Coconut cookies

Decorate your coconut cookies with toppings of your choice.

My son-in-law Adam loves Tennis biscuits. They are hard to come by in America, so while he was here on holiday, he made the most of it, enjoying them whenever he could.

When his holiday came to an end and he headed back to Utah, he went shopping, and bought a small stock of the different flavours to take back with him.

Always a favourite of mine, I now cannot eat them because of the gluten content, but my interest was piqued once more, and I realised just how constraining gluten intolerance can be.

My gloomy observations about how much I miss Tennis biscuits prompted dear Elspeth to come to my rescue, and conjure up a coconut cookie recipe – which comes as close to Tennis biscuits as you’re ever going to get, but using a gluten-free flour mix.

We baked them together on Saturday morning, so when I go to Utah early August, I’ll be able to bake some afresh for Adam, who by then will have finished his stock of Tennis biscuits.

Unlike the commercial product, Elspeth’s coconut cookies are topped with glacè cherries, chocolate vermicelli, coloured sprinkles or those little silver balls, and granddaughter Erin voted the glacè cherries as the best topping, and I must say, I do agree with her.

The recipe includes conventional flour and gluten-free flour.

Ingredients, selection and preparation

75g unsalted butter

130g self-raising flour


100g gluten-free flour mix (see below) plus 2 tsp baking powder

150g desiccated coconut

150g icing sugar

1 egg: beaten

Gluten-free flour mix

160g superfine brown rice flour

160g superfine white rice flour

80g tapioca starch

100g potato starch

18g xantham gum

8g pure powdered pectin


Pre-heat your oven to 160°C.

Melt the butter in the micro-wave, and while that is doing. Sift together the flour and icing sugar.

Mix together the flour and icing sugar with the desiccated coconut, then add the melted butter, and mix until a dough starts to form. A stand mixer or food processor makes this process much easier.

Add the beaten egg, and continue mixing until all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

Roll the dough into cherry tomato sized balls. Flatten the balls into a cookie shape and place on a baking sheet on baking paper, spaced about 2cm apart, as the dough spreads so mewhat while baking.

Decorate the cookies with your favourite topping(s), and press down gently with a small spatula.

Bake in mid-oven for five to seven minutes, then turn the tray and bake for a further five to seven minutes.

Watch them carefully during the second baking, as the coconut burns quite easily.

Set aside to cool and enjoy with your favourite tea or coffee. Or just on their own. Anytime.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10-15 minutes

Yield: 36 cookies