Biscuits with Coconut, Cranberries, White Chocolate and Lemon

Biscuits with Coconut, Cranberries, White Chocolate and Lemon

Has it ever happened, where you’ve made up a recipe only to realise that it’s no longer possible to buy one of the main ingredients?Last summer, one of my local stores started to sell a different brand of canned coconut milk, that separated from its water, and produced the silkiest cream. Perfect for baking, as all I had to do was spoon the cream off the top. That’s why I developed this recipe, that’s heavily inspired by a similar combination of ingredients but different recipe by Margot of (Goddess,) Gather and Graze, Lemon White Chocolate Cookies. As suddenly as the new brand of coconut milk arrived so, too, did it disappear. So I stopped making these Shortbread Biscuits with Coconut, Cranberries, White Chocolate and Lemon on a regular basis. Until last December. As I had butter to use up it was subbed instead. Much more difficult to work with, took far longer to bake and…well, actually, it tasted as good. I just prefer coconut.

It’s only three weeks ago I realised it’s now possible to buy creamed coconut (100% solidified coconut in bars) within walking distance. Great! So I jumped at the chance of making this again, as, if you’ve had this combination before, it’s lethal. I can’t live without these sort of shortbread petticoat tailed biscuits (cookies). What I could’ve lived without were the problems that ensued. Until now. With the coconut cream (from the can) the disc would spread, if allowed to, and baked within 30 minutes. Using the butter the disc stayed exactly as was shaped and took twice as long to cook. When I tried this for the first time recently with creamed coconut it also stayed in the same shape. Not a problem. Just make it thinner. But, the little amount (1/2 teaspoon) of baking powder used had an adverse effect, and left the overall texture much more cake like. Not good. Plus, as it was getting late the second most recent time I baked this, I upped the heat! Ouch. What came out of the oven looked much more like soda bread. And this time? Third time lucky? Almost! They need to be cut out as individual, round biscuits. I know it’s risking the wrath of my ancestor’s second wife, who brought over the concept of the petticoat tail to the Scottish shortbread industry from France. Apparently. Hmm, you know what, I think I’ll risk it. Biscuits it’ll be!

Biscuits with Coconut, Cranberries, White Chocolate and Lemon

  • Servings: using a 68mm or 2+5/8th inch pastry cutter for round biscuits should make 8
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Recipe heavily inspired by: Lemon White Chocolate Cookies on Gather and Graze

PREP: about 20 mins ~ BAKE: 30 – 40 + mins ~ READY IN: 1 hour +

LEVEL: easy – it’s not even necessary to roll these out.


  • If eating these same day then I wouldn’t add any baking powder, especially if subbing butter for the creamed coconut. As I’m storing these for myself, only their texture is that bit lighter the following days.
  • The ratio of lemon juice and water needed to thin the creamed coconut sufficiently, after heating, I’ll be going with from now on. The consistency of the dough was much more workable with the addition of water to the creamed coconut, before adding to the dry ingredients.
  • If it’s not possible to buy dried cranberries sweetened with pineapple juice then it might be an idea to soak dried cranberries in pineapple juice to replicate the flavours I’m using. Most of the differing brands of dried cranberries I’ve looked at are full of additives. And expensive. The brand I’m buying is: The Foodie Market. In fact, having just checked their ingredients list these are only 62% cranberries! The rest is from pineapple juice from concentrate and sunflower oil – possibly not the healthiest! They do taste great, though.


  • 150g x (5.291 oz or 1+1/3 cup) plain (AP) flour, sifted (+ extra for dusting)
  • 40 – 50g (1.411 – 1.764 oz) x granulated sugar
  • 2 x medium lemons, juice and zest – up to 5 x tablespoons fresh lemon juice needed (for less zing sub a couple of tbsp’s with water – for the round biscuits I used 5 tbsp + 2 tbsp water)
  • 1+1/2 x teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 x teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 x teaspoon baking powder – optional (not with butter, if using instead of creamed coconut)
  • 50g (1.764 oz) x dried cranberries sweetened with pure pineapple juice
  • 100g (3.527 oz) x white chocolate, roughly chopped into small chunks
  • 100g (3.527 oz) x creamed coconut (sold solidified in 200g bars), melted
  • up to 2 x tablespoons water (add 1 and add more if necessary)

Measurements within brackets directly above are only intended as a guide – they have not been tested! INSTRUCTIONS:

