The tropical-scented caramel filling does not set firmly, so be careful when packing or shipping the cookies. You'll have about 1/2 cup of the filling left over; it makes a great topping for ice cream.
Make Ahead: The dough can be refrigerated for several days. The baked cookies can be stored between layers of wax paper in an airtight container for 3 days. The unfilled cookies can be frozen for a month.
Servings: 36 cookies
- For the cookies
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup skin-on whole almonds, toasted (see NOTE)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups flaked unsweetened coconut
- For the filling
- 7 ounces caramel candies, such as Kraft or Brach's
- 1/4 cup low-fat or regular coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
For the cookies: Combine the flour, confectioners' sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
Combine the almonds and sugar in the bowl of a food processor; process until the almonds are finely chopped. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer.
Add the butter and egg yolk; beat on medium speed until well combined, then add the vanilla extract. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the flour mixture in three additions, beating on low speed after each addition until well combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour or until the dough is firm.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the coconut on a plate.
Use your hands to roll tablespoon-size pieces of the chilled dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Roll the balls in the coconut, pressing gently so the coconut coats each ball. Place the balls 2 inches apart on the lined baking sheets.
Use a fingertip or the handle of a wooden spoon to make an indentation at the center of each ball. Bake one sheet at a time for 15 to 18 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown around the edges.
Transfer the baking sheet to wire racks to cool (with the cookies still on the sheet); quickly use the back of a rounded measuring teaspoon to reinforce the indentation in each cookie. Let the cookies cool completely. Repeat as needed to use all the dough.
For the filling: Combine the caramels and coconut milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute, then remove to stir the contents. Return to the microwave and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Remove and stir until smooth, then add the coconut extract.
Fill each cookie indentation with 1/2 teaspoon of the caramel-coconut filling. Store carefully between sheets of wax paper or parchment paper, as the filling does not set firmly.
NOTE: To toast skin-on almonds, cook them in a heavy, dry skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are slightly darker in color and begin to smell toasty. Watch carefully; nuts can burn quickly. Transfer to a dish to cool.
From Food section editorial assistant Leigh Lambert.
Tested by Leigh Lambert.
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