Man, it’s been dark times lately. Between ongoing natural disasters, an unstable government, fake out missile threats, sexual predators lurking behind desks, cameras and stethoscopes and all that “fake news”, it’s enough to make anyone hide under the covers and call for their mommy. I’m doing my best to stay optimistic but I’ve got to admit, all of the bad news has been bad for my sunny disposition.
I was so over 2017 and ready to greet 2018 with open arms and a sunny smile wide enough to outshine all of the depressing shit that went down in 2017. Unfortunately, throughout January, I’ve felt my smile shapeshift into more of a concerned grimace laced with undertones of fear and uncertainty. It’s not a good look.
So, I am working on small ways to lighten the heavy mood, I’m seeking silliness and real life LOLs. Baking cookies is obviously a quick way to turn that frown upside down. But, I wanted to go beyond a flashing smile. While making these goofy little Gingerbread Coconut Llama Cookies I found myself giggling over their oddly shaped bodies and wild coconut fur. And after hours of entertainment, I can safely say these Gingerbread Coconut Llama Cookies are undeniable smile inducers. I mean, just look at these fluffy little stinkers and try not to crack a smile. It’s. Not. Possible. You can taste the happiness too. These llama shaped cookies with textural semi-sweet shredded coconut set against rich, molasses and gingery, cinnamon spice are packed with flavors that will warm you up and get you grinning.
I first developed these darling little Gingerbread Coconut Llama Cookies between evacuations in December, I’d hoped to post them as a holiday recipe, but you know, life and mother nature had other plans. I figure it’s still winter and we could all use a warm up from those wintery spices. These Gingerbread Coconut Llama Cookies are just too sweet not to share.
It’s funny how during hardships it’s the small things like a simple smile, a safe place to sit and savor a warm mug of coffee or a few Gingerbread Coconut Llama Cookies that bring the most joy. It sincerely puts life into perspective and makes you realize just how important food, sharing and community truly are. If you or someone you know if struggling with current events, loss, illness or simply just having a tough time, these Gingerbread Coconut Llama Cookies might be right for you. These little suckers really can lift surprisingly heavy moods.
These darling Gingerbread Coconut Llama Cookies with textural semi-sweet coconut set against rich molasses & ginger, cinnamon spices will warm you right up.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 medium orange -zested
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter - at room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 large egg - at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar - sifted
- 1 large egg white
- 2 tablespoons orange juice - freshly squeezed & strained
- 1 cup shredded coconut flakes
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, salt, cardamom & orange zest. Save the orange for the icing. *adding the zest to the dry ingredients keeps it from clumping together in the cookies.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times.
With the mixer on a low speed, slowly add the egg, vanilla and molasses. Stir until it's just mixed in. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
Slowly stir in the dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Scrape the bowl and turn the dough out on a clean, lightly floured surface.
Gather the dough into 2 balls and flatten into smooth disks about 1 1/2" thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes up to overnight.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out a dough disk to 1/4" thickness. Dip the llama cookie cutters in flour and stamp out shapes. Gather the scraps together, re-roll and cut out more cookies until the dough is all used up. Repeat with second dough disk. Place cookies closely on a lined baking sheet and chill in the fridge or freezer for at least 30 minutes, until cookies have firmed up.
While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 350° F.
Place cookies on lined baking sheets 2" apart and bake for 8-10 minutes until cookies are slightly firm to the touch but still soft on the inside. Allow to cool slightly on baking sheets then transfer to a cooling rack.
Place the coconut in a shallow bowl and set aside.
Sift the powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the egg white and 2 tablespoons of the strained juice from the reserved orange, whisk well until smooth and glossy. The icing should slowly stream off the whisk in a smooth ribbon. If the icing seems too thick, add more orange juice, 1 tablespoon at a time. If it's too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Cap your pastry bag with a small, round pastry tip. Outline the cookies to create a barrier and prevent the icing from running down the sides of the cookies. Then flood the cookies with icing right away for a smooth, eggshell finish.
While the icing is still wet, gently dip the exposed icing into the shredded coconut flakes so they stick to the iced areas of the cookies. Place on a cooling rack to set for at least an hour before serving.
*These cookies can be frozen and baked later. Just cut the llama shapes and chill in the freezer on a lined baking sheet. Once they are solid, transfer to a freezer baggie and store up to 2-3 months.