Cookie Week: Coconut Shortbreads and a Holiday Cookie Baking Giveaway

**UPDATE: Congratulations to Mads from California. She is the lucky winner of my Holiday Cookie Baking Giveaway. Enjoy your goodies, Mads, and thank you for supporting Cookies for Kids Cancer. You are a Good Cookie!**

It’s Be A Good Cookie Week! Is there any more perfect holiday treat than cookies? They’re easy to make and fun to bake. It’s one of my favorite things about the holiday season. I can’t speak for all of the other little elves participating in this project, but I’m pumped. Cookie Week is going to rock! Much like Pie Week in November, my blogging inner circle was inspired by Kirsten at Comfortably Domestic to do something this holiday season that would bring us all together. In this case, she added a special invitation to help her bake for a cause – Cookies for Kids Cancer, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting pediatric cancers.

This organization started with a mother named Gretchen and her son Liam, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Unwilling to stand by and do nothing, Gretchen decided to hold a bake sale with the goal of baking 96,000 cookies with the help of family, friends and volunteers. Three weeks later, they had raised over $400,000 for pediatric cancer research. From there, it blossomed into something even she couldn’t predict. Cookies for Kids Cancer is now nationwide, and has captured the hearts of people everywhere.

Kirsten was the first in our group to jump on the band wagon and with good cause. She lost her little sister Cheryl to pediatric cancer. Needless to say, Cookies for Kids Cancer touched Kirsten in a very personal and profound way. I’m fortunate to have never experienced this personally, but because I love Kirsten and she loved Cheryl, and because parents everywhere may someday face this same challenge, I’m proud to join their efforts and bake for a cause this holiday season along with a special group blogging friends.

For Pie Week, we used Kirsten’s fabulously flawless “No Excuses Pie Dough” as our common thread. For Cookie Week, we each selected a recipe from the Cookies for Kids Cancer: Best Bake Sale Cookbook by Gretchen Holt-Witt. Yes, she’s the same Gretchen who started that first bake sale for her son Liam. All of Gretchen’s author proceeds from the sale of the book benefit pediatric research, just like her bake sales. More about the cookbook in a little bit.

For Cookie Week, I selected Toasted Coconut Shortbread Cookies. I knew as soon as I saw this recipe it was perfect for me. I love shortbread and coconut. Here is the original recipe from the Cookies for Kids Cancer cookbook:

1/2 cup of sweetened flaked coconut
2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup of powdered sugar
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups of flour
1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt

But I tripled the recipe so I could bake extras for a cookie exchange next week. And because I can never leave well enough alone, I also tweaked it a little. You should know by now that I can never seem to make any recipe as written. Here’s my ingredient list:

2 cups of sweetened flaked coconut
2 cups of slivered almonds
6 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of almond extract
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
6 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 bag of dark or semisweet chocolate chips for dipping

Pre-heat the oven to 250F. Spread coconut and slivered almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. In a food processor, pulse the coconut and almonds until finely ground (but not completely pulverized).

Place butter, sugars and extracts into mixer bowl with paddle attachment and beat until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the coconut and almonds to the butter & sugar mixture and beat on low speed until well combined. Gradually add the flour and salt. Mix until well beaten. (In my case, I had to remove the bowl from the mixer and stir the end of the flour in by hand. Triple the dough was a little too much for my 6 quart stand mixer.) Scrape out of bowl onto waxed paper or the counter top. If needed, knead the dough gently until it forms a cohesive ball. Divide and roll the dough into 1 1/2″ to 2” diameter logs. Wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap & aluminum foil. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or freeze for up to 2 months.

To bake, slice cookie dough logs into 1/4″ slices and place them about 1″ apart on a lined cookie sheet. I use silpat mats, but if you don’t have them, use parchment paper instead. Pre-heat your oven to 350F. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges start to turn a light brown. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet. Remove to parchment paper or cooling racks and allow the cookies to cool completely.

