Chocolate Coconut Scottish Shortbread

Round shortbread biscuits half coated in chocolcate and coconut, on a plate with title.

Chocolate & Coconut Scottish Shortbread

By Caro

Chocolate & Coconut Scottish Shortbread is based on my traditional Scottish shortbread recipe, with a melt-in-the-mouth texture, just as we make them here in Scotland.

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Using my Traditional Scottish Shortbread recipe, I developed this chocolate and coconut version, with just a hint of anise! Still with the same melt in the mouth texture, I have been told my shortbread is so much better than a certain popular brand you can buy! So if you love my shortbread recipe, the next experience is the Chocolate & Coconut Scottish Shortbread.



Biscuit Means Cookie

For our American readers, these are biscuits and not to be confused with American biscuits, and is just our word for cookies.


Common Questions About Scottish Shortbread

What is the difference between a shortbread cookie and a Scottish shortbread cookie?

Is Scottish shortbread different?

Why is Scottish shortbread so good?

Scottish shortbread is ALWAYS made using 100% butter – no margarine, no baking spreads/blocks, or mixed vegetable butters. They are an ‘all-butter’ type of biscuit/cookie, with a ‘short’ texture, coming from the high butter to sugar ratio, but most identifiable, to a true Scottish and homemade shortbread, is the melt-in-the-mouth texture. Scottish shortbread is soft and delicate and the texture is achieved with the inclusion of corn flour (corn starch).


Close partial shot of plated shortbread triangle biscuits with red tartan ribbon.

Why Use This Recipe?

This recipe is based on my traditional Scottish Shortbread recipe, as it is supposed to be made, no margarine or baking spread in sight, just real butter. You can trust me – I am Scottish 🙂 These soft and melt in the mouth buttery biscuits are surprisingly only made up of 4 main ingredients: butter, flour, corn flour & Sugar. The corn flour (corn starch), helps to give that extra soft texture that I mentioned & just ‘melts in the mouth’.

Be very careful when baking the shortbread, as you want them to be baked but still very pale in colour. They will still be soft when taken out of the oven, so make sure when transferring to a cooling rack, that you use the baking/parchment paper or else you will have a crumbled mess on the floor! 

Once you master this recipe, it is perfect for gifting, as it tastes so much better than shop bought shortbread.


Close shot of plate of round Scottish coconut chocolate shortbread.

Tips For Making Great Scottish Shortbread

  • Use an Authentic Scottish recipe with the proper ingredients.
  • Don’t use a food processor & a rolling pin – gentle handling helps create a soft shortbread.
  • Always chill the shortbread before baking.
  • Don’t over-bake – bake until almost cooked through. Shortbread should not be golden but very pale.

Check out A Short History Of Shortbread from website Bake From Scratch..


A NOTE ON THE INGREDIENTS

* If you are in the US/Canada and can’t get extra/super fine sugar for the UK caster sugar, you can make your own by grinding regular granulated sugar a little bit or processing lightly.  Do not go as fine as a powder, keep it as small granules.   Just note that US granulated is slightly smaller a granule size than our UK version.  See below for a photo of different sugar from the UK. (Read my article on differences of UK & US baking ingredients).


Also note the recipe used Cornflour which gives it the melt-in-the-mouth texture. The US/Canadian name for this is Corn Starch.

And finally, this version of my Scottish shortbread, is half coated with chocolate and coconut. The equivalent of UK Desiccated coconut is US shredded, unsweetened coconut. Note though that the shredded coconut is a lot bigger. (See photos below).. So you have the option of chopping or blitzing it a little, or just using as is. I also used a mix of milk & dark chocolate (semi-sweet & dark), but you can use whatever you like.



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PLatter of cranberry orange shortbread cookies in round and triangle shapes.

Saving & Printing The Recipe

See saving, printing & sharing options on screen, or print the recipe, via the Recipe card below.


Also see my Cranberry, Orange & Pecan Scottish Shortbread recipe.

Let’s get baking!


