As kids would have to eat their cereal before heading off to school every morning in north America, we grew up (if we didn’t want actual food) drinking tea. Now here’s the thing about “tea”… basically this would mean just about any hot drink. So it could well be coffee, Milo, Ovaltine, chocolate tea, actual green tea.. the list is fairly long. Along with tea we usually had a slice of cake, sweet bread, crackers or coconut drops.
I must confess that I’ve not had coconut drops in quite some time, so when the scent of them baking in the oven blanketed the kitchen, it brought back a rush of childhood memories. I was one of those kids who loved school and looked forward to it, when most kids didn’t.
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 stick butter (about 2 oz or 4 tablespoons)
1 large egg
3 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon Angostura Bitters
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup shredded coconut (see note below)
about 1/2 cup water
For the glaze
2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup water
Notes: Traditionally, fresh grated coconut is used for this recipe. But since I don’t have access to the fresh stuff, I had to settle for the packaged shredded coconut. I did end up using the sweetened variety, but if you have the unsweetened one, feel free to use that. Since my dough was a bit dry, I had to add some water. I ended up using about 1/2 cup as noted in the list of ingredients above, but this may vary for you. Use it as a guide. You’re looking for a dough which is somewhat firm and can keep it’s shape while baking.
Start by creaming the butter and sugar in a bowl. Make sure the butter is at room temperature to make this easier. I started off using a large spoon (use the back of it to work the butter/sugar combo against the walls of the bowl) but I ended up using an electric hand mixer. You’re looking for a smooth, creamy sort of texture with no feel (gritty) of sugar left back. I then added the egg, vanilla and bitters to the mixture and give it a good whisk.
Then in a large bowl, I put the flour, cinnamon and baking powder and gave it good whisk to make sure everything is blended well. Then I poured in the creamed butter mixture and created a dough. This will be a bit tough to work, so I add the water I mentioned in the notes above. I’m not sure how this would work in an electric mixer, but manually it takes a bit of muscle. I ended up using my hands at one point.
The final step of preparing the dough is to fold in the shredded coconut and raisins.
With your oven at 350 degrees, grease a cookie sheet, or as I did.. line it with parchment paper. Now spoon on the batter onto the cookie sheet and bake for about 25-30 minutes. It will start to go golden. I did two batches of 12.
After about 25 minutes remove it from the oven and brush on the simple glaze. Basically it’s sugar dissolved in warm water and brushed onto the tops of the coconut drops. You can also sprinkle on some sugar on top of each, to add that extra touch. Place back in the oven for 2-3 minutes.
The true master at these drops as well as coconut sweet bread is my grandmother, but she’s turning 95 this year so baking is out of the question these days. Reminds me that the next time I head down to the islands I’ll have to make sure and get her recipe. Before you head to your kitchen to make up a batch of these coconut drops, do leave me your comments below and be sure to connect with us on Facebook. And don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos.