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
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:
- Sift flour, add salt, baking powder (if using), sugar and lemon zest to a large mixing bowl and dry whisk to combine.
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 160°C or 320°F. If necessary, prepare a suitable baking tin for the rounds to sit on.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Allow to cool completely before serving.
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