contamination with any other tree nuts. SO, if you’re looking for a coconut, I would suggest theirs – which you can find here – Lets Do Organics: Organic Coconut Flakes. Of course, I always recommend that you check to make sure nothing has changed in their manufacturing processes if you have a severe allergy that you’re looking out for.
Toasted Coconut Shortbread
Preheat oven to 326 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with coconut. Toast in oven, stirring and tossing consistently for about 5 minutes (or until slightly browned). Crumble coconut between your fingers and divide into 1 cup portions. Increase oven temp to 350 degrees.
In stand mixer, add 1 cup of coconut to your batch of basic cookie dough. Mix until thoroughly combined. Line a 9″x13″ glass baking dish with foil (this will allow you to remove the shortbread later) and lightly spray with cooking spray. Press shortbread into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned. Pull out of oven and sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top. Place the whole pan back into the oven for 1 minute or so to melt the chocolate. Remove and use a spatula to smooth out the chocolate.
Sprinkle with the remaining coconut and let cool. Decorate, if desired with some icing. Remove shortbread from pan by lofting foil. Cut into squares with a sharp knife. Enjoy!