The last time I visited my boyfriend in Amsterdam, we had a delicious dinner at Amsterdam’s Cous Cous Club, which I would definitely recommend. There are only three options on the menu and only one veggie option, however the portions are huge, hearty and tasty! On the walk home from dinner we passed a cafe set inside an unmissable 1920s facade. CT Coffee and Coconuts opened towards the end of 2014, which explains why we hadn’t noticed it before. (There’s no chance I’d pass by somewhere with that name and resist going in!) The cafe was clearly going for the tropical vibe with drift wood signs outside and a surfboard logo. We made a plan to come back to the cafe before I left.
The morning before I got on my flight back to London we spent a few hours drinking fresh coconut water, eating coconut cookies and trying the most delicious Ethiopian coffee. If we hadn’t already eaten breakfast I would have wanted to order half the breakfast menu options (the vegetarian half obviously). Once you have passed through the unusual facade you find yourself in an impressively large open space. The high ceilings of the theatre allowed the owners to create three levels that are all open and airy. The materials have a raw and rustic feeling, with one of the top balconies covered in burlap beanbags. It’s clearly popular as we couldn’t find a seat despite the myriad of options scattered over the different levels. We made our way all the way to the top, in the bean bag zone. The staff were all lovely and went out of their way to make us comfortable and well fed, all the more impressive due to the overcrowded venue and the obstacle course of beanbags. Since the reason I noticed the cafe was for the name and the ever enticing allure of coconuts, I ordered the young coconut with fresh lime, Pim had fresh apple juice, because “Dutch apples are the best” apparently. The cafe’s signature cookies – Coconut cookies with a hit of espresso were a meal in themselves. Crispy and golden brown on the outside and sweet and chewy on the inside. They had flecks of chocolate or espresso – I couldn’t actually tell. I want to try and remake these delicious cookies, though I doubt they consisted of entirely wholesome and healthy ingredients! With my grandfather in mind – the ultimate fan of coconut and chocolate combined, I experimented with a new and less sugary version of coconut cookies. The final version is crisp and coconuty on the outside and sweet and chewy on the inside. They can be made easily vegan if you use vegan chocolate or just leave out the chocolate. I’m quite sure my grandfather would have loved them if my mother hadn’t eaten the lot before I could send them to him…if you’re reading this grandpa – there’s more on the way.
For 20 small cookies:
2/3 cup condensed coconut milk (I found this great recipe)
2 cups desiccated coconut
2 tsp vanilla essence
3 tbsp ground almonds
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp maple syrup/honey/agave
40 g dark chocolate, chopped finely or grated
preheat oven to 180 c
Mix all the ingredients together in a big mixing bowl. The mixture will be stiff, but make sure its really well combined.
Using a tablespoon measure scoop out spoonfuls of mixture and press into the spoon so its really tightly packed. Because the mixture has no eggs, it doesn’t bind as well. So as long as you make each cookie really tightly packed then they work well. line them up on a large baking sheet lined with grease-proof paper.
Cook them for 12 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden brown. Once you’ve taken them out the oven either let them cool completely on the baking sheet or move them carefully to a wire rack to cool. While hot they are quite fragile, but once cooled they are fine. Put them in the fridge for half an hour before the chocolate dipping stage.
Melt about 60 grams of dark chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of hot water. Dip the bottom of each cookie in the chocolate then place them on grease-proof paper and back into the fridge to set.