Coconut Oil White Chocolate Cookies
I don’t know why I waited this long to make cookies with coconut oil.
Cookie baking will never be the same.
I’m no stranger to using, cooking, and baking with coconut oil. I have 40+ Coconut and Coconut Oil Recipes. I’ve used it on Roasted Vegetables and Chocolate Coconut Kale Chips. I’ve made No-Bake Coconut and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites and have baked Samoas Bars, but had never made cookies with it.
I worried the coconut oil was going to turn the cookie dough into a soupy, sloppy mess and I hate wasting time and ingredients. But curiosity got the better of me, I tried it, and I’m in coconutty lust with the results.
Normally I am a butter-only girl with cookies. The taste and richness are hard to give up, and as a baker, it lends a consistency to dough that’s difficult to replicate. Of the probably 35 cookie recipes on my site, only one uses shortening, Puffy Vanilla and Peanut Butter Chip Cookies. Ironically, they got pretty popular on Pinterest for awhile, but they aren’t my personal favorite because I miss the butter.
I sure didn’t miss the butter in these cookies. Coconut oil proves to be every bit as flavorful and rich as butter does, but in a different way. Coconut oil is not a flavor-neutral oil and anyone who says it doesn’t make your food taste like coconut has different taste buds than I do. Or they use a brand I’ve not tried.
I’ve tried many brands, including Tropical Traditions, Kelapo, Trader Joe’s, Nutiva, Nature’s Way, Spectrum, and Artisana. For these cookies I used Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil. The main distinctions among coconut oils, after organic versus non-organic, is in the refined versus unrefined aspect. Refined is more highly processed and generally has less coconut flavor; unrefined is processed less and has more coconut flavor. It’s been suggested that people who don’t like coconut should try refined since it’s less in-your-face.
However, I think all coconut oil, no matter the brand or type, imparts flavor. Here, the coconut oil perfumes the dough and the overall coconut flavor is palpable, but it’s in the background. It doesn’t cause me to feel like I’m eating tanning lotion or anything. It’s subtle yet present.
If you don’t like coconut or coconut oil, I won’t tell you to make these cookies. There are plenty of other cookies to try. But for anyone on the fence about coconut, who likes it, or if you love it, please make these cookies asap.
Coconut oil keeps them soft, moist, and tender. It imparts richness, fattiness, and a melt-in-your mouth quality without being greasy in the least. I’ve had greasier storebought granola bars than the cookies. And because coconut oil and the overall flavor of the dough base was just begging for a little something extra, a copious amount of white chocolate chips prominently rounds out the flavors.
I made the cookies by adapting one of my favorite cookie dough bases, the Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookie base. I’ve used it in Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies, Maraschino Cherry White Chocolate Cookies, and now these. It worked beautifully.
Begin by combining coconut oil with sugars, an egg, vanilla extract, and cream the ingredients until they’re soft and fluffy, about five minutes. It’s important to use coconut oil that’s softened to the consistency of softened butter. The same consistency you’d use for creaming butter with sugars and eggs in traditional cookie dough.
If your coconut oil is rock hard, microwave it in a small bowl for five or ten seconds, or just until it begins to soften. If it’s runny or melted, place it in the freezer momentarily until it firms up. A tiny amount of runniness is fine; it’s an oil and that happens. But do not use melted or purely liquid coconut oil because you can’t effectively cream a liquid; it would be like trying to cream liquid butter. Doesn’t work.
Add the flours, baking soda, and mix to just incorporate. I used a combination of bread and all-purpose flours in these cookies. I feel like a broken record saying this, but bread flour has a slightly higher protein and gluten content (11-12%) than all-purpose (10%), and that little bit of extra gluten helps create chewier baked goods with greater structure. Cookies made with bread flour are chewier and less prone to spreading while baking.
I didn’t want my cookies to spread, and figured with the coconut oil they could use all the help they could get. You could likely get away with exclusively using all-purpose, but I haven’t tried. For $4.99 and a bag of flour, you have insurance against spreading, and you can make more cookies, dinner rolls, and soft pretzels, too. Lucky you.
