Let me just get the obvious out of the way: these cookies contain a spectacular amount of butter. They also contain a spectacular amount of coconut. In fact, when you really look at it, there’s amazingly little flour or eggs for the amount of butter and coconut, and these four things are what make this cookie different from any other.
They’re like a standard drop cookie merged with a buttery, lacy florentine and they manage to have both the florentine’s golden crisp and crackle and the drop cookie’s faint chew.
1In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
2It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty.
3Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do.
4Don’t take your eyes off the pot as it seems to take forever (more than 5 minutes) but then turns dark very quickly.
5Once it is a deeply fragrant, almost nut-brown color, remove from heat and pour butter and all browned bits at the bottom into a measuring cup.
6Adding 4 tablespoons water should bring the butter amount back up to 2 cups.
7Chill browned butter in the fridge until it solidifies, about 1 to 2 hours.
8You can hurry this along in the freezer, but check back and stir often so it doesn’t freeze unevenly solid.
9Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
10Scrape chilled browned butter and any bits into a large mixing bowl.
11Add both sugars and beat the mixture together until fluffy.
12Add eggs (one at a time) and beat until combined, scraping down bowl as needed, then add vanilla.
13Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl.
14Pour half of flour mixture into butter mixture and mix until combined, then add remaining flour and mix again, scraping down bowl if needed.
15Add coconut flakes in two parts as well.
16Scoop dough into (1, 2 tablespoon scoops or a 2-inch wide scoop for bakery-sized cookies) balls and arrange a few with a lot of room for spreading on first baking sheet; use the back of a spoon or your fingers to flatten the dough slightly.
17Bake first tray of cookies; 1 tablespoon scoops will take 10 to 11 minutes; 2 tablespoon scoops, 12 to 14 minutes, the 2-inch scoop used at the bakery, 14 to 16 minutes; take the cookies out when they’re deeply golden all over.
18If cookies have not spread as much as you see above, stir 2 teaspoons more water into cookie dough, mixing thoroughly, before baking off another tray.
19(See note below for full explanation.) This should do the trick, but if it does not, repeat the same with your next batch. Once you’ve confirmed that you have the water level correct, bake remaining cookies.
20Cool cookies on baking sheet for 1 to 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
21Cookies keep for up to one week at room temperature.
22Extra dough can be stored in the fridge for several days or in the freezer for a month or more.
23About the water:
Browned butter is one of my favorite things to eat in cookies like things and least favorite things to write cookie recipes for, because when you brown the butter, water volume is lost, but not all types of butter contain the same amount of water.
24I find that for most standard American grocery store butters I was using Trader Joe’s store brand here, but the equivalent would be any non-European style butter), 1 tablespoon of water per stick (1/2 cup) of butter is a sufficient replacement. (I'm now using European butter for this recipe)
25However, should you find that your first batch of cookies is too thick, a little extra water is all you’ll need to get the texture right.
26It sounds scary, but I promise is as simple as can be.
27Holler at me in the messages if this doesn’t work for you and please note the kind of butter and how much water you used.