Cashews are a delicious nut that often turns up in trail mixes, granola and other recipes where nuts are the stars, but rarely turns up in other baked goods. I think that this is a shame because, like macadamia nuts, cashews have a buttery sweetness to them that works extremely well in desserts. These Coconut Cashew Cookies combine chewy coconut with crunchy, toasted cashews for a cookie that is unexpected and very delicious.
The cookies use sweetened coconut and toasted cashews. I prefer not to toast the coconut before using it because it brings a little extra moisture into the cookies, but the cashews benefit from being lightly toasted to enhance their texture. I typically buy cashews that are lightly toasted and salted to make these cookies with – and because I can snack on the leftover nuts when I’m done baking! That small amount of extra salt also contrasts well with the sweetness of the coconut, leading to very balanced cookies.
The dough comes together very quickly and bakes into cookies that are crisp and golden brown. Allowing the cookies to brown more than most of the cookies I bake actually gives them a macaroon-like flavor, thanks to the caramelized coconut around the edges of each one. You can reduce the baking time by a few minutes and only brown the outer edge if you prefer a chewier cookie, however. In the chewier version, you’ll still get a nice crunch from the cashews and the sweet chew of coconut in each bite.
This recipe does not make a huge batch of cookies, so it’s a great choice for just about any occasion. If you do happen to have a crowd to serve, you can double the recipe. Leftovers can be stored for a couple of days in an airtight container, in case you can’t eat them all in one sitting.
Coconut Cashew Cookies
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup shredded coconut (pref. sweetened)
2/3 cup roasted and salted cashews, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth. Add flour, shredded coconut blend at low speed until no streaks of flour remain. Stir in cashews.
Drop by 1-inch balls onto prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, until cookies are golden brown all over.
Let cool for 3-4 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies