Sunday, January 9, 2011

Vegan Coconut Cookies

There is this new chinese method of bread baking which uses 'Tangzhong starter' which is a water roux in which, flour is cooked in water till about 65 C and then cooled and used in yeast bread recipes. This is suppose to help keep the breads moist for longer time. This is kind of a good thing since the home baked bread tends to go bad faster due to lack of preservatives. I decided to bake a white sweet bread using this starter. So, I made the starter (recipe follows). When I was preparing to chill the starter in the refrigerator, I realized that the starchiness of this starter could work as a great binder since it was like glue. I used 1/4 cup of that starter to make the cookies. What do you know, it works. If not, these cookies would've had ragged edges. But, this came out as if I have used egg in it.
coconutcookies2_p

A little story about the inspiration for these cookies..
One of my sister when she moved to Bangalore (in 90s) for work started buying 'Coconut Cookies' from one bakery. And whenever I visited her, she would make sure to buy it for me too. They were out of this world. They were about 5" in diameter (yeah, huge ones) and they were crunchy and thick at the same time. It might sound weird, but I can still taste that cookie.
I have wanted to make something similar for quite some time now. I tried something and since I wanted to eat it, I had to make it eggless. I wouldn't say these cookies match to that awesome cookie, but are very tasty nevertheless. These are chewy and not too sweet. You can definitely bump up the sugar to 1 cup here if you have a sweet tooth.

To make the tangzhong starter:
Mix 1/3 cup of all purpose flour with 1 cup of water without any lumps. Heat them together stirring continuously. When the whisk or spoon's tracks start being visible, turn off the heat. Pour into a different container and place a plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate it and use within 2 days or use immediately after it has cooled down.

One year back - Whole grain waffles with apple butter, Green Mango Onion Subzi
Ingredients:
All purpose flour - 1 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup (Can use up to 1 cup if you like it sweeter)
Dessicated coconut - 1 cup (fine ground not sweetened - See Notes)
Tangzhong starter - 1/4 cup measured in dry measuring cup
Vegetable / Canola Oil - 1/3 cup
Baking powder - 3/4 tsp
Vanilla - 1 tsp

Method:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, dessicated coconut and baking powder. Set aside. In another bowl take sugar, oil and the tangzhong starter. Beat them till everything is combined. Stir in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir. Towards the end you might have to use your hands. Drop by rounded tablespoons on the prepared cookie sheet at least 2 inches apart. These spread but not too much. I used a cookie scoop and got 23 cookies out of this. I could've made them a bit smaller to get more.
Bake for 12 - 14 minutes or till the cookies are pale in color, edges have slightly browned and the bottom is golden. Cookies will be soft when you take them out of the oven. Will set when completely cool.

Notes:
You can use cardamom powder instead of vanilla. Could use almond extract too. If you cannot get fine dessicated coconut, run the unsweetened coconut (dried not fresh) in a spice grinder or blender and then measure the powder.

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16 comments:

  1. the usage of the starter sounds interesting!

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  2. Damn pretty coconut cookies,feel like munching some..

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  3. Wow mouthwatering cookies..got to learn something different today..thanks for sharing this with us :)

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  4. the starter is vary differnet. but I would probably replace this with egg. am gonna make it as we all love coconut cookies here.

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  5. I have heard about this starter before but didn't realize that it was so easy to make.Thanks for sharing it with us and your cookies look so delicious.

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  6. Good One.......cookies look good, always good to have more options for egg substitutes when U r interested in egg less baking, willl keep this one in mind....

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  7. Sounds interesting with using starters... looks delicious.

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  8. Coconut cookies ..love these...looks delicious

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  9. Thank you for the starter recipe. Cookies look so good..

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  10. Looking good. awesome click :)

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  11. Interesting substitute for egg! BTW, Champa, can't we use fresh coconut for these cookies,increase the baking time? Will it not work well?

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  12. Sum,
    It should work. In that case I think starter can be reduced to just 2 TBSP since fresh coconut has water in it. If you try, let me know and I will update the post.

    Thanks everyone.

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  13. Thanks, Champa! Will let you know if i try...

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  14. the cookies look awesome dear...tooo yumm!

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  15. I really like these cookies! I am impressed with how 'normal' these cookies are - especially considering the lack of butter and eggs. I will just say, I used a tsp of cardamon and I feel (for my taste) it was too much. I think a 1/2 tsp for those that are not used to the spice. Thanks for posting this recipe:) Jane

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  16. Jane,
    Thanks for the feedback. I understand about the cardamom preference. Since I am Indian, I am so used to this spice that I get carried away sometimes.

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