Ok, I lied. Last post, I said it was the last of the baking. Turns out tonight is my father-in-law’s birthday party, and he requested I bring up his favorite cookie to share. I’ve made these many times before for the in-laws, as they’re fast and easy to make, and they love coconut (and to tell the truth, so do I).
Back when I was a teenager (oh, it hurts to say that was in the 80’s) my mother had a recipe for a simple macaroon–a bag of coconut, a can of condensed milk, dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, chopped macadamias–scooped into little balls and baked until golden. They weren’t the lighter, fluffier macaroons that used egg whites; these were dense, chewy and caramelly–a cookie right up my alley. The recipe was sadly lost until the day in 2001 when I was working at Border Grill as a pastry cook and I had to make a batch of their pajas (“straw” in Spanish, as they do resemble a pile of straw, or a haystack). I laughed when I realized that it was essentially the same cookie, but their version was with chopped dried apricots, dark chocolate, and pecans. I made hundreds of those pajas during my time at the restaurant, and the recipe is as natural as breathing.
It’s an incredibly easy recipe–just five ingredients–and a cinch to adapt to your personal tastes. Don’t like pecans? Use almonds! Can’t stand cranberries? Swap them with dried cherries! The possibilities are endless!
adapted from Border Grill
1-7 ounce bag shredded, sweetened coconut
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup dried fruit–cranberries, cherries and apricots (chopped) are best
1 cup chopped nuts such as pecans, macadamias, or almonds
1-14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all 5 ingredients and stir until well coated with the condensed milk.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper (I mean it, too–these will stick to an unlined pan!)
- Scoop dough into golf-ball sized pieces and place 1″ apart on lined sheet pan.
- Bake for 20-24 minutes, until coconut is a dark golden brown.
- Cool completely on pan, peel off from parchment paper.