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


  • 1Mix together well the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • 2In 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.
  • 3Add the vanilla to the coconut milk.

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

    Stir in the coconut.
  • 4Make "logs" of dough in desired shape (round or rectangle). Wrap in wax paper and put in refrigerator for 3 hours.
  • 5preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • 6Using 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