Spicy Peanut and Toasted Coconut Cookies

Stacy Newgent
These cookies were inspired by Jeni Britton Bauer's Bangkok peanut ice cream--a tantalizing blend of toasted coconut and peanut butter cream, finished with a sharp prickle of cayenne pepper.

The sweet-and-spicy juxtaposition is addictive, sending you back for bite after bite. Lucky for me, Jeni is a hometown fixture, with shops located dangerously near my house, and I can have this splendid stuff whenever I want. I've worked these flavors into a crispy, sticky, spicy cookie--with just a tingle of spice. 

  • 1 cup (80g) shredded unsweetened coconut 
  • 3 cups (135 g) chow mein noodles 
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) honey or light corn syrup 
  • 1/2 cup (110 g) packed brown sugar 
  • 1 cup (240 ml) natural unsweetened peanut butter, well stirred 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne 

Line a large baking sheet with wax paper.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the coconut. Toast the coconut, stirring frequently, until it is light brown and crispy. Pour it into a large bowl and stir in the chow mein noodles.

Combine the honey or corn syrup and the sugar in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 1 minute, then turn off the heat and stir in the peanut butter until fully incorporated. The mixture should look glossy. Stir in the vanilla, salt, and cayenne. Immediately stir the mixture into the coconut and noodles.

Drop by spoonfuls onto the baking sheet. Cool for 10 minutes, or until set. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 

From Bakeless Sweets by Faith Durand, Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2013.

Makes about 24 cookies
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