I Love Chocolate

by Stephanie Zonis


Chocolate-Coconut "Islands"

About 3-1/2 dozen cookies


These soft chocolate cookies, frosted with more chocolate and topped with a pinch of coconut, used to be quite popular, but I haven't seen them in a while. The ones I remember were rather too sweet and not very chocolatey, but I have fixed both of those problems. Because these are on the less-sweet side, I think they'd be more favored by adults; I also don't know of that many kids who like coconut. The cookies do not keep well at room temperature, but they do freeze beautifully.

It is important not to overbake these. Bake them one sheet at a time, in the center of the oven, and just until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. As always, cool the cookies completely before frosting them. Nonstick cooling racks and a broad-bladed nonstick metal spatula are a big help here, but if you don't have them, spray your spatula and cooling racks lightly with nonstick cooking spray. If necessary, scrape off the end of the spatula blade with the back of a knife after removing every couple of cookies from the baking sheet.


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg, graded "large"
3 squares (3 ounces) unsweetened chocolate,
   melted and cooled slightly
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour,
   stirred with a fork to aerate
   before measuring, divided
1/4 tsp. baking soda
   (if lumpy, sift before measuring)
1/4 tsp. baking powder
   (if lumpy, sift before measuring)
Few grains salt
2/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp. water
2/3 cup sweetened, flaked coconut

1-1/2 squares (1-1/2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1-1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into bits
1-1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
About 2 Tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. hot water

About 1/4 cup sweetened, flaked coconut


For Cookies:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Adjust rack to center of oven. Line baking sheets with aluminum foil, shiny side up.

In medium bowl, with large spoon, cream butter, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Stir in melted chocolate (which may be just slightly warm) until blended.

Add about half the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and all of the sour cream. Beat in until mixed. Add remaining flour and water and blend in. Dough will be soft.

Use a very well-rounded teaspoon (not a measuring teaspoon) of dough for each cookie. I place only 12 mounds of dough on a 15-1/2 by 10-1/2 inch baking sheet. Keep the mounds of dough as round as possible, but don't fuss over them. Allow remaining dough to stand, loosely covered, at room temperature.

Bake cookies in preheated oven for 7 to 9 minutes, turning sheet once back-to-front about halfway through baking time. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of a cookie (use a cookie along an outside row of your baking sheet). When done, the toothpick will emerge with a few moist crumbs still clinging to it. Do not overbake! Remove cookies from oven. Allow to stand on baking sheet for a minute or two before removing to cooling racks (preferably nonstick cooling racks). Cool completely before glazing.

For Frosting:
In small heatproof bowl, combine chopped chocolate and butter bits. Place over simmering water on low heat; stir often just until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and hot water. All at once, add confectioners' sugar; DO NOT STIR. Add 1 Tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. hot water, and blend well (a small whisk is very helpful here). Gradually add enough of the remaining hot water to achieve a good spreading consistency. Remember, this is a frosting, not a glaze, so don't have it too runny.

Place a generous half-teaspoon (not a measuring teaspoon) on the top of each cookie, spreading it out slightly. You want a rim of unfrosted cookie to show at the edges, so don't cover the tops completely. As the frosting sets fairly quickly, it is best to place it onto each cooled cookie, then spread it, before moving on to the next cookie. After frosting 3 or 4 cookies, place a pinch of coconut for garnish on top of the frosting on each one, pressing the coconut into the frosting very gently. If the frosting becomes too stiff to spread easily while you're working with it, whisk in a few drops of hot water and spreading consistency should be restored.

The frosted and garnished cookies can be served immediately. Otherwise, allow to sit at room temperature till frosting has set. Store airtight at room temperature for up to one day. For longer storage, line a cookie sheet or two with wax paper. Place frosted cookies in a single layer on lined sheet(s). Freeze until frozen through, then place in airtight freezer container (you can stack them once they're frozen) with wax paper between layers and return to freezer. Defrost at room temperature in a single layer, tightly covered.


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This page created September 2000