More Coconut Cookies

Another coconut cookie recipe never hurt anyone. This one came from Jan Varnum in Bar Harbor. Her mother, Ruth H. Witt, used to make them when Jan was a child, and Jan still does, too. I liked them very much because their flavor comes from brown sugar, coconut and butter; there is no spicing or vanilla in them.

Jan uses sweetened coconut; I didn’t because I tend to prefer less sweet. You know best where you fit on the sweet-tooth scale, and can choose accordingly. When Jan makes them, she drops them instead of shaping, so I did, too. They do spread so space them generously.

Also, Jan uses parchment paper, of which I have become very fond, so the cookies wouldn’t get too crisp. I like parchment paper because cookies seem to burn less easily, don’t stick, and it is a snap to clean up after baking.

Ironically, earlier in the day that I tried these cookies out at home, I was talking with a friend about the merits of parchment paper. I said, “I can’t think of anything not to love about the stuff.” Well, I spoke too soon. Parchment covered cookie sheets with cookies all lined up en-route to or from the oven are pretty darn slide-y, unless you anchor the paper with your thumb while carrying. You can guess how I came to observe that. Sad sight, unless you are a dog, to see cookies on the floor.

Make the cookies large or small, as you wish. They are simple, tasty, and easy to make.

Ruth and Jan's Coconut Cookies
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter or shortening
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups rolled oats, quick or old fashioned
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper
  3. Sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. Cream together brown sugar and butter in a mixing bowl.
  5. Add eggs and mix well.
  6. Mix in oatmeal and coconut.
  7. Add flour mixture, and mix together thoroughly.
  8. Drop the dough, flattening slightly, on the cookie sheet, leaving room for the cookies to spread.
  9. Bake for 12 minutes or until they are evenly browned.
  10. Remove and cool.


Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.