Chocolate Coconut Scottish Shortbread


Ingredients in bowls for Scottish shortbread on a table.

Ingredients

  • 225g  Butter, cubed & softened 
  • (1 cup/2 sticks or 8 oz)
  • 110g Caster Sugar*  (3 3/4 oz)
  • (½ cup Extra/super fine sugar, see above)
  • 225g  Plain Flour 
  • (1 ¾ cups All Purpose or 8 oz)
  • 110g Corn Flour (3 3/4 oz)
  • (1 cup less 1 tbsp Corn Starch)   
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1¾ – 2 tsp Anise, powdered
  • 200g Chocolate (50/50 Milk & Dark)
  • (7 oz, half bitter, half semi-sweet)
  • 100g Desiccated Coconut
  • (1 cup, unsweetened shredded coconut, see above)
  • Some Granulated Sugar for topping

Close shot of tree amd snowflake shaped shortbread.

Equipment

  • Scales or Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Large spoon
  • Stand or Hand Mixer, (or Medium-Large Mixing bowl & spoon)
  • Sieve
  • Pastry Cutter (optional)
  • Baking/parchment Paper
  • Baking Sheet/Tray x 2
  • Palette knife or sharp kitchen spatula
  • Timer or Phone Timer
  • Cooling Rack
  • Bowl for melting chocolate or pot
  • Bowl for coconut
  • OVEN: 180c/160c Fan oven/350f/Gas Mark 4

Instructions

1. Weigh out and cube the butter and leave out till softened.   I like to cut my butter into about 1cm (less than 1/2 inch) cubes as a smaller surface area will soften faster.  See Photo 1 below.

If you forget to take the butter out to soften, here’s a hack I reviewed to soften butter in about 10 minutes.


Collage of cubed butter and sugar and after creaming together - photo 1.

2. Weigh the sugar into your mixing bowl and add in the butter. Combine these two ingredients, firstly with a quick mix by hand with a spoon or spatula.  Then mix on low speed with a stand/hand mixer until light and fluffy, (known as ‘creaming the butter’).   You can of course do by hand with a spoon and some elbow power!  See Photo 1 for how it should look once creamed. Soft and paste like and easy to spread. Don’t over beat it though as much as you would for cakes.


Collage of adding flour to butter sugar ixture and blending - photo 2.

3. Lightly oil/grease the baking sheets/trays before placing baking/parchment paper on top.  This is a good idea if your baking trays/sheets are completely flat, with no lips.  I have lost cookies before, when the paper slid off the tray – so best to avoid that 🙂

4. Place the bowl back on the scales with the sieve on top and set to zero (TARE). Weigh in the flour, corn flour/starch & salt through the sieve. (Alternatively add in with a measuring cup). Mix in by hand, don’t use a mixer . See Photo 2.



5. Now I like to use a Pastry Cutter/blender for this part- it helps you incorporate the flours into the butter/sugar mixture much more easily and is quicker, (especially when your hands hurt sometimes like mine!)   See Photo 3 above.  With the pastry cutter, you push down on the bottom of the bowl and perform a crushing and turning motion, rotating left and right. Do this to all the mixture until the butter had taken in all the flour, (see Photo 3).

Alternatively, you can do this ‘cutting in’ process, using 2 butter knives. Note though that the mixture will not come together into a ball at this stage. It will be very crumbly and that is fine. 


Collage of bringing the dough together by hand into a rough ball in the bowl - photo 4.

6. Next, in the bowl or on  a large sheet of baking/parchment paper very gently knead the dough just until it starts to come together, and no more.  It will change from a white lumpy powder into a beige smooth dough.  See Photo 4. Don’t over knead it, as we want a soft delicate biscuit.


Collage of adding ground anise spice to the dough and after kneading in - photo 5.

7. Next you can add the powdered anise to the biscuit dough. You can of course mix this in with the flour at step 4 above. I however, was making 2 different versions of the Scottish shortbread, while taking these photos. In the end, I actually preferred the end result, from kneading the anise into the prepared dough. It isn’t as efficient a method of adding the anise, but it results in a very slight colour change in the dough, but also some really nice specks of the anise, peaking through the dough.

