Shortbread cookies have always held a special place in my heart stomach.  A buttery cookie that is simultaneously tender yet crisp…perfection, in my book.  Even plain shortbread is a lovely treat but this toasted coconut version has long been a favorite of mine.  The toasted coconut gives the cookies a subtle depth of flavor that makes them irresistible.

I’ve made these cookies several times but they never survived long enough for a photo.  With the holiday baking season almost upon us (woot!), it’s time to start planning what treats make the cut.  These are definitely on my list.  To simplify them for making large quantities, you can roll out the dough and cut in a grid formation using a ruffled edge pastry cutter rather than individual cookie cutters, rerolling dough scraps, etc.  The chocolate coconut garnish is entirely optional (the cookies are still totally stellar without it), but it makes for a pretty presentation.


For the cookies: 
1 cup shredded coconut*
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
1¼ tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour

To finish (optional):
Bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped and melted
Toasted coconut*


  • 01

    Add the coconut to a medium skillet over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the coconut is lightly browned, being careful not to burn it.   Set aside to cool.

  • 02

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Blend in the salt and vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour just until incorporated and a dough begins to form.  Mix in the toasted coconut.  Form a disc of dough and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.  Transfer to the refrigerator and let chill at least 1 hour or until firm.

  • 03

    Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Line baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to just less than ¼-inch thickness.  Use a cookie cutter or pastry cutter to cut out cookie shapes.  Transfer to the prepared baking sheets.  Reroll dough scraps as needed.

  • 04

    Bake until light golden and crisp, rotating the pans halfway through baking, about 16-18 minutes total.  (Baking time will vary depending on the size/shape of your cookies.  Keep an eye on them!)  Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • 05

    If desired, dip cookies or drizzle with melted chocolate.  Transfer to a pan lined with wax or parchment paper.  Sprinkle with toasted coconut.  Let chocolate set completely before removing from the pans.

  • 06

    *For the dough, I prefer unsweetened shredded coconut if available.  For garnish, I prefer the look of the sweetened shredded coconut.

  • Those cookies look delicious! Great idea with the coconut.

  • If a Mound’s bar threw a Christmas party with shortbread, the result would be this cookie! So elegant, but so fun. As always Annie, your ideas make me want to run to the kitchen and bust out my sack of flour!

  • These cookies are beautiful – I’ve been on a major coconut kick lately! Yum!

  • these look divine.

  • tinned tomatoes

    What an utterly delightful presentation, they look such a treat..

  • SoDomesticated

    Coconut, shortbread, and chocolate… right up my alley!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape

    Such a fantastic recipe! Love it!

  • I made some coconut shortbread a few years ago and loved it, thanks for the reminder that I need to bake some more!

  • Kat

    Thanks for posting this recipe. I’ve been looking for a reason to use up the rest of my toasted coconut left over from my samoas cupcakes order. Cheers to the sweet life! :)

  • Caroline L.

    Shortbread is definitely my favorite type of cookie, and it always reminds me of the holiday season!

  • looks amazing!

  • LeAndra

    I love to bake cookies for Valentine’s Day. These sweets look like the perfect gifts to give when that mid-winter holiday rolls around. Looking forward to trying them!

  • Loretta E

    I can’t believe how easy these are! And they’re super impressive looking, which is a huge bonus!

  • Yummy! These look so great…I love shortbread too! :)

  • Annika

    I made these cookies this weekend, and they tasted amazing! My friends and family love them! These are totally going on my Christmas baking list!

  • jennifer

    I Just made these and they were delicious! Thanks for posting!

  • Greer

    I can’t wait to try these! I have been looking for a heart-shaped cookie cutter, where did you get this one?

  • annieseats

    I don’t even remember but they shouldn’t be hard to find. I feel like I see them pretty much anywhere that sells cookie cutters!

  • Shortbread cookies have my heart as well – I love that crumbly buttery thing they have going, but would definitely love them even more with chocolate and coconut!

  • sweetsugarbelle

    Saving this recipe! Going to try decorating them!

  • I want to make these for a cookie exchange, but cannot find UNsweetened shredded coconut anywhere. Any suggestions?

  • annieseats

    I would just used sweetened. It will still be great!

  • Thanks!

  • Lauren M

    I noticed in the original recipe it calls for the coconut to be ground in the food processor-did you do this? I assume it didn’t affect the texture-just trying to avoid taking the food processor out! Thanks!

  • annieseats

    No, I prefer some texture so I purposely skipped that step. Enjoy!

  • I want to link to this recipe on my blog. May I have permission to use your photo?

  • annieseats

    Sure, you are welcome to use the photo and link back to my site for the recipe. Thanks!

  • Oh my goodness! These look divine! (Thanks to Marilyn Yocum for leading me here!)

  • MrsNumbles

    Starting these right now as part of my Christmas baking…the toasted coconut smells divine!

  • Vanessa F.

    Made these this last weekend in a star shape to include in our Christmas assortment – and I love, love, love them! Such a great idea to dress them up a little with chocolate and more coconut. Like Deb@SmittenKitchen’s husband, I’ve never cared for coconut … a texture thing, I think. However, these cookies have converted me :)

  • These were amazing, my neices all time fav christmas cookie

  • Guest

    I had some coconut so I just made these–they are absolutely divine! So, so delicious (as usual with your recipes)! Also, I love that platter you have the cookies on..where is it from?

    p.s. On the topic of dishes, I’ve been wondering…you have gorgeous photo displays for all of your recipes, and you’re always using entirely different dishes! You must have a crazy amount of them. :) My questions is where do you buy most of them? For one, because I love them all, and for two, because anytime I try to buy dishes they are always sold in at least a pack of 4, and surely you don’t buy entire sets of every dish pattern!

  • annieseats

    All over the place really. I haven’t found many stores that sell dishes in packs of multiples unless you are buying actual dinnerware sets. Target, Crate & Barrel, etc. have plenty of loose serveware. So glad you enjoy the photos. Thanks!

  • Gerra Jones

    These came out amazing. The smell of the shortbread cookies perfumed the whole house and most of all the taste- TO DIE FOR. Except I added some melted butter to make the dough come together properly. Other than that, deliciously divine!

  • Amanda

    I baked these for my son’s end of the year preschool party (along with your soft sugar cookies) and I had two people track me down asking for the recipe. They looked so elegant with the chocolate and coconut. The best part was that I made a double batch and froze the rest in a log. I sliced them and have the rest baking now for a last minute dessert to bring to a friend’s house.