Coconut-Lime Stars

Makes 20 to 24 3-inch star-shaped cookies

These crunchy, buttery cookies have a refreshing tropical taste from the toasted coconut in the batter and a tart lime frosting. Reeah Parker of Germantown made these for her son in the Marines one summer and they were such a hit, she now makes them year-round, cutting them into holiday shapes.

Adapted from "Reader's Digest Cookies," (McRae Books, 2004).

1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut

11/2 cups flour

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut up

1/4 cup sugar

Grated zest of 2 limes

2 tablespoons milk, or more as needed

1/3 cup lime juice

1 cup confectioners' sugar

Green sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the coconut on a parchment-covered baking sheet and toast for about 5 minutes or until a pale gold, watching carefully so the coconut doesn't burn. Transfer coconut to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles crumbs. Add the toasted coconut, the sugar, lime zest and enough milk to form a stiff dough. Press the dough into a disk shape, wrap it in plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch and use a cookie cutter to cut out desired shapes. Transfer with a spatula to the prepared baking sheets, placing them 1 inch apart. Gather the dough scraps, re-roll, and continue cutting out cookies until all the dough is used. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until pale gold, rotating the sheets halfway through for even baking. Transfer to racks to cool.

For the frosting, combine the lime juice and confectioners' sugar. Blend well, adding more sugar if the mixture is too thin.

When the cookies are cool, dip the tops in the frosting. Top with green sprinkles, if desired. Transfer cookies to a rack or flat surface. When the frosting is dry, store the cookies in an airtight container.

Per serving: 124 calories, 1 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, 17 mg cholesterol, 4 g saturated fat, 19 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Candy Sagon; e-mail questions to

Molasses Spice Cookies

Makes 4 dozen

Claire Goebeler of Bowie originally got this recipe off the Brer Rabbit Molasses bottle, but many similar versions exist. It can be made with melted shortening or vegetable oil. For a richer cookie, you can also cream 3/4 cup butter with the molasses, sugar and egg, and then proceed as directed. However you make them, these sturdy cookies are delicious -- especially warm and chewy right out of the oven. The recipe also can be easily doubled.

3/4 cup vegetable shortening, such as Crisco

1 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup to coat the cookies

1/4 cup dark molasses

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

1 egg

In a large bowl in the microwave or a large saucepan over low heat, melt the shortening. Add 1 cup of the sugar and the molasses and stir to blend (don't worry if it doesn't blend completely). Let cool.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add the baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, salt and flour and mix well.

Add the egg to the cooled molasses mixture and blend well. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix well to form a stiff dough. Shape the dough into a ball, cover with wax paper and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a large plate or platter, spread about 1/2 cup of sugar. Take a teaspoon of dough and form it into a 1-inch ball by rolling it between the palms of your hands. Roll the ball in the sugar until it is thoroughly coated. Place the dough balls on the prepared cookie sheets (about a dozen per sheet).

Bake for 8 minutes for a softer, chewy cookie or 10 minutes for a crisper one. Remove baking sheets from oven and transfer cookies to a wire rack. When cool, store in an airtight container.

Per serving: 72 calories, 0 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 1 g saturated fat, 64 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Candy Sagon; e-mail questions to

Fudge-Filled Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen sandwich cookies

Fans of peanut butter and chocolate combos will love these soft sandwich cookies. Marie Sherrett of Upper Marlboro made them to send her son, Daniel, a petty officer 3rd class aboard the USS Kitty Hawk. Adapted from the November 2005 Gold Medal/Betty Crocker "Cookies" booklet.

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup vegetable shortening, such as Crisco

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 egg

11/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat 1/2 cup of the peanut butter, the shortening and the sugars until fluffy. Add the egg and beat until smooth. In a small bowl, add the flour, baking powder and baking soda and mix to combine. Fold the dry ingredients into peanut butter mixture until blended.

Shape the dough into 48 one-inch balls. On an ungreased baking sheet, place the balls 1 inch apart. Flatten the balls to 1/4-inch thickness by pressing them in a crisscross pattern with a fork that has been dipped in a small bowl of water to prevent the tines from sticking.

Bake about 8 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown and the tops are a pale tan. Transfer from baking sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small nonstick pan on low heat, add the chocolate chips and stir until softened and smooth. Add the remaining 1/4 cup peanut butter and stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature or until thickened.

To form the sandwich cookies, place 1 teaspoon of the chocolate mixture onto the flat bottom of one cookie and press the bottom of another cookie against it. Let the cookies stand about 1 hour or until chocolate is firm. When cool, store in an airtight container.

Per serving: 177 calories, 3 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 10 g fat, 9 mg cholesterol, 3 g saturated fat, 52 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Randy Richter; e-mail questions to