Cracking open a hard coconut is not something most people in America are used to doing.  It’s different when I would visit my family in the Caribbean. Everyone has a machete and that is what we used to crack it open with quite easily.  My parents had a machete in NY and that is how we would crack it open.  Something eventually happened to the machete. I don’t remember if it got stolen or damaged.  Anyway, then my mother would use a screwdriver and a hammer to open the coconut.  This is something I never learned to do.  So when I found this recipe I wanted to try, I decided I would try to adapt it for the average American who is not going to want to try and open a hard coconut to get freshly grated coconut.  I used frozen grated coconut and the recipe has been adapted for America.  You can use the link to view the original recipe if you can open and grate the fresh coconut yourself.

These cookies are from the Indian state of Goa.  Goa was a Portuguese ruled state of India for many years, long after India had received its independence from England.  Goan cuisine is a wonderful fusion of Indian and Portuguese flavors.  Hope you enjoy my adapted version of these delicious, soft cookies.  These are often served around Christmas in Goa, which is the most Christian state in India.

Bolinhas (adapted from Goan Food Recipes)

(click here for printable recipe)
14 oz. frozen grated coconut, defrosted
8 3/4 oz. semolina flour (approximately 1 1/2 cups)
8 3/4 oz. sugar (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
1 tablespoon ghee
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 egg yolks
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
a pinch salt

In a saucepan, dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup water on a low flame, until the sugar dissolves.
While you are waiting for the sugar to dissolve, grind the coconut in a food processor.
Once the sugar has dissolved, add the semolina and mix well, cooking for 2-3 minutes.
Add coconut, salt and ghee, stirring until the mixture is well combined and homogenous.

Let it cool for a few hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Grease a cookie sheet with non stick spray.
Add egg yolks and cardamom and mix well into the Bolinha mix.

Add the flour and baking powder and mix well.
Beat the egg white until fluffy and fold in the egg white into the dough.
On a floured work surface, take a few tablespoons of the dough and roll in the flour.  This is a very soft dough.  Shape into little patties.  Using a knife, you can make designs on the top, if desired.  Place on prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until the cookies are firm.

These are very soft and fluffy, with the perfect amount of sweetness and coconut flavor – just delicious!  A wonderful cookie to serve during the holidays.

…linking to Kid’s Delight , I Love Baking #8Bake Fest hosted by Fun & Food Cafe

Chef Mireille 
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