Tropical Coconut Hibiscus Shortbread Cookies. Shortbread Cookie cut outs for Valentines day. Or any day depending on the cookie cutter shape you use.
I normally don't make a big fuss of Valentines Day, my husband and I think we should treat each other with love and affection all throughout the year, not just save it for one day. To me its always been a very commercialized "Hallmark" holiday, and alienates many who don't have a special someone to celebrate the day with. You can be your own valentine, which I think everyone should always be their own valentine first. And of course celebrate with heart shaped cookies like these.
Inspiration for this recipe:
I have a coconut shortbread cookie recipe on my blog from years ago that I love, but they are a bit more involved to make and I wanted a cookie one could make in an afternoon, even with a little time spent with the dough chilling in the fridge. Toasting the coconut is a must for any coconut cookie. I love the more intense, nutty coconut flavor.
I also love baking with hibiscus and when I saw the candied hibiscus at the store I knew it would be a great tart and chewy component to these cookies, similar to dried cranberries.
- Unsalted butter
- Powdered ( or confectioners sugar)
- Vanilla extract
- All purpose flour
- Corn starch
- Kosher Salt
- Unsweetened flaked coconut - to be toasted for extra flavor and crunch
- Candied hibiscus - not dried but candied - similar texture to dried candied cranberries
- Dried hibiscus to make the hibiscus syrup for the glaze (see recipe notes for a simple glaze, see Hibiscus Simple Syrup recipe to make ahead of time for the glaze, cocktails or more)
- Weight out your ingredients
- toast the coconut
- chop the candied hibiscus
- Cream the butter and sugar
- add in the dry ingredients
- fold in the toasted coconut and hibiscus
- Form into a disc and chill 2 hours
- Roll out the dough between pieces of wax paper
- Cut out shapes - re-rolling and re-chilling dough if it gets too warm
- Dip in icing
Rolling out cookie dough tips:
This a great dough for cookie cut outs since you can re-roll it out several times without affecting the texture or structure of the cookies. I always roll between pieces of wax paper, no need to add flour so you don't end up adding more than the recipe calls for resulting in a tougher cookie.
No spread shortbread cookies
These coconut hibiscus shortbread cookies don't spread at all while baking so you can have more on your baking sheet at once. With the cutter I used, I got 18 cookies. The amount of cookies that this recipe yields depends on the size of cutter used. I wanted big cookies.
These cookies are fantastic is as is. Light and tender, buttery and a hit of that tropical goodness from the nutty coconut and tangy hibiscus. But why stop here? Let's glaze them.
Make the glaze and dip the cookies
I made a quick glaze with powdered sugar and some hibiscus syrup. I could have gone the royal icing route, but I was too lazy to make it. I also thought about dyeing white chocolate pink, but was all out of pink food dye. Any of the three options work great. Just powdered sugar and the hibiscus syrup alone are a stickier glaze that doesn't firm up completely. I am ok with that. Popping in the freezer helps set it up a bit after dipped.
I love the color from the hibiscus glaze. I get dried hibiscus flowers from a local Mexican grocery store to use in recipes. You can also use hibiscus tea bags, just make sure they are 100% hibiscus and not anything else in them. It will alter the color and flavor.
A few notes about this coconut hibiscus shortbread cookie recipe first:
- The base recipe is very basic and quick to make. The longest part of this recipe is chilling the dough before baking it.
- You want to use candied hibiscus for these, not dried. You can find candied hibiscus at Trader Joes or online.
- If you can't find the candied hibiscus you can sub with either dried cranberries or cherries
- I chill the cookies once cut out for a little bit before baking again, this ensures they will keep their shape
- Roll them out thick, mine are just over a quarter of an inch.
- Bake for 10 minutes until the edges are just barely starting to turn golden, don't over bake. I made these in two batches for a total of 20 minutes of baking.
- Let cool completely before glazing
- The glaze is optional. You can make a royal icing or even dip in white chocolate if you want.
More hibiscus recipes to enjoy
Tropical Coconut Hibiscus Shortbread Cookies
For the Cookies
- 226 g unsalted butter at room temperature (1 cup)
- 67 g powdered sugar (¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 260 6 all purpose flour (2 cups)
- 20 g cornstarch (2 Tablespoons)
- ¼ teaspoom Kosher salt
- 40 g unsweetened coconut, toasted (½ cup)
- 60 6 candied hibiscus, finely diced (½ cup)(see notes)
For the Glaze
- 120 g Powdered sugar (1 cup)
- 2-3 tablespoon Hibiscus syrup (see notes)
- Lightly toast the coconut in a small pan over medium low heat, stirring frequently until starting to turn golden. This will go from golden to burnt quickly so stir often until you get almost all the flakes toasted then remove from heat. Let cool before adding to the cookies. This can be done while waiting for the butter to get to room temperature. Once the coconut is cool, smash or crush into smaller pieces if desired.
- In a stand mixer or a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add in the vanilla and mix for another thirty seconds. Add in the flour, cornstarch and salt and mix again until well combined. Add in the coconut and candied hibiscus pieces and mix gently to fold them in, you can use your hands for this part.
- Gather the dough and shape into a thick disc, wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours up to overnight.
- When ready to bake heat oven to 350 Deg F, line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Let the dough thaw slightly then roll out to ¼” thick, no thinner, and cut out with a 3 inch heart shaped cookie cutter, or any shape you like.
- Place an inch apart on the baking sheets, and chill for 20 minutes. You can pop them into the freezer before baking too if you have the space. Once firmed back up, bake for 10 minutes. Let cool slightly on the pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before dipping in glaze.
- Whisk together the powdered sugar and hibiscus syrup until well mixed and thin enough to dip. Dip half the cookie into the glaze and set out to dry. These won’t dry as hard as royal icing does, they will remain a little tacky.
- These last a few days stored in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 months frozen wrapped in plastic and kept in a resealable bag or container.