At first glance, Coconut Belles don't look like anything out of the ordinary: they look like a pleasing, if unremarkable, bar cookie.
But don't be fooled. The Coconut Belle one coy little cookie bar. I found them in the "family favorites" section of Betty Crocker's Cooky Book, where this cryptic introduction drew me in:
Since this cooky is better the second day than the day it is baked, you must bake them yesterday to enjoy them today.
True to the intro, these cookies taste good just out of the oven, but become something else entirely when left to their own flavor-melding devices overnight: delicately scented with citrus and redolent of rich coconut, these cookies taste far more compelling than their appearance might imply.
Of course, if you bake them around midnight, does that mean they were baked close enough to yesterday to enjoy today? Customers at the store will see.
Makes 24 bars
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract (I used lemon juice)
- 2 tablespoons cream
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/3 cup shredded coconut, plus extra for sprinkling on top
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped candied orange peel
- Heat oven to 325 F.
- Mix butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, lemon, and cream thoroughly.
- Measure flour and mix with salt and baking powder; stir into wet mixture.
- Blend in the coconut and peel.
- Spread in a lightly greased pan (I used 8x8-inch). If desired, sprinkle extra coconut on top.
- Bake 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. While warm, cut into bars. Serve cooled (the next day is best).