At this point, you can stack them into airtight containers or layer them in rows into freezer bags. But why stop there? Let’s kick it up another notch by dipping them in dark or semisweet chocolate. Shall we? In a microwave safe bowl, microwave one bag of chocolate chips at full power for 1 minute. Stir and microwave again, in 30-second intervals, until the chips are melted. Whisk thoroughly to remove all lumps, and move to a flat surface for dipping. Spreading out a long strip of parchment or waxed paper, dip one shortbread at a time, covering about 3/4 of the cookie’s surface. Allow the excess to drip off, then scrape the bottom of the cookie off on the edge of the bowl. Place the cookie immediately onto parchment paper and allow to cool. If you’re really clever, put that parchment paper on a baking sheet, and you’ll be able to pop your cookies straight into the fridge or freezer until the chocolate is fully set.

There you have it. Toasted Coconut Shortbread Cookies from the Cookies for Kids Cancer: Best Bake Sale Cookbook with a NanaBread twist, baked in honor of Kirsten & her sister Cheryl, and Gretchen & her son Liam, and for kids everywhere who are facing cancers no child should ever endure.

Now on to the giveaway. Here is what one lucky reader will win:

You know you want to win this spectacular Cookie Week giveaway!

One copy of the Cookies for Kids Cancer: Best Bake Sale Cookbook
One OXO “Good Cookie” Spatula, benefiting pediatric cancer
One holiday print apron, handmade by NanaBread (that’s me!)
One cookie-themed holiday kitchen towel
One set of my favorite Nordicware mini-spatulas
One boxed set of sprinkles for decorating holiday cookies
Two sets (3 each) of colorful metal cookie cutters
Two sets of holiday treat sacks for sharing with others
Two silicone hot pads in red & green (to match your apron)
And lastly, one small Christmas Cookie candle by Yankee Candle Co.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Holy cow! How can I win this fabulous cookie baking giveaway extravaganza!” Well, here’s how you can do it. And the good news is, each of you has the chance to earn multiple entries.

A few quick rules & a disclaimer:
1. You must be a resident of the United States to participate.
2. You must provide a valid e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.
3. They call it ‘the honor system’ for a reason, so please play fair.
4. Entries must be posted by noon CST on Sunday, December 18, 2011.
5. All prizes are provided by me and paid for with my own money.

Required Entry: leave a comment & tell me your favorite holiday cookie

Bonus Entries: (a new comment must be entered for each of the following)

1. Buy a copy of the Cookies for Kids Cancer: Best Bake Sale Cookbook OR an OXO “Good Cookie” spatula, even if it is a holiday gift for a friend or family member, then return here and leave a comment telling me which item you purchased to help benefit pediatric cancer research.

2. Make a donation to Cookies for Kids Cancer at then leave a comment letting me know that you made a donation to support pediatric cancer research.

3. Tweet the following: “I entered to win a Cookie Week Giveaway in support of Cookies for Kids Cancer at @HeyNanaBread and so can you!” and return to let me know you tweeted.

4. Share the link to my blog post about Cookies For Kids Cancer on your Facebook page, then come back and post a comment telling me you did so.

5. Share a virtual cookie from Glad on Facebook, and come back and leave a comment on this post telling me you did so.

6. Visit the Glad website, official sponsor & supporter of Cookies for Kids Cancer, and register to have your holiday baking counted as a corporate donation. That’s right – Glad will donate 10 cents for each cookie donated, sold, exchanged or given as a gift this holiday season (up to $100,000). Just count your cookies, register your information, and come back here to tell me you signed up at to make your cookies count for the cause.

That’s seven (7) ways each of you can enter to win. Or seven potential entries for each overachiever who participates. It’s just that easy. And it gets even better. My friend Kirsten at Comfortably Domestic is also holding a giveaway for Cookie Week, so go to her blog (link below) and enter to win both giveaways! On Sunday, December 18th, I will select one winner randomly from the comments I receive. The winner will be e-mailed and must confirm, so be sure to use a valid e-mail address. Your e-mail address will be seen only by me, and will not be shared. Once a winner is confirmed, an update will be added to this blog post.

Don’t forget to check in this week with all of our Cookie Week bloggers. These little elves will be serving up their own selections from the Cookies for Kids Cancer Best Bake Sale Cookbook:

Monday – Kirsten from Comfortably Domestic – also having a giveaway
Tuesday – Jeanne from Inside NanaBread’s Head (hey, that’s me!)
Wednesday – Megan from Wanna Be A Country Clever
Thursday – Kat from Tenaciously Yours
Friday – Mads from La Petite Pancake
Saturday – Allison from Decadent Philistines Save the World

Happy holiday baking and thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping make pediatric cancer the ghost of Christmas Past.



Filed under Food & Recipes

51 responses to “Cookie Week: Coconut Shortbreads and a Holiday Cookie Baking Giveaway

  1. Jeanne, I smiled when I read that Gretchen’s benevolent idea snowballed into the national event ‘Cookies For Kids Cancer’. And my smile was sustained when I saw your tweaked adaptation of the recipe presented here… These cookies are glorious and the additions with the special decorative touch make them completely inviting. Brava to you and the participants in raising awareness and much needed funds for an all-too-important cause!

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  3. Holy cow! How can I win this fabulous cookie baking extravaganza giveaway?!

    Oh, wait. I know the answer to that question. Love, love, LOVE this post!! Your giveaway basket kicks my giveaway baskets a$%! That’s OK, because together we are *all* going to help kick some pediatric cancer ass! There. I cursed on your blog. I think sometimes a well placed curse word is warranted. ;) But, I’ll totally blame it on Megan. ;)

    I’m adding the NanaBread version (sans almond ingredients, unfortunately) to my cookie exchange list for this weekend. I can’t thank you ladies enough for…well, for everything!

    • You so funny. Everything about your comment made me smile, except the part where you can’t have nuts in your house. I’m sure these are just as fabulous without the almonds. Although, having said that, I’m totally trying them with macadamia nuts next time I make them. You should just fly down here and make them with me. You know you want to. :)

      • I think that should be qualified as can’t have food nuts in the house – clearly BS and Sons 1-4 are nutters in a different kind of way, amiright?

      • You make a valid point. But we’d also have to be careful referring to them as Tree Nuts or we’ll inadvertantly exclude all of Monica’s (The Grommom) boys in Hawaii. Those boys are nuts for climbing trees. And yes, that’s a hint of jealousy you hear. Frankly, I’d love a week in either place. Hilarity and ‘boy stuff’ is sure to ensue in either location.

  4. Jill J

    Oh my goodness – those cookies look and sound divine! Going to have to try those out :) One of my favorite cookies around the holidays are homemade gingersnaps!

    • I love a good gingersnap, too. Last year, I ground them up in my food processor with some cream cheese & powdered sugar and made gingersnap truffles. Dipped those suckers in white chocolate and sprinkled gingersnap crumbs on top. They were fabulous (and incredibly easy). Thanks for entering, Jill!

  5. Terri

    Not only is this a cause near & dear to my heart, but I love baking (& eating) cookies! I’d love to win the giveaway. Oh, I forgot to mention my favorite holiday cookie. Whatever is in my hand … haha … but if I have to pick, probably coconut macaroons & snickerdoodles.

    • Loved your “whatever is on hand” comment about holiday cookies. I feel the same way! I’m an equal opportunity cookie snarfer. Thanks for supporting Cookies for Kids Cancer, Terri!

  6. Terri

    Tweet complete!

  7. Your cookies look so good! And what a great give-a-way! My current favorites are orange slice cookies! I was just saying this morning that it was time to bake some more! Yum!

    • Wow – talk about timing. I have friends coming over next week to bake holiday cookies, and Orange Slice Cookies are on our list! Love that recipe. I even posted it on my blog last year. It’s one of those “oldies but goodies” that stand the test of time. Thanks for dropping in and helping us wipe out pediatric cancer, Gina!

  8. My favorite holiday cookie is gingerbread.

    • Gingerbread is a true holiday treat. I especially love gingerbread houses this time of year. They’re so much fun. Thank you for dropping in and sharing your favorite, Lisa!

  9. Denise B

    Sugar cookies!

  10. Kat

    Beautifully written.

    This is yet another example of how excited I am that I already have the recipe :) I will be writing-in the bit about dipping these in chocolate.

    • Thank you, Kat. Can’t wait to see what cookie shenanigans you get into later this week! PS – everything is better dipped in chocolate. Okay, maybe not canned tuna. But just about everything else. Happy holidays to you & Marcus!

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  13. My favorite holiday cookie is always those peanut butter ones with the Hershey’s kiss in the middle. Are they called kiss cookies? I have no idea, but they are delicious.
    I also fall madly and deeply in love with any batch of fudge or truffle that crosses my path.

    • In my little corner of the south, we call those Peanut Butter Blossom cookies. I’m a big fan of peanut butter cookies, too. Especially the really dense flourless version. I like ’em chewy. Yum. Not a big fudge fan, but I am all in on the truffle love. Especially if dark chocolate is involved. Can’t pass them up. Ever.

  14. Deb

    YUM! I’ll be making these for the Hubby! He LOVES coconut!!! So these will be a hit!! My fav’s have to be the DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies! I LOVE THEM!! I make them here at home with their recipe from the web! Problem is, I will snarf down every one of them!!! They go straight to my butt, so I am sure to eat them in even numbers, that way they will distribute evenly ; ))) However, having said that I really haven’t met a cookie I haven’t liked! I’ve even been known to hide them from my family! Yes it’s mean & evil, don’t judge me, LOL!

    • I laughed out loud at your “even numbers” theory. Never thought of that one! I’m so happy Hubby will get a new cookie this holiday season. Let me know if he liked them, okay? I’ve never heard of the DoubleTree CC recipe, but you can bet I’ll be searching for it. It’s hard to imagine a better chocolate chip cookie than TCP’s, but I’d be willing to give them a shot. As for hiding cookies, my lips are sealed, Deb. {zip!}

  15. Cindy

    My favorite Christmas cookie is an iced sugar cookie. They look so pretty and the combo of the sweet icing and the teacake quality of the cookie is a big winner in my book!

    • If you’re talking about those soft lofthouse style sugar cookies, I agree! As a kid, I never liked sugar cookies (except for my Mom’s butter spritz). As an adult, I am starting to appreciate them more. A soft sugar cookie with frosting and sprinkles makes me happy now.

  16. Big Sis

    They look fabulous darling!! I might have to make those! love ya

    • You really should try them. I know you’ll like them. I mean… coconut, almonds & dark chocolate all in one shortbread? What’s not to love? Go ahead. Do it. I double-dog dare you! :)

  17. Julie Taylor

    I love shortbread cookies!

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  19. Em

    I love mexican haystacks–the butterscotch is delicious!

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  21. Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker

    I shared a cookie on fb, too.

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  23. Love that apron! I’m especially impressed as my sewing skills ends at putting a button back on, although I have managed to make a t-shirt quilt two times now (straight lines – NBD).
    These cookies are so fun and versatile! Totally want!

    • Thanks for the apron love. I loved that festive print when I saw it, too. If you win it, you’ll have to promise to post a photo of you baking in it. (With other clothes on as well, please. This is a family show. Right?) And you are correct about the shortbread recipe. It is really versatile. Next time, I’m going to try them with coconut & macadamia nuts dipped in white chocolate. Mmmmm….

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  30. Kathy S

    I love the traditional sugar cookies that are rolled out and cut with cookie cutters. We decorate them as a family.

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