A few years ago here in town we had an ice cream stand called the Udder Delight. Run by a great guy named John and his family, it featured homemade ice cream in wonderfully different flavors; a great expanse of green lawn with pink picnic tables, and twinkling white lights in the trees in the evenings.
No matter what time of day you went, you were sure to run into friends out for a treat, too, and have a good old chin-wag along with your root beer float or sundae.
My husband is a tried and true peppermint stick ice cream fan, but I liked to experiment with many of the different options John had to offer. As soon as the weather started to warm up (in Vermont that's anything over 40°F), I started thinking about a few of his specials. The "Freezer Queen for a Day" sundae, Don's Purple Cow Float, and the Tropical Sundae.
The Tropical was one of my all-time favorites. Coconut ice cream, pineapple, whipped cream, and toasted coconut topping. It tasted like the Caribbean in a glass, like all the goodness of summer in one spoonful.
These days I can't go to the Udder Delight** any longer; but I can go to my kitchen and make something that has all the tastes of my favorite sundae, any time of year. It all starts with a simple mix and a handful of ingredients. Let's make Coconut Pineapple Thumbprint Cookies.
**Don't worry, I'll tell you what became of John and the Udder Delight at the end of this post.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.
Mix until well combined and the dough is quite wet, but not dripping or soggy.
Shape into balls the size of large walnuts, and roll in toasted coconut. Place on the prepared baking sheet, and gently press a 1" depression in the center of each with your thumb or fingers. These cookies don't spread much so you can place them closer together on the sheet.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes.
The edges will be deep golden brown, and the center depressions will be paler, a perfect combination of crisp and chewy.
Allow the cookies to cool completely while you make the coconut filling. This is the creamy part that mimics the coconut ice cream in the original sundae.
Combine 1/3 cup shortening, 1/4 cup coconut milk powder, 1/4 teaspoon coconut flavor, 1 cup confectioners' sugar, and a pinch of salt to cut the sweetness. The mixture should be thick, like the fondant filling in a chocolate. You can add a very little bit of milk or water if it's too thick to pipe.
Place the filling in a piping bag or large zip-top bag with the corner snipped off.
Fill the thumbprint of each cookie with about 1 tablespoon of filling.
You're now ready to serve the cookies with a big glass of cold milk, or cup of hot tea.
And now for the sad story of John and the Udder Delight.
Oh, wait - it's not sad at all! John sold the business to a former student of mine who keeps it running all summer long; and John went to work for a great company.
Yep, that's right... John is now a happy King Arthur Flour employee-owner, and we still see each other often.
And yes, we still talk about ice cream!
Tell me about your favorite ice cream shop. Have you ever created a special treat based on your favorite flavors? Inquiring baking minds want to know!
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