Coconut Almond Cookies: V-day Project

Valentine’s Day is not all about chocolates, any day I can have chocolates (my favorite is Cadbury Fruits and Nuts or Hazelnut Bar).   But my craving for this special love day happens to be cookies.  I probably blame my not liking for chocolates at all to chocolate overloads from print to TV.  And really, if I don’t make my homemade brownies, I skip brownies at parties.   So I searched my pantry for possibilities.  And I found a bag of sweetened shredded coconut and a bag of whole unblanched almonds…perfect!  Now I know how to turn these raw ingredients to a delicious Valentine’s Day treat that are sure to melt any lovey-dovey’s heart.   And there are more than 5 dozen bites to enjoy these no-fuss nutty and coconutty drop cookies  for a truly crunchy valentine’s day treat.

Start with blanching the almonds.  Cover shelled almonds with cold water and then bring to a boil.  Remove from heat; drain.  Let cool a bit until the nuts are not  “too hot” to handle (I meant the almonds, yo, mmm!).   Press each nut (now this gets me into my valentine mood!) between fingers to slip off skin or husk.  Drain dry on paper towels.

Next, toast the blanched almonds.    Heat oven to 350 F.   Spread almonds evenly in a single layer on a large ungreased baking sheet.   Place the baking sheet on the middle rack in the oven.    Bake the almonds for 15 minutes to 20 minutes, stirring/moving the almonds with a turner every 5 minutes.  Watch the almonds closely so as not to end up with burnt almonds.  Remove from oven and let cool before using.

Coconut Almond Cookies

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2/3 cup blanched and toasted almonds, chopped
1 jar maraschino cherries, drained and halved

Pan and oven preparation:  Lightly pam-spray 2 large cookie sheets, line with parchment paper and grease again with pam spray.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cream butter, shortening and sugars in a large mixing bowl with the use of electric mixer.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in almond extract.  Aerate flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl with a wire whisk and gradually add to creamed mixture.  Stir in the coconut and nuts and blend well.

Use a mini scooper to drop cookie doughs onto prepared pans, leaving 2 inches apart between cookies.  Place a half cherry in center of each cookies, pressing lightly.  Bake for about 13 to 1 minutes or edges are lightly browned.  Remove to wire racks to cool.  Makes about 5 to 6 dozens.

If this (Coconut Almond Cookies Gift) is love darlin’, I’m for having Valentine’s Day 365 days a year!

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