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The coconut tree is a classy and functional gift from Mother Nature. Its water is refreshing and nutritious, the wood is strong for construction, the veins can also be re-purposed for items such as brooms or toothpicks, the meat of the nut becomes cooking oil and skin lotion, the fresh milk is used in food and drink, and even the smoke from the burning husk can repel mosquitoes.

But my favorite use of this fine tree, as of late, is the cookie.

Coconut lovers will go ape for this recipe with its soft center and chewy coconut flakes. Pair with a glass of milk, coconut mojito, or a bottle of coconut rum (and hammock), and enjoy!

Ingredients:

• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour *
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup butter
• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1 egg
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut

* Alternative: Coconut flour, adding 1 1/4 cup of water to maintain consistency

Directions:

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
• Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in one bowl.
• In another bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until it is smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat until fluffy.
• Gradually blend in the flour mixture.
• Mix in the coconut.
• Drop dough by teaspoonfuls, about 3 inches apart, onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
• Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly toasted.
• Cool on wire racks.

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