White sugar and brown sugars are staples in my pantry, but they’re not the only sugars that I use or that are available if you know where to look. Maple sugar is one “alternative” sugar that I pick up whenever it is in season, and coconut sugar is another that is very popular right now. These Coconut Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies are made with coconut sugar, which not only gives them a unique flavor, but gives you the chance to experiment with a new ingredient!
Coconut sugar is made from the sap of coconut palm flowers. The production process is similar to that of maple sugar, in that the sap is collected and cooked down until it is reduced to a crystaline form. It looks like unrefined brown sugar and tastes quite like it, too, but with a lighter caramel flavor than a similarly colored brown sugar would have. It is popular as an alternative to “regular” sugar, but I think that it stands on its own as an ingredient that is worth working with in the kitchen. The sugar stands in for brown sugar in this chocolate chip cookie recipe. The coconut sugar cane be measured just like brown sugar and creamed into the butter to build the rest of the dough. I used part white sugar to get the texture I wanted in the finished cookies.
The baked cookies have a crisp edge and a chewy center on the day that they are baked. After being stored in an airtight container, they’ll lose some of the crispness of that outer edge, but they’ll still be chewy, tender and satisfyingly flavorful. They spread slightly less (though they still spread) than cookies made with regular brown sugar, so keep that in mind when you arrange them on the baking sheet. They do not have any coconut flavor from the coconut sugar (which does not taste like coconut), but instead have a subtle toffee/caramel flavor to them that goes very well with the chocolate chips. A similar cookie dough using regular brown sugar would yield cookies with a distinct molasses flavor.
Coconut Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (pref. kosher salt)
14 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups dark or semisweet chocolate chunks
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, coconut sugar and regular sugar until smooth and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, gradually blend in the flour mixture until no streaks of dry ingredients remain visible. Stir in chocolate chunks.
Shape dough into balls just over 1-inch in diameter. Place on prepared baking sheet, allowing for room to spread.
Bake for 11-13 minutes, until cookies are lightly browned and set around the edges.
Cool for 3-4 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies