Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Coconut Oil Shortbread

Is vegan butter available where you live? I never take my precious Earth Balance for granted and it would break my heart (or my belly) if I ever had to give it up. A few weeks ago, Yvonne left me a comment asking about the biscuits that I showed in my quince post. I gave Yvonne the recipe and told her that I made them with Earth Balance. Yvonne didn't let the fact that Earth Balance is not available in the Netherlands deter her from making biscuits, and she went ahead and kicked some biscuit butt with coconut oil instead. Yeah!

So now I'm sharing a recipe for my favorite cookie, but made with coconut oil instead of Earth Balance: shortbread! This one's for you, Yvonne!

Coconut Oil Shortbread

Coconut Oil Shortbread


Coconut Oil Shortbread 
(14-16 single cookies)

1/2 cup refined coconut oil at room temperature*
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract (optional)
2 tbsp water
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1. Scoop the coconut oil into a medium sized mixing bowl. The coconut oil should be solid but not hard like a rock. If it's very hard you can place it somewhere warm for a few minutes until it becomes softer. I had the oven on, so I just let the coconut oil sit on the stove top (with the stove top off!) until it softened a bit.

2. Using an electric mixer on high, cream the coconut oil until it looks smooth and there are no visible chunky bits of fat. This will take a minute.

3. Add the sugar, extracts, and water. Keep mixing on high until everything is well blended.

4. Use a large spoon to stir in the flour. You can use your hands to knead in the last of the flour if it becomes too hard to stir. You should end up with a dough that resembles Playdough: not soft and soggy but also not dry and crumbly. If it's too dry and not coming together you can add a little bit more water.

5. Now we need to shape the dough into a log. To do this you will need a piece of wax paper cling wrap large enough to wrap the dough log in it. Sprinkle a bit of flour over the wax paper and place the dough right in the center. Use your hands to shape it into a log that is about 2 inches in circumference and then wrap the wax paper tightly around the log. Have you ever rolled a cigar? Me neither, but I'm guessing it's a very similar process! Fold the ends/tips of paper over and refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes.

6. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

7. Check to see if your dough is firm enough to slice. Just unwrap the log and use a sharp knife to slice a bit of dough off. If it's still too soft you can refrigerate it for a little longer. If it's easy to slice, keep cutting the dough into about 1/3 in slices. You should end up with 14-16 slices.

8. Place the dough on the prepared cookie sheet, leaving about 1 inch between each cookie, and bake on the highest or second highest oven rack for 18-20 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet half way through so the cookies will bake evenly. Baking time will vary depending on how reliable your oven is. My oven is a cretin, so I have to bake these on the highest rack or the bottoms will burn.

9. Transfer your cookies to a cooling rack and let them cool down completely. Enjoy!

*You can use unrefined coconut oil if you don't mind your cookies tasting coconutty.


Semi-Sweet Chocolate Filling

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp non-dairy unflavored coffee creamer or your favorite non-dairy milk

1. Combine the chocolate and creamer in a microwaveable bowl.

2. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir well and check to see if it's smooth. If it's still a bit chunky, nuke it for 15 more seconds, stir well, and check again. Repeat until your chocolate filling is completely smooth and silky. Let it cool down for a few minutes until the chocolate firms up slightly.

3. Spread a generous amount of chocolate over one cookie. Top it with another cookie - without pressing down! If your chocolate starts spilling out, it means that it's still too warm and you should let it cool down for a few more minutes. Try again and if the chocolate stays put, keep going until all your cookies are done. 


Full disclosure: I only tested this recipe once, which is two or three times short of my usual pre-blogging tests. It's just that I am too excited to share with the world the fact that if I ever had to live somewhere where Earth Balance wasn't available, I would still be able to enjoy my favorite cookie. Well, I suppose there was a bit of a trial before this official recipe, but it only involved baking one single cookie. I made this dough with 1 cup of flour, like my regular Earth Balance based shortbread, and I baked only a little piece of dough to see what happened. It melted five or six minutes into the baking time. It became a cookie puddle. That's how I knew that I needed to work some extra flour into the dough, and an extra 1/4 cup was all it needed. Success!

Coconut Oil Shortbread

Oh look, I can't just leave cookies alone. I have to add chocolate somehow. The coconut-oil-based shortbread is not quite as tender as the one I make with Earth Balance, but it's still buttery and delicious. These cookies have a bit more crunch to them, and unlike the ones made with vegan butter, the sandwich cookies don't become softer on the second day. They are not too sweet but sweet enough, which is why I love shortbread so much!

Coconut Oil Shortbread

Oh, I just don't know when to stop, do I? A little chocolate drizzle on top and a good sprinkling of slivered almonds made these extra ridiculous! What's wrong with ridiculous when it comes to chocolate?

