Coconut and White Chocolate Windmills

And here’s another cookie. I hope you are not tired of them. Christmas is not too far, and I’ve been trying new and revising old favorite recipes preparing to a big give-away baking. So far, there are about two dozens recipes more to go. Don’t be afraid, I’ll dilute the cookie posts with something else :)

I think this cookie idea comes originally from Martha Stewart (but I can be wrong… I’ve got the old hand-written recipe copied from somewhere a long time ago). Anyway, I made them before and didn’t like the dough much – it was unpleasant to work with and I didn’t like the taste the following day. So, this is a new and improved version of mine :) Honestly, the cookies turned out better. I made them quite big (about 3-inch); you can form smaller cookies if you prefer, but adjust the filling accordingly.

Makes about one and a half dozens

For the dough:

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 stick ( ¼ -lb; ½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted
  • 2 oz good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp pure coconut extract (optional)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp of water for the egg wash
  • About 2 tbsp Demerara sugar for sprinkling

Make the dough:

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

I found the easiest way to make the dough is in the food processor. But it also can be made without this device. Simply, beat the butter, cream cheese, and sugar with an electric beaters, then add the yolk, vanilla, then the dry ingredients, mix just until combined.

Or, in the bowl of the food processor, combine the butter, cream cheese, granulated sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Pulse several times until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the flour mixture and pulse until moist pebbles form. Don’t overprocess. Halve the dough and form each portion into a rectangle. Wrap each portion into plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 ½ hours. The dough can be made a day in advance. You will have to soften it slightly before rolling, so, take it out of the refrigerator 15 to 20 minutes prior.

Make the filling:

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with a hand-held electric mixer (a wooden spoon will work, too) until well combined. Stir in the coconut, chopped chocolate, and coconut extract (if using). Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside.

Assemble and bake the cookies:

When you are ready to bake, center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Put the lined baking sheet into another sheet to protect the bottoms of the cookies from overbrowning.

Work with one dough portion at a time. With a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough on a parchment lined surface to about 1/8-inch thickness. Chill the dough briefly it gets too soft, then continue rolling. With a pizza wheel, cut the dough into equal 3-inch size squares (use a ruler if you wish). Transfer the squares onto the prepared baking sheet spacing them about 1-inch apart. Using a sharp knife or the same pizza wheel, cut 1 ½ -inch slits diagonally from each corner leaving a center for the filling. If you use the silicone mat, cut the slits on your working surface, then carefully transfer the squares onto the sheet.

Place about a tablespoon of the filling into the center of each square. Fold every other tip over the filling to form a windmill. Brush a little bit of the egg wash between the tips to ensure a good seal. Transfer the cookies on the sheet into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes while working onto the second portion of the dough.

Brush the chilled cookies lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with some Demerara sugar. Bake in batches, until the cookies are light golden color, about 20 minutes. Cool on the sheet on a rack for 15 minutes to firm up. Then carefully transfer the cookies on the rack to cool completely. The cookies can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving. If you decide to make them several days in advance you might consider putting the cookies back into the oven for a few minutes to freshen them up and return their crispiness.