You can also add some more anise next time you make them, and adjust to your favourite level. Just take a note each time you make a change, and increase by only a 1/8 tsp as the anise can be strong. See Photo 5.


Round Cookie cutter on SHortbreadbread dough - photo 6.

8. Next, on lightly floured paper, roll the dough out very gently to a thickness of about 1/2cm (5mm or 1/5in) thick. See Photo 6 , for an idea of how it should look.  I prefer to flatten out by hand, and then use a rolling pin, to make it smooth and more even.

9. Using a flour dipped cutter, cut out as many biscuits as you can, see Photo 6. Gently peel back the excess dough, & use a palette knife to gently place the cut out cookie dough, on to the prepared baking trays/sheets. Leave at least 2.5cm/1″ gap in-between the cookies.

10. Using the scraps left over, gently squish the dough together into a ball and flatten into a disc shape, before re-rolling and cutting out some more shortbread biscuits.


Cut out rounds of shortbread biscuits with holes in the dough on a baking sheet before baking - photo 7.

11. Once all has been very carefully transferred to the baking tray/sheet, make holes with a fork over the top of the biscuits. See Photo 7.

12. .Place the baking trays/sheets in the fridge (or somewhere extra cold) for 60 minutes. If you omit this step, the shortbread will be too soft and not hold any of it’s shape. If you can’t get the baking trays/sheets into the fridge, you could try transferring with the paper, to regular trays.


Baked round shortbread on parchment paper - photo 8.

13. When the time is nearly up, heat up the oven to 180c/160c Fan/350f/Gas Mark 4, (or sooner if your oven takes a long time to come to temperature).

14. Place the 2 trays/sheets in the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes. You may need a little longer, but you want to take them out when the edges are just starting to turn a very pale golden colour. (See Photo 8). I turned and rotated the trays during baking to ensure an even bake. If the biscuits move when very gently pushed, they are ready.

Be warned though that they are still soft, so take the trays out and leave for 5-7mins before touching them. At this just out of the oven stage, sprinkle plenty of granulated sugar on top of the biscuits.   See Photo 8.


Close up of baked round shortbread biscuit with granulated sugar on top - photo 9.

15. After the 5-7 minutes, transfer (very carefully) to a cooling rack by lifting the baking/parchment paper. Leave the biscuits to cool down completely.

16. Once cooled down, melt the chocolate. I use the microwave, break up the chocolate and microwave in 30 second bursts, with mixing in-between each burst. The more you heat, the more the mixing distributes the heat evenly, helping the chocolate to melt and thus less heating required and less chance of burning the chocolate. Never heat longer than 30 seconds at a time. Alternatively, melt the broken chocolate, in a bowl on top of a pan of barely simmering water (making sure the bowl does not touch the water in the pan).


Collage of dipping shortbread in melted chocolate and then into coconut - photo 10.

17. Leave the melted chocolate to cool a few minutes, before dipping half of a biscuit into it. I preferred to dip and use a small spoon to coat the top half of the biscuit, and used the spoon to scrape the excess from the under side of the biscuit. See Photo 10.

18. Immediately after, hold the dipped end of the biscuit, over the bowl of coconut, gently dip the end of the biscuit into the coconut. See Photo 10. Then use your opposite hand or a small spoon to sprinkle more coconut on the rest of the wet chocolate. I just added to the top side of the biscuit.


Round shortbread biscuits half coated in chocolate and coconut on parchment paper drying - photo 11.

19. Shake off any excess coconut and place the biscuit back down on to the paper lined baking tray/sheet to set.

20. Proceed with dipping and coating the rest of the biscuits and leave to set. You can place in the fridge to set quicker, but if the room temperature is not too hot, they will set quite quickly.