Coconut Oil Shortbread

Now as if I hadn't overloaded this post with photos, here's a picture of a duck doing... something... weird...

Creepy? Funny? Just weird?

26 comments :

  1. That's so sweet of you to non-Earth-Balance-ize the recipe! I know I'd love the shortbread either way :)

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    1. Aren't I awesome? :P

      Maybe I'll try an olive oil-orange shortbread next time. Just to see what happens...

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  2. If the cookies taste half as good as they look, they must be perfection. I do love the way they look! You have a way with chocolate and almonds!

    So, how else is a duck supposed to preen her chest feathers? She probably just want to look her best when you come calling with your camera. :)

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    1. And then I come and take their pictures right in the middle of all that grooming instead of waiting until they're presentable. I took a picture of Curly grooming his butt feathers once. How very rude of me! :)

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  3. Classic shortbread with coconut oil… can it get any better? Why yes, it can. River, you proved that by adding CHOCOLATE!!! Holy yum :D

    And that duck has quite the neck range…

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    1. Chocolate makes everything better! Next I'll be trying it on pasta or a potato salad :P

      Maybe that's why I find the duck a little creepy - it's the super long neck! If my neck was that long I would probably injure it even more often. Good thing I'm not a duck!

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  4. Oh River! I couldn't believe my eyes when I read the first sentences of this post: you thought of me when you made these cookies - I'm blushing, I'm so flattered!
    Thank you so much for this; I'm going to make these cookies as soon as possible because I already know for sure that they will be my favorite cookies!

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    1. I hope you like them, Yvonne! I promise to incorporate more coconut oil into my recipes in the future. I realized how spoiled I am for having most of my favorite vegan convenience foods and ingredients right here in town. Hey - I just realized I should have called these "Yvonne Cookies!" :D

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  5. Oh, those are gorgeous! I stopped using margarine quite a while ago and once I had figured out how to use coconut oil, I had much more success with shortbread. I never had luck with recipes that called for earth balance - it seems to be quite different to the maragrine we have available here.
    Btw, you could try using powdered sugar instead of regular sugar for this kind of recipe. In my experience it makes for some really tender shortbread.

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    1. Ooh, thanks for the tip, Mihl! I will try powdered sugar next time to get a more tender crumb. I am trying to use more coconut oil and less Earth Balance so I will probably be lurking around your blog looking for more tips and recipes :)

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  6. Gorgeous! Dave and I just started using more coconut oil instead of Earth Balance, and it's been a lot of fun. These cookies are definitely on my to do list now!

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    1. Isn't baking with new ingredients fun? I always get all excited and dorky whenever I'm trying something different. Unfortunately, Mr. Wing-It has come to the conclusion that too much coconut oil doesn't agree with him so I have to pace myself with my experiments. Otherwise he would never get to eat any of the treats that I bake. On the other hand... more food for me! :P

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  7. Somthing to try, looks amazing! :)

    www.cigdemskitchen.com

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  8. Awesome idea. I love your cookies. But can i replace the coconut oil with other oil. And, if i cant, can i use coconut oil base, instead of solid base? Tq

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  9. Fantastic! I don't like earth balance because it has palm oil in it, so this is awesome!!!

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  10. i just found your blog and i love it!!!!!!!! thank you and dont ever stop posting!!!

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  11. YAY! Thank you! I take long blogging breaks every year but I always end up coming back eventually :)

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  12. Thanks for this recipe! I never have Earth Balance, but I always have coconut oil. The taste, texture...everything turned out perfectly. I used unrefined coconut oil because that's what I have, and the cookies did have a delicate coconut flavor, but certainly not overpowering. I creamed the oil, sugar, vanilla and water in my food processor and tossed in a few dried figs (because dried figs are my candy). Butter-less figgy shortbread cookies? I'm going to be making these far too often. Thanks again!

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  13. Can i substitute honey or brown sugar or even palm sugar in place of white sugar in this recipe?

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  14. The interesting things is, that when mixing with butter, the 'last' thing you should do is cream it all together. it's the fat melting/evaporating at temperature that creates the airy texture in good shortbread...which is why the baking soda is useful (or cream of tartare).

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  15. I also used to use about 20% ground rice along with the flour - this gives great texture and 'bite'

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  16. On the off chance you'll see this, what do you think of using this dough as the base for lemon bars?

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  17. Sorry I've missed a few comments during my hiatus!

    Lighty: I don't see why this wouldn't work as a base for lemon bars (famous last words). Maybe you could replace some of the sugar with powdered sugar, as Mihl suggested, so your bars aren't too hard? Let me know how it goes if you try it! Good luck!

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