The dough is thick yet light, and reminds me a bit of Play-Doh. When pinched, it should hold together it’s shape and stick together, but it’s not tacky like regular chocolate chip cookie dough. If you pull off a little hunk and make a marble with it, it should hold together easily, not crumble; nor should it be oily, loose, or falling apart. If your dough isn’t holding a shape and is loose, add a tablespoon or two more flour to dry it out; or if you’ve overdone the flour, adding a teeny tiny drizzle of coconut oil will moisten it back up.
Fold in the white chocolate chips and although you could use milk or semi-sweet sweet, I think white chocolate and coconut are the perfect paring. And even though I hate nuts in baked goods, I mean, I despise pebbles in satiny dough. But if there was ever a cookie that I could really see macadamia nuts working with, it’s this one. It would be take the classic white chocolate macadamia nut cookie to new heights. But I had no intentions of putting rocks into this soft, buttery, butter-less dough.
Form the cookies into mounds that are 2.25-ounces each by weight, or just shy of one-quarter cup in size, about three heaping tablespoons of dough. The recipe only makes 15 cookies so you could just divide into fifteen equal-sized mounds. I used a cookie scoop to dig out the dough from the mixing bowl, then rolled the balls in my hands a bit to smooth them. If the white chocolate chips are falling out, just keep putting them back in and squeezing them in.
Flatten the mounds slightly. They still should be domed, but don’t keep them in perfectly round balls with tons of height because they won’t cook through properly. It’s very important to get your dough in exactly the shape you plan to bake it inbecause after you chill it, you can’t change the shape. And it goes without saying, warm Play-Doh is not suitable for baking. Don’t even think about not chilling it. Place all the mounds on a large plate, cover it with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 5 days, before baking.
Bake the cookies at 350F for 9 to 11 minutes. My dough was rock hard coming out of the refrigerator after a 3 day chill session, and I allowed it to sit on baking sheets at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. I baked for just under 10 minutes, rotating trays midway through. Keep an eye on these and err on the lower end of the baking time range if you’re unsure. The tops should barely be set, and will be glossy and appear underdone at 9 or 10 minutes, but they firm up as they cool. Any longer than 11 minutes and you run the risk of the bottoms browning too much. Everyone’s coconut oil, oven, climate, and personal preferences are different, but they taste best when they’re pale, soft, and gooey.
The cookies are a new favorite and I can’t wait to try other cookie recipes with coconut oil rather than butter. It was just like using a stick of butter, except it smells so much better than butter. The fragrance and flavor of coconut oil isn’t over-powering. It’s just right, even for those who don’t love-love coconut oil. Scott didn’t know what was different about these cookies and couldn’t put his finger on it until I told him. Then he proceeded to inhale a few.
The cookies have chewy edges and tender, dense interiors. They’re moist, soft, and stayed soft for days. They’re oozing with white chocolate and it’s a pronounced flavor. I’m a white chocolate fiend, so that’s especially perfect.
I feel like I’m on vacation when I inhale the scent of one of these.
There's no butter in these cookies and it's been replaced with coconut oil. If you've never baked with coconut oil, you're in for a real treat. The cookies don't taste overtly of coconut and instead, the coconut oil creates a subtly sweet undertone and perfumes the dough with a luscious scent. The cookies are soft and chewy with firmer edges and moist, soft, dense interiors. The white chocolate chips complement the flavor of the dough perfectly and are oozing in every bite. The coconut adds richness, depth of flavor, and you'll never miss the butter in these new favorites.
1/2 cup coconut oil, softened (softened to the consistency of soft butter; not rock hard and not runny or melted, see below)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup bread flour (all-purpose flour may be substituted and used exclusively; bread flour yields chewier cookies that will spread less and is recommended, see below)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
1 cup (6 ounces) white chocolate chips
1/2 to 1 cup roughly chopped macadamia nuts, optional
To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine coconut oil, egg, sugars, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed to cream until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Note - Coconut oil should be the consistency of soft butter like you'd use to cream with sugar and eggs in tradtional cookies. If coconut oil is rock hard, microwave it in a small bowl for 5 to 10 seconds or just until it begins to soften. If coconut oil is runny or melted, place it in the freezer momentarily until it firms up. A tiny amount of runniness is fine; it's an oil and that happens. But do not use melted or purely liquid coconut oil because you can't effectively cream a liquid; it would be like trying to cream liquid butter.
Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flours, baking soda, salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute. Solely using all-purpose flour will work, but the cookies will not be as chewy, may not rise as well, and may be more prone to spreading while baking. Bread flour creates chewier, puffier cookies that spread less.
Add the white chocolate, optional nuts (I didn't use any and if using the full cup, reduce the white chocolate somewhat so the dough can hold it all) and beat momentarily to incorporate or fold in by hand.
Using a 2-ounce or medium cookie scoop, form heaping mounds weighing 2 1/4-ounces each. This is a scant 1/4 cup of dough, or 3 heaping tablespoons; or divide dough into approximately 15 equal-sized pieces. They will look on the large side. Place dough mounds on a large plate, and slightly flatten each mound. Very important to get the dough mounds in the exact shape you want to bake them in because after chilling, flattening or re-shaping them is very difficult. Cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours; up to 5 days. Do not bake these cookies with dough that has not been properly chilled because they will spread.
Preheat oven to 350°F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat,, parchment, or spray with cooking spray. Place dough on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart; I bake a maximum of 8 per sheet. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until tops have just set, even if slightly undercooked and glossy in the center. They firm up as they cool and I recommend the lower end of the baking range because they taste best when softer and paler. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before moving. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.
Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies – These cookies inspired both today’s recipe and Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies because the dough base is just so scrumptious. There’s nothing fancy in the ingredients, but they combine so wonderfully to produce soft, chewy, and moist cookies with fragrant vanilla notes
White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies – The cookies are rolled in a cinnamon-sugar coating prior to baking, making for a truer snickerdoodle than the Sugar-Doodles (above), and they’re loaded with white chocolate chips
Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies – Inspired by the Sugar-Doodles, these cookies are part chewy sugar cookie with chewy edges and tender, soft, pillowy centers. And part Cranberry Bliss Bars, in cookie form. They’re bursting with texture and each bite is loaded with either tart and chewy cranberries or sweet and smooth white chocolate. As the cookies bake, the white chocolate melts and meshes with the buttery dough in a scrumptious way for a soft and moist cookie that’s a 2012 favorite. Since I posted them in December, I receive more praise and success stories from readers on these cookies than any other
Maraschino Cherry White Chocolate Cookies – Maraschino cherries play a starring role in these very soft cookies with chewy edges and tender, soft, pillowy centers. Coupled with an abundance of white chocolate in every bite, there’s plenty of texture in these uber moist cookies. A perfect choice for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, girlie birthdays, showers, or for anyone who loves cherries and melt-in-your-mouth cookies
Coconut Cream Pie Smoothie (vegan, GF) – A coconut cream pie in a glass
Coconut Oatmeal Toffee Cookies – Coconut flakes and oatmeal lend lots of texture to these hearty cookies, that are filled with toffee bits, chocolate, butterscotch, and white chocolate chips. I made them one day to clean out my pantry odds-and-ends. It’s a small batch recipe with an adaptable ingredients list
Peanut Butter Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies – One of my favorite cookies on my entire blog. From the peanut butter included, to the texture from the oats, and the sweet bits of white chocolate in each bite, they’re an all-time favorite. They stay soft and chewy for days. Very easy to make and no-mixer-required
Magic Eight Bars – Even people who claim they don’t like coconut have no problem devouring these bars, which are a spin on the popular Seven Layer Bars, Magic Bars, or Hello Dolly Bars as they’re also known
Coconut and Coconut Oil Recipes – 40+ recipes included that either use coconut oil, coconut milk, or shredded coconut. Everything from knockoff Girl Scout Homemade Samoas Bars that taste like the popular cookies to Coconut Milk Kefir to Roasted Fennel with Coconut Oil
Do you like coconut and coconut oil? Do you bake or cook with it?
If you have favorite recipes feel free to share the links.