21. Enjoy now with a cup of tea or coffee (or Whisky) or store in an airtight tin or container where they will last at least a week. I prefer cake tins. Once set, they are fine for stacking.


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Scottish coconut shortbread on a plate on  a wooden table with xmas decsand whisky.

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Sally Newtons shortbread from my recipe with drizzled white chocolate and yellow sprinkles stacked on a plate.

Here’s some of the shortbread made by my friend Sally who just happened to appear on The Great American Baking Show this year on the holiday’s edition (2019). (See Photo 11). She flavoured hers with orange zest and cardamom, and added a nice glaze too! Check Sally’s blog out Bewitching Kitchen.


READERS’ PHOTOS & FEEDBACK

This is one of my popular recipes, but don’t just take my word for it. Read what others thought and see photos of their bakes using my recipe.

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DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Easy, beginner

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

close shot of Scottish chocolate coconut shortbread on a plate with teapot and flower.
Print

CHOCOLATE & COCONUT SCOTTISH SHORTBREAD

Using my Traditional Scottish Shortbread recipe, I developed this chocolate and coconut version, with just a hint of anise! Still with the same melt in the mouth texture, I have been told my shortbread is so much better than a certain popular brand you can buy!
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine British, Scottish
Keyword Anise, Biscuits, Chocolate, Coconut, Cookies, Egg-free, Scottish
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 20 Biscuits
Author Caro
SAVE RECIPE Share on Facebook

Equipment

  • Scales or measuring cups
  • Large spoon
  • Stand or Hand Mixer, (or Medium-Large Mixing bowl & spoon)
  • Pastry Cutter/pastry blender (optional)
  • Baking/parchment paper
  • Baking Sheet/Tray x 2
  • Cookie cutter, round – I used one about 2"/5cm in diameter
  • Palette knife or sharp kitchen spatula
  • Timer or Phone Timer
  • Cooling rack
  • Bowl for melting chocolate
  • Bowl for coconut

Ingredients

For The Biscuit Dough

  • 225 grams Butter unsalted, cubed & softened (1 cup/2 sticks or 8 oz)
  • 110 grams Caster Sugar (3¾ oz, ½ cup Extra/super fine sugar, see above notes)
  • 225 grams Plain Flour (1 ¾ cups All Purpose or 8 oz)
  • 110 grams Corn Flour (3¾ oz, 1 cup less 1 tbsp Corn Starch *see above)
  • 1¾ – 2 tsp Anise, powdered (optional)
  • Pinch of Salt

For The Coating

  • Granulated Sugar for topping
  • 200 grams Chocolate (50/50 Milk & Dark) (7 oz, half bitter, half semi-sweet)
  • 100 grams Desiccated Coconut (1 cup, unsweetened shredded coconut, see above & notes)

Instructions

Prepare The Dough

  • Weigh & cube the butter & leave till softened. If you forget to take the butter out to soften, here’s a hack I reviewed to soften butter in about 10 minutes.
  • Add the sugar to the butter in your mixing bowl & give a light mix together. Then mix on low speed with a stand/hand mixer until light and fluffy, (known as ‘creaming the butter & sugar’).
  • Line baking sheets/trays with baking/parchment paper & grease in place if the trays do not have a lip (or you could lose your biscuits).
  • Sieve in the flour, corn flour/starch into the sugar/butter mixture. Mix in by hand, don’t use a mixer.
  • Use a Pastry Cutter/blender for this next part- incorporates the flours into the butter/sugar mixture much more easily & is quicker. Push the pastry cutter down on the bottom of the bowl, rotating left & right. Do this to all the mixture until the butter had taken on all the flour. Alternatively, do this ‘cutting in’ process, using 2 butter knives. Note that the mixture will not come together into a ball at this stage. It will be very crumbly & that is fine.
  • In the bowl or on a large sheet of baking/parchment paper, very gently knead the dough just until it starts to come together, and no more. Now add the powdered anise to the biscuit dough. You can mix this in with the flour at step 4 above. I actually preferred the end result, from kneading the anise into the prepared dough. It results in a very slight colour change in the dough, but also some really nice specks of the anise, peaking through the dough.
  • Place baking/parchment paper on top of the dough and roll out to about ½cm (5mm or ⅕in) thick. Using a flour dipped cutter, cut out as many biscuits as you can.
  • Very carefully transfer them with a palette knife to the prepared baking trays/sheets, leaving a good 2½cm/1" gap at least, in-between. Make holes with a fork all over the slabs, but very carefully not to go too far down & break them.