  1.  Sift flour, add salt, baking powder (if using), sugar and lemon zest to a large mixing bowl and dry whisk to combine.
  2. Place a heavy based saucepan on electric heat No 1 out of 6 and add the creamed coconut. Allow at least 5 or more minutes for the coconut to melt, scraping down the sides of the half block with a fork as the coconut will melt that bit quicker. Add the lemon juice, stir thoroughly before adding a tablespoon of water. Stir through again, put on heat if necessary, then add another tablespoon of water if necessary, and set aside.
  3. After adding the cranberries and white chocolate chunks to the dry ingredients add the wet to the dry, using a spatula bring this crumbly dough together and leave it to rest for 5 minutes. After, simply press down lightly on the dough to make sure all of the flour mixture is damp.
  4. Preheat oven to 160°C or 320°F. If necessary, prepare a suitable baking tin for the rounds to sit on.
  5. Flour a suitable work surface with plenty of flour (I use a flexible mat for this) and dump the dough out. With floured hands bring the dough together into a ball. Working as little as possible, and using knuckles to do so, start to press down on the ball, keeping it in a circular shape, and keep doing this until it’s about 1 cm (0.394 in) thick.
  6. Cut out biscuits using a 68mm or 2+5/8th inch pastry cutter. For the photos I’ve used one size up, 78mm or 3+1/18th inch which gave me 8 large biscuits. Lift these with a fish slice and place on a baking sheet/tray.
  7. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 – 45 minutes (check after 20 for biscuits), depending on their thickness and shape. Mine took 40 minutes to get them evenly golden on top. These really need to be a strong but pale golden colour on top before they’re sufficiently cooked.
  8. Allow to cool completely before serving.

All text and photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Kitsch n flavours: All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Kitsch n flavours 2019


24 thoughts on “Biscuits with Coconut, Cranberries, White Chocolate and Lemon

  1. Gorgeous cookies/biscuits Johnny. Looks wonderful, I do love shortbread and the cranberry and white chocolate is a great addition. I am also very excited about your logo; can’t wait to see the finished product.


    1. Thanks, Suzanne. I’ve almost had a couple of days off from the logo and stuff. Nice break today in doing this instead. I’m still surprised at how time consuming any design work actually takes! I’ve been working at the logo now for nearly 4 weeks. Admittedly I’m slow when it comes to this type of design.
      I’ve managed to scoff half of the shortbread things already! It was actually the white chocolate and lemon included in Margot’s recipe that grabbed my attention, then. And it happened to work beautifully with the coconut cream. Was devastated when I could no longer buy it! Okay, I’m exaggerating ever so slightly. :) I could live without them…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So excited to see that you’ve posted it Johnny! Tell me, does the creamed coconut give it almost a taste of the tropics? I can imagine it works so well with the white chocolate and dried fruit! I’ll definitely make up a batch as soon as I get a chance.
    The logos are looking great by the way! Sounds like things are progressing slowly, but surely.


      1. Hah! Nearly forgot about this. I’m having probs with the live comment button on black bar – it’ll light up orange but doesn’t show comments. Yep, you’re the only blogger that I’ve cooked/adapted all of 3 recipes from. That’s my record! And I reckon there’s lots more to do if I have a closer look at your recipe index.

        Ah, when I popped in to your post a couple of nights ago I couldn’t help but notice comments from SG and tinywhitecottage. Haven’t heard from either in an absolute age. Has anyone?


        1. Yes, hopefully all is okay with Miss Saucy and Seana – they are both very much missed! I left a short message for Saucy last October on her About page, but I haven’t heard anything back so far…
          Finally got around to making Linda’s (from La Petite Paniere) Palets Bretons – beautiful and buttery, just using the egg yolks instead of whole eggs and quite a bit richer in taste than the Galettes au Beurre that I made a week or two ago. So once they’re all gone I’ll swing into action and make some of your shortbread! I’ll keep in mind what you’ve suggested in your comment and see what feels right as I prepare the dough – will let you know my thoughts, hopefully this week sometime. I’m pretty sure we have packs of the cranberries soaked in pineapple juice here too, so hopefully it will taste as close as possible to your recipe. Cheers, M


    1. Let’s hope you haven’t made a batch as yet. Only realised last night, in bed, that I’d put the wrong measurement for the flour. I’d been using 200g for the original recipe, then had to reduce it to 150g this time around. Works far better. Even though it’s still a little bit dry. What do you think of adding 1 x tbsp of a neutral oil, like sunflower? As the coconut can and will set I figured that might just keep it from doing that (& as the creamed coconut can cause these to be a little dense in texture). Without affecting the overall taste. As for a taste of the tropics? Actually, the coconut block I’m using isn’t quite as flavoursome as differing brands I can buy in the superstores. Ah, they’re almost 3 times the distance to get to. As I like to make these regularly I’ll stick with what I can get. And I’m wondering if I should add a note about the cranberries as they’re deliciously sweetened with pineapple. Maybe soak dried cranberries in pineapple juice to replicate what I can buy?
      Thinking out loud here! Yes, things are progressing very slowly. I’m now looking at the possibility of a market scenario, partly to give me a date to work toward. Thanks re logos. Even though I like them I still don’t think they’re suitable for SNS’s as they’re not readable that small. I’m working on a 70’s inspired K later on. Hoping that’ll work.


