Call me Ishmael. My husband, daughter, and I visited the land of Moby Dick a couple of weeks ago. Nantucket―an island off the coast of Massachusetts and only about two hundred miles from where we live—has always felt like a mysterious and distant world. Known equally for its Quaker influences, whaling history and, more recently, as a playground for the extremely wealthy—we weren’t really sure what to expect when we set out for our vacation. We were ready for an adventure and chose to visit there mid-April, ahead of the crowds and the full tourist season. It was an amazing journey. The island was beautiful, but I was unprepared for the empty and pristine beaches with waves thrashing on the coast line. Our hotel staff made us feel at home from the moment we stepped off the ferry. People we met on the streets―workmen, other visitors, an elderly woman working in her yard and her loving Labrador Retriever―were gracious and let us know our presence was valued. Restaurants were in abundance, and the food was invariably delicious—oysters on the half shell, scallops with Meyer lemon sauce, lobster frittata―we came home well fed and fully nourished.
I intended to try to recreate one of the light salads I ordered several times while we were on Nantucket. But we had a snowstorm today. Yes, that’s right, a snowstorm on April 26. A snow storm followed by a hail storm followed yet again by periods of freezing rain. The mood here is more like winter than spring, so I decided to bake these Coconut Bites. The aroma of toasted coconut filled the air as they came out of the oven. A cross between a cookie and a scone, these bites are not overly sweet. Made with whole wheat flour and condensed milk, they have a nutty flavor and a dense texture. Perfect with tea on a gloomy day, they make excellent after school snacks or would do well for an energy snack while out hiking. They are delicious.
I’ll make the salad for you next week.
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, and to spring, soon.
Note: You can see more photos of Nantucket here.
Yield: 24 Bites
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 ¼ cups sweetened condensed milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- ½ cup sweetened coconut flakes
- Sea salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the melted butter, condensed milk, egg and vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the stand mixer. Mix in just enough to combine. Add the coconut flakes and the chocolate chips. Mix again just to combine.
- Remove the dough from the mixing bowl. Shape into a circle about ¾-inch thick and 10-inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Sprinkle the coconut flakes on a flat plate.
- Sprinkle flour on a clean work surface. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and place on the prepared counter. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 24 small rounds. Roll each round in the coconut flakes, covering them on all sides. Place on the prepared cookie sheets. Sprinkle with sea salt.
- Place in the oven and bake until golden, about 35 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool completely before serving.
- This recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour’s Whole Grain Baking Cookbook.
- For breakfast bites, substitute raisins or dried cranberries for the chocolate chips.
- Store bites in an airtight container.