Further Adventures in Chinese Baking: Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Rains over the lane houses below our flat. Bouncy rain. Dark skies.


I think the Plum Rains have started.

This has been the driest year so far since we arrived in Shanghai in early 2009, though the low lying grimness hasn’t eased up.

When I first moved here, I lived in a 4-story lane house out in the wilds of Pudong. My laundry line was a pair of bamboo poles jutting out from my bedroom window, slid into metal rings at the end. For the entire month of March that year, it rained solidly. I couldn’t dry my laundry as I hadn’t bought (or even found) a folding laundry drying rack and I couldn’t exactly hang them out on the bamboo poles in the rain.  I draped soaking wet jeans over the washing machine, underpants over the shower curtains, shirts over chair backs. I was always cold and damp. It wasn’t a particularly warm flat. It was a pretty flat, well decorated, but cold and poorly insulated. I shivered under blankets and admired the beautifully carved wooden furniture and lovely framed calligraphy.

Two years ago to this day I was running around the city trying to deal with the visa crap brought about by changing jobs, which involved registering with the police at this end of town, going out to Pudong to apply for a temporary visa extension (long story) then back to the police for a second registration with the new details. It rained so hard that the street puddles were shin deep and I was saturated. I squelched getting into my final taxi and left an imprint of my wet form on the polyester seat cover when I got out. Then it began to hail golf balls.

Today, it’s just rainy and dark, which is fine, as I had nothing urgent to do. Also, now I own a really awesome, huge rainbow umbrella so going outdoors isn’t as daunting. The rains here in Shanghai are quite saturating if you aren’t ready for them.

Today, in a fit of domesticity mirroring last week’s flurry of activity making peanut butter cookies for Unbrave Girl, I made chocolate coconut cookies for Doug. Tomorrow’s his birthday and he’s not really a cake kind of guy.

Let me show you how I made these cookies. I started with the bag of desicated coconut, which was a gift from Fiona (along with Yunnanese cheesecloth and a candy thermometer, which will be addressed in a future cheese-related post). The rest of the cookie had to be hunted down at the overpriced import shop.


Scavenged items come with mighty carbon footprint- except silicon cups, which were made here but labeled in Portuguese


I didn’t find chocolate chips so made do with fine imported chocolate and a cleaver


Because the cookies were for Doug’s birthday, I combined the dry ingredients in our best china rather than in saucepan


So much chocolate! And coconut! So thick! Broken fingers again.


The ones in the flower shaped silicon cups are an attempt at mimicking a cake


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About MaryAnne

I live in Hanoi. I used to live in Shanghai (hence this blog's title) but I left in 2013. I tend to travel. I cook stuff. I read a lot. I try to scare myself silly with regularity. I write about it all. A lot.