  3. I never thought to add coconut to shortbread, great idea. I’ve had a similar problem with not being able to get a product anymore, for me it was black beans, which is something not very common here in Germany. But my kind-of-luxury-supermarkt sold a Texas brand and I was excited to find it. Then almost a year later the shelves weren’t filled anymore, then everything from that brand disappeared. I found out the wholesaler just doesn’t sell that particular brand anymore, and I haven’t found black beans anywhere since. Although of course they’re not as vital as a baking ingredient, like your coconut, but if you’ve liked and gotten used to something it’s just annoying to not be able to get your hands on the product anymore.

    I like the new logos!


    1. I’d only thought of adding coconut because of the coconut cream. And, although butter works, coconut just goes so well with the other ingredients.
      It’s so annoying when the stores do that. The nearest store used to have a small but okay selection of organic beans. Ah, the irony! Black beans are still sold! Shame there’s no point in sending any over. I love them with turkey. And I’ve just found a Mexican recipe recently that uses them. Not that I’m rubbing that in! Actually, they used to sell the finest and plumpest butter beans I’d ever bought. Those were my favourites. Well, they were the first to be discontinued. Having said that, for somewhere this provincial there is quite a wide range of products. It’s just not Central London!


        1. Hah! And I bet you’ll have matching accessories. Joking aside, here’s the brand I can buy: which are available in Morrisons (as in black beans). Biona, according to their web site that I’ve only just checked, do a nice range of products. Shame I can’t find them here. And they seem to be British. Maybe you could check if they sell elsewhere in Europe. Would save you dragging all those cans back home!


          1. And wow – just looked at their website and you guys have such tastefully & beautifully packaged products in the UK. Maybe I’ll have to move back there…


  4. Wow, what a lot of experimentation. I hate it when ingredients change or recipes don’t come out how you’d like to but at least with shortbread you can eat the not-quite-right versions fairly easily (well, I could :) ) The flavours in here sound amazing, like the most exotic shortbread ever. It’s similar to one I did last summer with white chocolate, orange and dried apricots, but I’ve never gone so far as to add coconut. Definitely have to give it a go!
    I like the logos too :)


    1. What surprised me with this recipe last year was that it worked pretty much from the first attempt. And as I liked it so much, shortbread always one of my favourites, I was making it almost every week. Until that store stopped selling that brand of coconut milk. Now I’ve got the recipe sort of okay the next step is to look at the consistency of the creamed coconut. I suddenly realised today that I should allow it to cool after melting, then add sufficient lemon juice, water and maybe a little oil to replicate the consistency I used to work with. Like soft butter, in fact. You know, when it stays on a spoon without sliding off straight away. Must have a look at your white chocolate and orange version, as I don’t remember that one. I guess I do look at a lot of blogs! As I loved the idea of your savoury version posted recently I’ll have to try something new. Oh, have you tried these brookies? As in brownies/cookies. I still haven’t found a recipe I can try. And thanks re logos. I’ve just uploaded the 70’s version to Twitter. Like the others it looks better big. Might have to revert to just a font, as in k, for the SNS’s as the icons are so darn small.


  5. Nice work on all fronts Johnny. I do like the heart in the logo even though it was unintentional. I think putting your heart into cooking is important. The shortbread looks lovely. I like the idea of the creamed coconut which I assume is the same as solid coconut oil? Very solid and white, yes? Does creamed coconut cost a small fortune in England? It does here.

    I always love your comment threads. And I couldn’t help but notice that you mentioned Seana from Tiny White Cottage. I chased her up a while back and I was thinking about her again. I’ll drop her an email.


    1. You’ve said it! So succinctly. As in, putting your heart into cooking. I’ll definitely go with that. In fact, the logos I’ve been developing more recently are perhaps less to do with the heart itself. Even though it’s very much still there.

      Ah, creamed coconut is very different. I’m just going to pop over to Google and find a link if possible. I suspected I should’ve done that for the post. Until then, creamed coconut is used for including in cooking curries like you would use coconut milk. The oil is a separate product, and can be astonishingly expensive for the pure stuff. I buy it in the same International store (where it’s much cheaper). Here’s Wiki:

      Is it odd that there are certain bloggers you miss? I’m hoping not. If you email Seana, could you let her know I was thinking off her.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the clarification on creamed coconut Johnnie – now I know exactly what you’re talking about. Much appreciated. We can get it here – can’t remember what we call it – but it is available and quite different than coconut oil. Perfect.
        I will contact Seana and let her know you said hello too (and that you’re worried about her!). ;)


    1. If you like shortbread, as much as I do, then you would probably grab another piece! I’ll be making these again tomorrow night, but this time in the round to test them out. I might not have a sweet tooth but I like to have these around.

      You mentioned being busy. Well, you must be up to your neck in boxes! As we say over here. I’m itching to move again. If I ever manage to get this business off the ground!


  6. Hi Johnny, love the flavors you used her, I could eat these all day. Also your logo’s look fantastic, good luck with your shoppe.


    1. Thank you! The flavours are truly addictive. And, since posting, I’ve baked these again and managed to get a better consistency to the creamed coconut – simply by adding a little water. Works much better.


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