Chill The Dough

  • Place both trays/sheets in the fridge (or somewhere extra cold) for 60 minutes. If you omit this step, the shortbread will be too soft & not hold any of its shape. If you can’t get the baking trays/sheets into the fridge, you could try transferring with the paper, to regular trays.

Bake The Shortbread

  • Heat up the oven to 180c/160c Fan/350f/Gas Mark 4, to coincide with the chilling time ending.
  • Place the 2 trays/sheets in the oven & bake for approximately 15 minutes. You may need a little longer, but you want to take them out when the edges are just starting to turn a very pale golden colour. Be warned though they should still be very soft, so take the trays out and leave for 5-7mins before moving them. At this just out of the oven stage, sprinkle plenty of granulated sugar on top of the biscuits.
  • After the 5-7 minutes, transfer (very carefully) to a cooling rack by lifting the baking/parchment paper. Leave the biscuits to cool down completely.

Decorating The Biscuits

  • Melt the chocolate. I use the microwave, break up the chocolate and microwave in 30 second bursts, with mixing in-between each burst. Never heat longer than 30 seconds at a time. Alternatively, melt the broken chocolate, in a bowl on top of a pan of barely simmering water (making sure the bowl does not touch the water in the pan).
  • Leave the melted chocolate to cool a few minutes, before dipping half of a biscuit into it. I preferred to dip and use a small spoon to coat the top half of the biscuit, and used the spoon to scrape the excess from the under side of the biscuit.
  • Immediately after, hold the dipped end of the biscuit, over the bowl of coconut, gently dip the end of the biscuit into the coconut. Then use your opposite hand or a small spoon to sprinkle more coconut on the rest of the wet chocolate. I just added to the top side of the biscuit.
  • Shake off any excess coconut & place the biscuit back down on to the paper lined baking tray/sheet to set. Proceed with dipping & coating the rest of the biscuits and leave to set. You can place in the fridge to set quicker, but if the room temperature is not too hot, they will set quite quickly.
  • Enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee (or Whisky) & store leftovers in an airtight tin or container, where they will last at least a week.
    Round Scottish coconut chocolate shortbread on a plate with single broken biscuit to the front.

Notes

*Substitute for Caster Sugar – Super/Extra Fine Sugar, or grind your own.  See main recipe above for info.
*I am told Shortbread can be frozen, but I have never tried myself, so can’t say for sure how these will compare to freshly baked ones.
*Cornflour (Corn Starch) should not be omitted as this gives the biscuits their melt-in-the-mouth texture. As well as using proper butter, this is what makes this a traditional Scottish recipe that we are used to here in Scotland.
*Do not skip the chilling stage as it is very important for these and most biscuit/cookie recipes. 
Scottish coconut chocolate round shortbread biscuits served with teapot and pink flower.
 
*See main recipe for readers’ pics and feedback page to hear how others rave about these biscuits.
*You can also use seasonal cookie cutters for these biscuits, just not really intricate ones because of the soft nature of the biscuits. See main recipe for pics & ideas.
Go to my flavoured Shortbread – Cranberry, Orange & Pecan Shortbread.
Please take a few seconds to rate this recipe – scroll down to the very bottom of the main recipe post & leave your feedback, thanks Caro xx
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Chocolate Coconut Scottish Shortbread

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One thought on “Chocolate Coconut Scottish Shortbread

  1. (5/5)

    5 stars
    A great recipe and instructions and proper Scottish shortbread cookies. Use all the time.

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