So, about these cookie trays that my great-aunt Dava [Barbaresi] Catone made for special occasions, I don’t really have any stories about them. If there were any shotgun weddings that had Dava cursing and baking all night long, I don’t know about them.
Many of the cookies she made weren’t Italian, including this one with shredded coconut. Think Russian tea cake if Russia had a timeshare in the tropics. Instead of powdered sugar, Dava applied an icing that she tinted mint green and then sprinkled more coconut on top. You’ll have to use your own good judgment on the icing; mint green might not win you any friends these days.
Anyway, Dava’s original recipe calls for oleo (margarine). The prevailing wisdom at the time was that margarine was better for you than butter. The prevailing wisdom today is the opposite. Welcome to the cycle of life. They’ll be good either way.
Husbands and toddlers love these cookies. Chopped macadamia nuts would also be great in the dough or sprinkled on top.
1 cup oleo (or butter)
5 Tbsp. powdered sugar
2 cups flour, sifted
1 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. oleo (or butter)
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 or 3 Tbsp. milk
¼ tsp. vanilla
Green food coloring
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream oleo and sugar. Stir in flour, coconut, and vanilla until blended. Chill dough 20 minutes or until firm enough to handle. With your hands, roll dough into 1-inch balls and place an inch apart on cookie sheets. Bake about 15 minutes (it took a bit longer in my oven), until dough just begins to crack. Cool.
For the icing, cream together oleo and sugar in a small bowl. Add milk and vanilla, and mix well. Add just enough tint to make a mint green color, and stir until you don’t care that the lumps are still there. Spoon over cookies and sprinkle with shredded coconut or chopped nuts.
Dava [Barbaresi] Catone
New Haven, Connecticut - Hamden, Connecticut
1921 - 1998
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