My soft and chewy coconut pecan cookies are packed with desiccated coconut and chopped pecans. Trust me, one bite and you will agree too: these are the best coconut pecan cookies ever!
Summertime for me is all about the tropical vibes. And what could be more tropical a flavour than coconut? It’s sweet and refreshing and just perfect for summer. Paired with the beautiful earthy flavour of pecan nuts, this is truly a match made in (tropical!) heaven!
The joy of putting these flavours into cookies means, quite simply, a wonderful and super easy bake. If you have been searching for easy coconut cookie recipes, or even coconut pecan cookie recipes, the search is over. This recipe really makes the best coconut cookies ever!
What is the difference between cookies and biscuits?
Cookies are generally made from a dough that is much softer than biscuit dough. When baked, cookies tend to be softer and chunkier than biscuits. They will often have some chewiness too which means you can almost “bend” the cookies. Biscuits on the other hand will bake much firmer and will have a more delicate texture to them. It means they can be broken or snapped and will not bend as cookies do. Biscuits tend to be used more often when a filling is used or even if decorating with icing art. However, cookies can be “stuffed” resulting in the filling being baked within the cookie itself. It basically means both can have some sort of a filling or middle to them, with different methods.
Having said this, I am well aware the word “biscuits” are used in parts of the world to also mean a baked dough similar to our British “scones”. They are both made in a very similar way, but served differently.
What ingredients do I need to make these coconut pecan cookies?
- Unsalted butter: I prefer using unsalted butter so I can control how much salt is in the cookies. For best results, use butter at room temperature when baking, unless otherwise directed.
- Soft brown sugar: for sweetness, but also chewiness, in these coconut pecans cookies.
- Caster sugar: for sweetness, and a little crisp, in the cookies.
- Coconut extract: optional, but gives the coconut flavour a little bit of a boost!
- Flour: I use plain (all purpose) flour in my cookies. Other flours will effect the final result of these cookies, so stick with this one.
- Cornflour/cornstarch: gives a beautiful soft texture, perfect in cookies!
- Baking powder/bicarbonate of soda: the leavening agents in this bake. Gives the pecan coconut cookies enough lightness so they bake into irresistible chewy delights.
- Salt: enhances the flavours of the cookies. It will not make the cookies salty, no need to worry.
- Pecans: an essential part of any coconut pecan cookie.
- Desiccated coconut: this, along with the extract, will help make the best coconut cookies ever!
- Egg: helps with binding and the structure of the coconut cookies with pecans.
What tools do I need to make coconut and pecan cookies?
- Baking tray*: to chill and then bake the cookies on. I would recommend at least couple of baking trays: one for chilling the cookie dough and one for baking.
- Digital kitchen scales*: weighing out ingredients means a more accurate bake and better results. This is why I would always recommend weighing over measuring by volume. However, for those that prefer using cups for measuring ingredients, I do provide this measurement too.
- Measuring spoons*: for measuring smaller quantities such as tablespoons (tbsp) and teaspoons (tsp). Definitely recommended over using everyday eating spoons, as these are more consistent and accurate.
- Mixing bowl*: to mix all the ingredients together when making the coconut pecan cookies
- Stand mixer*/Electric handheld mixer*: makes cookie making a delight and so so easy!
- Sieve*: to remove lumps from the dry ingredients, helping everything get mixed together evenly.
- Spatula*: useful for scraping the bowl down and ensuring everything is well combined.
- Cooling rack*: for the baking tray when removed from the oven, and then for when the cookies are cooling.
How to make homemade chewy coconut pecans cookies
Cookies are one of my favourite bakes, mostly because they are just so easy to make. Personally, I find the hardest part is the waiting! Bringing the cookie dough together is a complete walk in the park, just easy peasy!
Step 1: Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set it aside.
Step 2: In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter until soft. Add in the sugars and beat together until slightly paler and fluffy.
Step 3: Sift the flour, cornflour (cornstarch), baking powder, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and salt into the mixing bowl. Beat into the butter mixture until completely combined. The mixture will resemble damp sand.
Step 4: Tip in the coconut and most of the nuts, reserving a handful to stud the cookies with later. Mix again to evenly spread the add ins. Finally, add in the egg and mix until just sticking together in large clumps of dough.
Step 5: Using an ice cream scoop (or two spoons), place equal balls of cookie dough onto the prepared baking tray. Stud the cookies with the nuts set aside earlier. Place the baking tray in the fridge to chill the cookies for at least 30-60 minutes.
Step 6: About 10 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a second baking tray with some parchment paper. Place the cookie dough balls on the baking tray, leaving room for them to spread when baking. I get four cookies to a tray. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes (mine take 11 minutes exactly). The cookies will be lightly golden and their tops will have little cracks all the way to the middle. Remove the baking tray from the oven, but leave the cookies on the tray for an additional 5 minutes to firm up before moving them to a cooling rack. Enjoy!
There are several factors that can affect cookies and how they turn out. I will try to answer as many as I can, but please do ask if you have others using the comments below.
Why should I use cornflour (cornstarch) in my cookies?
Cornflour, or cornstarch if you are in the US, gives the cookies a soft consistency that just flour alone cannot achieve. You can swap it out for the same amount of flour if you wish. However, I am confident you will love the result of using it in these coconut and pecan cookies!
How do I make chewy cookies?
In my experience, I have found I need a mix of white and brown sugar in cookies. The white sugar adds to the crispy nature of the cookies. But it is the brown sugar that is key for a wonderfully chewy cookie. The reason for this is molasses in brown sugar. This helps retain more moisture in the cookies, making them thicker, softer and deliciously chewier. This combined with using cornflour (cornstarch) will make the most amazing soft and chewy coconut pecan cookies you will ever have!
