Holiday recipe: Coconut Almond Slice-and-Bake Butter Cookies

This holiday season, shake up your cookie tray with this coconut-almond butter cookie recipe from Nancy Silverton. She’s a James Beard Award-winning chef and baker behind Campanile, La  Brea Bakery, Osteria Mozza and Nancy’s Fancy gelato — and a renowned cookbook author whose latest book, “The Cookie that Changed My Life,” shares her tips for making perfect, classic American baked goods.

This recipe, she writes, comes from Fred Chino, a baker who’s part of the Chino Farm family in Del Mar, near San Diego.

“Where the other butter cookies in this collection are decorated on the edges, this is decorated with a tuft of coconut chips on top,” she writes. “They’re really pretty.”

Coconut Almond Slice-and-Bake Butter Cookies

Makes about 42 cookies


133 grams (1 heaping cup) slivered almonds

2 extra-large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

300 grams (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) unbleached all-purpose flour

60 grams (¼ cup plus 2½ tablespoons) potato starch

280 grams (2½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed

140 grams (½ cup plus 3½ tablespoons) granulated sugar

1¾ teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt

120 grams (1½ cups) unsweetened shredded coconut

2 extra-large egg whites

160 grams (22/3 cups) unsweetened coconut flakes

Powdered sugar for dusting


Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast them on the center rack of the oven until they’re lightly browned and fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes, shaking the baking sheet and rotating it front to back halfway through the toasting time so the almonds brown evenly. Remove the almonds from the oven and set them aside until they’re cool enough to touch. (If you think the nuts are on the verge of being overtoasted, transfer them to a plate so they don’t continue to cook from the residual heat of the pan.) Coarsely chop the almonds. (Turn off the oven)

Whisk the eggs, vanilla and almond extract together in a small bowl. Stir the flour and potato starch together in a medium bowl.

Put the butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and beat on medium speed until the butter is soft but still cold, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle with a rubber spatula whenever butter is accumulating.

Add the granulated sugar and salt and beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the egg yolk mixture and beat on medium speed until the egg is fully incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.

Add the flour and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, until almost no flour is visible. Add the almonds and shredded coconut and mix on low speed to distribute the additions and fully incorporate the flour. Stop the mixer, remove the bowl and paddle from the stand, and clean them with the spatula, scraping the bowl from the bottom up to release any ingredients that may be stuck there.

Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on your work surface. Divide the dough in half and place one portion on the plastic wrap. Shape the dough into a log 2 inches in diameter. Tightly wrap the log in the plastic, twisting the ends like a candy wrapper. Repeat, wrapping the second log of dough. Place the logs in the refrigerator to chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

Adjust the oven racks so one is in the top third and the other is in the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

To finish the cookies, put the egg whites in a small bowl.

Remove a log from the refrigerator and unwrap. Place the log on a cutting board and use a long sharp knife to slice the log into 3/8-inch-thick rounds. Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1 inch between them. (If the cookies become misshapen when you transfer them, one by one, gently turn the cookies in your hand to reshape them.)

Brush the top of each cookie with egg white and, using your fingers, place enough coconut flakes to cover each cookie (1½ to 2 teaspoons), pressing gently so the flakes adhere to the cookie. (Any pieces not touching the egg white will fall off when the cookies are baked.)

Place one baking sheet on each oven rack and bake the cookies until the edges of the cookies and the coconut on top are golden brown, 12 to 16 minutes, switching racks and rotating the baking sheets front to back halfway through the baking time so the cookies bake evenly. Remove the cookies from the oven and set them aside to cool to room temperature. Dust the cookies with powdered sugar.

Repeat, slicing, finishing baking and dusting the second log as you did the first.

— From “The Cookie That Changed My Life” by Nancy Silverton with Carolynn Carreño © 2023 by Nancy Silverton. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Author: Kate Bradshaw