Grandma Mabel's Coconut Washboard Cookies

Colleen Sowa


An old recipe that has been modernized. Recipe is from when I was a little girl working in the kitchen beside my wonderful, loving grandmother Mabel Kennedy Sullivan. She said this was a favorite cookie of her beloved husband Frank B. Sullivan (who was a deep sea diver).

Grandma showed me a real washboard and explained that is what the cookie represented. She said that these cookies were a reminder to always work hard... and sweet rewards will come...

*** These are not my photos, most of them are from my friend Peggi Anne Tebben cookiequeen! Thank you Peggi!

Play With Your Food! XO


★★★★★ 2 votes

8 to 12 dozen cookies (depending on size you make them)
3 Hr 20 Min
1 Hr 15 Min


  • 4-1/2 to 5 c
    all purpose flour (may use a bit more or less depending on humidity)
  • 2 tsp
    baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp
    baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 3/4 c
  • 1/2 c
    shortening, butter flavor
  • 2 c
    brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3 large
  • 1 tsp
  • 1/3 c
    coconut milk, unsweetened
  • 1 c
    sweetened flaked coconut

How to Make Grandma Mabel's Coconut Washboard Cookies


  1. Mix together well the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a very large bowl: Use an electric mixer on medium high speed to cream together the next 3 ingredients. Add the eggs and mix well.
  3. Add the vanilla to the coconut milk.

    Stir in alternating the flour mixture and the coconut milk mixture.

    Stir in the coconut.
  4. Make "logs" of dough in desired shape (round or rectangle). Wrap in wax paper and put in refrigerator for 3 hours.
  5. preheat oven to 375 degrees
  6. Using a sharp knife, slice the dough logs across to form 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick cookies. Place each cookie on parchment lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Use the tines of a fork that has been dipped in flour to make "lines" in the cookie. When tray is full, bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on wire racks before storing in an airtight container.
  7. *** Another method of forming the cookies is pinching off about a Tablespoon of dough, form it into a little log, flatten the log with tines of a fork.

    **** Another method is to not refrigerate the dough, and use a cookie press. The disk has a long slit that is flat on one side and bumpy on the other side of the slit... the bumpy side points up.

    *********** depending on the coconut milk you use... you may want to use a bit less or add a bit more flour.

Printable Recipe Card

About Grandma Mabel's Coconut Washboard Cookies

Course/Dish: Cookies
Main Ingredient: Flour
Regional Style: American
Other Tags: For Kids Heirloom

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