If you've never had tapioca cookies before, it's a must-try experience! These little cookies have a crumbly texture similar to meringue cookies, but as you chew they turn into a creamy coconutty goodness in your mouth! With the aroma of coconut and pandan leaves, the fun texture, and the fact that they're so tiny, I have a seriously hard time stopping myself from consuming too many of them! In fact, I just finished eating the batch I made for the video and now am craving more!
These cookies make a great edible gift as they last a long time in an airtight container, and they can be coloured to match the occasion. They're also gluten-free by nature!
Tip for success: The hardest part about this recipe is getting the right dough consistency. Since this recipe involves reducing a liquid, everyone will end up at a slightly different place in terms of liquid volume. The good news is that you can't really "ruin" the cookies either way, the cookies will just take on a slightly different texture depending on the moistness of your dough. A moist dough will yield cookies that spread out more when baked, and they will have a lighter, airier texture. A drier dough will hold their round shape, have a few cracks, and have a denser texture (like mine). SO, once you make your first batch and find it's a bit too dense, you can adjust accordingly to suit your preference 🙂
However, I think there is such a thing as too moist and too dry, and here's how you can tell: The dough is TOO MOIST when it can't hold its shape when formed into little balls, i.e. you make the little balls, place them onto the baking sheet, and they slump slightly and flatten out the bottom. Fix this by simply adding a bit more tapioca starch, but keeping in mind you're diluting the concentration of sugar and coconut milk by doing this, so don't add too much. TOO DRY is a little harder to tell, but basically if it's a real struggle to knead it because the dough is so stiff, it's probably a bit too dry and you can add a little water to moisten.
Watch The Full Video Tutorial!
All my recipes come with step-by-step video tutorials with extra tips not mentioned in the blog post, so make sure you watch the video below to ensure success - and if you enjoy the show, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. Thank you!
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 5-6 inches pandan leaf
- 1 egg yolk (from a large egg)
- 260 grams tapioca starch
- Food colouring, if desired
- Combine coconut milk, sugar and pandan leaf in a heavy-bottomed pot and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has a thick syrupy consistency (it will thicken as it cools, so it may not look super thick while it's still hot).
- Remove the pandan leaf and let the syrup cool until it's lukewarm, then stir in an egg yolk. If you want to colour the dough with only one colour, you can add the food colouring to the syrup at this point.
- Place the tapioca starch into a large mixing bowl, make a well in the center and pour in the coconut syrup. Using your hands, knead the dough together until it's smooth. If the dough feels very dry/stiff, add only a LITTLE water at a time; I like to use a spray bottle so I don't accidentally add too much water. If the dough feels too soft, add a little more tapioca starch. (Important: Please see "tip for success" above).
- If you want to colour the dough with different colours, split the dough into portions and knead in food colouring until the colour is smooth.
- Let the dough rest for 30 minutes covered in plastic wrap to it doesn't dry out.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.
- Form cookies into little balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone liner; you can also generously grease your baking sheet with oil (coconut oil if you have it!). Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the bottoms are browned slightly. I like the bake 1 tray at a time for consistency, but if you want to bake 2 trays at once, switch their positions half way through the baking process.
- Once the cookies are done, turn off the oven and open the oven door for about 8 seconds to drop the temperature, then put the cookies back in and let them cool in the warm oven. This step is optional but I recommend it as it allows the cookies to dry out completely and help lighten the texture. This also prevents the cookies from becoming too dense especially if your dough was on the dry side.
- Once cooled, package them into an airtight container and enjoy!
Note: Don't try to move the cookies as soon as they come out of the oven because a very thin layer of the bottom tends to stick to the pan if moved when hot. So I sacrifice 1 piece to check for browned bottoms, but then leave the rest alone until cool.