Can I use oil instead of butter in my coconut pecan cookies?
Oil and butter are unfortunately not interchangeable in my cookie recipes. This is because oil does not solidify when chilled as butter does. If oil is used, the cookies will spread more when baking, even after chilling, resulting in thinner and very likely crispier cookies.
What if my cookie dough is too soft?
If the cookie dough feels too soft, simply chill the dough for 10-15 minutes before separating it into balls. Keep in mind if you did not use block butter when making this coconut pecan cookies recipe, they will remain soft and not firm up. I always use block butter, not oil or the kind that is spreadable from a tub, in my cookies. Using butter should result in the cookies really firming up in the fridge/freezer when they are chilled.
How do I know if my coconut pecan cookies are done?
The pecan and coconut cookies are baked if the edges are lightly golden and the cracks on top have only just found their way to the middle of the cookie. When they are removed from the oven, DO NOT move them off the baking tray immediately. Instead, leave them on the tray to firm up for about five minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. This helps the coconut pecan cookies firm up a little before they are moved. It means they will hold their shape better and not bend or break when lifted and moved.
Why did my cookies come out flat?
In my recipes, I always chill my cookie dough before baking the cookies. This allows the butter in the dough to firm up, helping the cookie hold its shape when baked and not flatten out in the oven. A good guide is this: the warmer the cookie dough when put in the oven, the more the cookies will spread once baked. You could even freeze these cookies instead of just chilling to help them hold their shape better during baking.
Why are my cookies cakey?
There are several reasons why cookies might turn out cakey. The most common reason is down to the flour in the recipe. Measuring out too much flour (especially if using volume measures rather than weight/mass) can result in drier or cakier cookies. It could also be that there was too much egg proportionally in the cookie mixture. Egg can act as a leavening agent and give cookies more rise than desired, making them cakey. This is why it is important to use the correct size of egg as stated in the recipe.
Why are my cookies crumbly?
Again, there are many reasons cookies turn out crumbly, but two most likely culprits. It could be that they were baked too long, and so have dried out. Alternatively, it might be that too much flour was used when making the cookie dough, leading to drier cookies.
How long will these coconut pecan cookies last? And how should I store them?
These cookies with coconut and pecans are at their best if enjoyed within 4-5 days from baking. Please store baked cookies in an airtight container once cool.
Can I freeze cookies?
Yes! You can freeze both unbaked and baked cookies.
For unbaked cookies, freeze the cookie dough in individual cookie balls for a couple of hours. Once firm, transfer them into a lidded container suitable for the freezer. These coconut pecan cookie dough balls will keep for two months in the freezer.
For baked coconut pecan cookies, first allow them to cool completely. Wrap the cookies individually and tightly in cling film, then place in a lidded container before freezing. Again, these will keep for a couple of months in the freezer.
How do I thaw my coconut pecan cookies?
If the cookies were frozen as unbaked cookie dough, they can be baked straight from frozen. Just remember it is important to leave about two inches between each cookie for them to spread as they bake. Pop them on a tray into a preheated oven from frozen and bake as per the recipe. Please make sure to add a couple of minutes extra to the baking time since the cookies are frozen.
If the cookies were baked before freezing, they can just be defrosted at room temperature before they are devoured! However, if you want them warmed up, just pop them on a baking tray and reheat in the oven at 180C/350F for about 3-5 minutes. No need to spread them out too much, since you are just reheating them. Pop the reheated coconut pecan cookies on a cooling rack to firm up for a few minutes before enjoying.
Can these coconut pecan cookies be made gluten free or dairy free?
Yes! For gluten free coconut pecan cookies, simply swap the plain flour for a gluten free plain flour blend. To make them dairy free, swap out the butter for a dairy free block butter. Do make sure the butter is the type that is a hard block in the fridge, not the spreadable sort.
Additional tips for making this coconut pecan cookie recipe
- Make sure you have prepared all tools and ingredients before you start mixing. Line the baking tray and get the ingredients out ready to use. And remember to make space in the fridge to chill the cookie dough too. It is so easy to forget something once you start mixing.
- Take time to read through the recipe so you are familiar with what steps come next. Notice details and instructions and stick with the ingredients given as it could affect the results of your final bake.
- Be patient when chilling the cookie dough before baking. This step is really important so the cookies hold their shape and have some thickness to them. If you skip the chill, the cookies will spread a lot more and be much thinner and not as chewy.
- Once baked, leave the cookies on the baking tray for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. These few minutes are crucial for the cookies to firm up once out of the oven. If they are moved too soon, they could fall apart and you will end up with a very delicious, pecan and coconut cookie flavoured mess instead!
If you have any other questions about these cookies, please use the comments below to ask. I will always do my best to help. And if you make this recipe for coconut pecan cookies, please let me know how you enjoyed them. I would love to hear from you, so please do consider leaving a rating and review below too.
You could always post a picture of your bake on Instagram and tag me, I’d love to see!
More cookie recipes for you to enjoy
If you enjoyed these homemade coconut pecan cookies, I think you will love these recipes too:
Coconut chocolate macaroons: these easy macaroons are so delicious and need just three ingredients to make! Beautiful and chewy, this easiest of recipes is totally eggless and is perfect for getting little hands helping in the kitchen.
Biscoff cookies: soft and chewy, these easy to make Biscoff butter cookies are packed with smooth cookie butter spread and extra Biscoff biscuit chunks. Pure Biscoff heaven!
Lemon drizzle cookies: if you love lemon drizzle cake, you will adore this cookie version! These soft and chewy lemon drizzle cookies are my husband’s all-time favourite!
Happy baking, my friends! x