Coconut Bunny Cookies

These coconut bunny cookies were the brainchild of me wanting to make a cream cheese-based cookie, and me wanting to do something bunny-themed that was rolled in coconut flakes. What I love about cream cheese cookies is that they have this soft, melt-in-the-mouth texture to them that can only be accomplished by baking a dough with a soft cheese. Even in savory applications, like biscuits made with camembert or brie, will have a very similar mouthfeel! In this case, I also used buttermilk, just to give the dough a fluffy crumb as well – the beautiful thing about baking with buttermilk is that the cultures in it lend to a lighter end-product for a baked item. Between the usages of cream cheese and buttermilk, what happens is when you bite into these little bunnies, the cookie starts out light and airy, then just melts on the tongue. It is a very addictive texture, which was why I could probably eat an entire batch of these before realizing that I ate an entire batch of cookies, in which case I would wallow in my sorrows by baking another batch of these to consume. I’m obviously kidding. I would just bake another batch of these because they are very addicting to eat, with a really fun texture and a pleasantly sweet flavor to them!

Originally, I was going to form my bunnies by scooping out a ball of dough, then rolling and cutting out bunny-shaped heads from the remainder of the dough, and gluing them together with an egg wash. The end result, all I will say about that is it looked bad, so we had to go a different route. Instead, I decided on taking balls of dough, using a chopstick to press in the “ears” of the bunnies, and attaching small dough balls to them to form the tails. These definitely looked a lot cuter than my initial plan. With the dough itself, like I mentioned, there is a little bit of cream cheese and some buttermilk to bring it together. These rabbits remind me of Easter and coconut macaroons, which was part of the reason why I wanted to go down the coconut route with these little beans. On top of enrobing the cookies in shredded coconut flakes, I also used coconut flour in the dough, which has no gluten in it. Since it has no gluten, the coconut flour being mixed with regular gluten-based flour results in a softer crumb, and lessens the risk of you somehow overworking the dough! To finish, I also made an edible paint with some cocoa powder and vanilla extract, since I felt like these would present more rabbit-like with eyes, instead of being potentially interpretive blobs where you aren’t 100% sure what you are looking at.

Makes about 20 cookies:
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter
2oz cream cheese
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Shredded coconut
1 egg white

In a bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, sugar, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix into that the butter and cream cheese first. Then pour in the buttermilk and vanilla, kneading everything into a soft dough. Portion 20 1/4 tsp-sized balls(these will be the tails). Then divide up the remaining dough into 20 balls. Toss the balls in coconut flakes. With the larger balls, press them with the end of a chop stick to form your ears. brush the smaller balls of dough with egg white and press into the round sides of the larger balls to adhere on the tails. Freeze the cookies for 20 minutes. Then bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.

For the edible paint:
1/4 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Mix together to form a paint. Press the eyes onto the bunnies using a chopstick.

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