Need a recipe to use up a lot of egg yolks? These lemon coconut cookies use 6 yolks! These lightly sweetened lemon cookies are soft, rich, and a little unique with the added coconut.
These lemon coconut cookies are a fitting recipe to share this week. Originally developed for my home bakery, these cookies were a way to use up the excess egg yolks from all the macaron orders. I don’t like throwing away perfectly good food, darlings. Of course we would find a way to use up a lot of egg yolks. This recipe uses quite a bit, 6 egg yolks in fact. So you can make 2 batches of macarons and one batch of these cookies with minimal (if any) wasted egg. And of course they’re absolutely delicious. This goes without saying, as they were a popular farmer’s market item. So why, after holding on to this recipe for years, is it being shared now?
Unlike my s’mores cookies, these lemon coconut cookies were never a featured item. After I announced their menu debut, they just sat quietly, bright and sunshine yellow in their little bags each week. Customers who knew about the not-too-sweet cookies would pick up a dozen or two for themselves or to share with company. The cookies stay soft for a few days, so they were perfect to share with weekend guests. But that’s not why they’re on the blog today either.
When I would bake the lemon coconut cookies, I would make 3-4 batches at a time using up egg yolks, divided out into little prep bowls, from macarons. As I separated the egg whites for the macarons, I would count the number of yolks into each bowl, one bowl per batch of lemon coconut cookies. Then I would refrigerate the yolks and prepare the cookies later in the day – as many batches as I had bowls.
Preparing the cookie dough brought me “home”. The act of creaming sugars, zesting lemons, mixing, and scooping, was a way to center after making other things. There was a level of comfort in making the cookies. The bakery refrigerator was no longer cluttered with bowls, and I could just be present in the repetitiveness of measuring out dozens and dozens of tiny, yellow cookies.
The day I took these pictures, it wasn’t because I planned to blog the lemon cookies. I don’t know what I was planning. I just knew I was craving that centering. I’d made some macarons recently, but still wasn’t baking regularly after Princess #2’s birth. We had an open bag of coconut in the house. Frustration over not being able to work on the blog as I had before was high.
I’d just spent a crazy amount of money on a food photography workshop that was just fine – there were other options available which would have been a better fit for what I needed to learn (developing my own style vs mimicking someone else’s). But that expenditure meant I’d have to wait a few more months to replace my (very) old camera. Which I was obviously willing to do for a good class, but this had been just fine. Time constraints kept me from blogging much anyway, and every shoot was rushed, so I felt stuck. It felt as if 3 new things were added to my “to do” list as soon as I thought about crossing one off. How could I be everything? Mama, wife, photographer, recipe developer, friend… the days were long, darlings. Very long.
So when I had a few minutes one day, and egg yolks, I sought refuge in the kitchen. As the lemon coconut cookie recipe came together, read off a well-worn sheet from my old recipe binder, everything started to make sense again. And I realized that trying to be everything was stealing my joy, removing my focus from what’s important, and I needed to return to basics. Which at the time meant less blogging what I baked. It meant more time embracing the challenges in that season, and letting go of the unnecessary.
This was about a year ago, so why am I sharing now? Because I almost made the same mistake here, darlings. There are about a zillion and one bloggers on the internet. Most fall into the “lifestyle” category, because everyone who has a site tries to be a one stop shop for a 100% perfectly curated life. Not all bloggers buy into that, but there’s definitely pressure to share eeeeeeverything and make it all seem just faaaaaaabulous. I was seriously researching adding different categories and actively sharing other things to eventually make GG a more “lifestyle” blog.
But this past weekend, on a family beach getaway, where I DIDN’T PULL OUT MY CAMERA ONCE, and I was present for all the little moments, I thought of these cookies. Because you know what’s great about Goodie Godmother? THE FOOD. Mostly desserts, with some savory foods and barbecue mixed in because this is kind of our family cookbook too. Seriously, I store my recipes on this site and Google myself when making dinner. No shame.
The other stuff? I’ll pepper those stories in with the recipes, maybe. Or on my Instagram stories (@goodiegodmother), or whatever the young people decide we need to be using when IG isn’t “it” anymore.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- zest from 1 lemon
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- juice from 1 lemon, or substitute 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut, use unsweetened for a less sweet cookie, sweetened for a sweeter cookie
For rolling the cookies (optional)
- 1 cup shredded coconut, chopped
- Preheat your oven to 375 F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugars, and lemon zest until fluffy.
- Stir in the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and lemon juice or lemon extract. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Stir together the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar in another bowl. Add to the wet ingredients in 2 batches, stirring until just combined.
- Stir in the 1/2 cup of coconut.
- Use a small cookie scoop to measure out the dough into walnut-sized balls (about a tablespoon). If desired, roll the cookies in the chopped shredded coconut (see notes).
- Place about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets and bake for 9-11 minutes, rotating the pans once partway through baking.
- Cool and store in an airtight container up to a week.
I don't always roll the cookies in coconut, but it's something I've done the past few batches and liked the look. Place the shredded coconut on a cutting board and roughly chop with a knife to break up the longer strings. Whether you need to do this or not depends on the brand of coconut you use.