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Under 30 Minutes

Coconut Balls

Inspired by Mexican wedding cakes and Russian tea cakes, these rich, crumbly cookies get a hint of tropical flavor from flaked coconut.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 36
  • Yield: Makes 36
Coconut Balls

Source: Everyday Food, November 2003

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Mix in flour and salt until they're just combined. Stir in coconut.

  2. Roll dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake until just starting to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Roll the warm cookies in confectioners' sugar; let cool completely.

Cook's Note

Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Reviews (50)

  • youngbakes 24 Mar, 2013

    I skipped the sugar-coating part but,it still turned out alright.
    But what scared me after adding the coconut was that the dough was crumbly to work with and my electric-mixer couldn't reach the bottom of the bowl so I took out the bowl and I had to work with my hands. Still, the dough was falling apart on the baking sheet, but it turned out okay. An alright recipe

  • youngbakes 24 Mar, 2013

    This recipe was alright, I didn't roll it in sugar but it was still fine. the dough was crumbly to work with so, I didn't Know whether or not it was suppose to be like that so, I just pulled it out and used my hands for the rest of the recipe.

  • Melissa A 3 Jul, 2012

    As i read the review's and almost changed my mind and not make them. I opted to make this an experiment and im glad i did! Keeping in mind what the other reader's had said.Made 1 half original recipe and the other half added 1 teas of vanilla (for extra flavor)Was going to make 3rd batch with brown suger but when i taste these little sweet buttery bon bon's they were perfect, posted the picture of finished product before we ate them up! will omit the vanilla only becouse it made no taste dif

  • HappyKidlets 28 Jun, 2012

    I made this recipe twice in 2 days. These are simply amazing. So simple and yet complex tasting at the same time. I love how the coconut flavor is so delicate. Hubby doesnt like coconut and he loved the cookies. I followed the recipe. Only comment is instead of making the balls as large as stated (like I did the 1st time), I made them half the size which are perfectly bite-sizable and make them less messy to eat! Great for when one needs to watch out for nut allergies!

  • HappyKidlets 28 Jun, 2012

    I made this recipe twice in 2 days. These are simply amazing. So simple and yet complex tasting at the same time. I love how the coconut flavor is so delicate. Hubby doesnt like coconut and he loved the cookies. I followed the recipe. Only comment is instead of making the balls as large as stated (like I did the 1st time), I made them half the size which are perfectly bite-sizable and make them less messy to eat! Great for when one needs to watch out for nut allergies!

  • bwhoward25 26 Jan, 2011

    this recipe is a flop, not much taste

  • bwhoward25 26 Jan, 2011

    this recipe is a flop

  • jacquelinehp 23 Jan, 2011

    I added almond and vanilla extracts and the cookies were tasty. For the second pan, I wrapped dough around small amount of almond paste, which made for a surprise when you bite in and added some moisture and flavor. YUM ! Saw a similar recipe (for Almond Crescents), minus the coconut, which included 2 tablespoons of cream cheese. Will try that with the coconut and almond paste in the center. Love to experiment.

  • jacquelinehp 23 Jan, 2011

    I took the advice of another lady

  • CherryBlossomGirl 23 Jan, 2011

    Sonap: 2 sticks of butter in the U.S. equals 227 grams (half a pound).

  • joyously 23 Jan, 2011

    To Sonap, 1 pound of butter is divided lengthwise into 4 pieces and wrapped, each piece iscalled a stick or 1/4lb. So 2 sticks are 1/2 lb. (8oz.) and is close to 250 ml., according to my measuring cup.

  • Sonap 23 Jan, 2011

    How much are 2 sticks of butter? 500grams? I live in Australia, we are not used these terms.
    thanks

  • sueasty 23 Jan, 2011

    I have not made these yet- but they do sound like russian tea nut cakes.
    I want to suggest adding coconut extract with almond extract for flavor and that might solve what some posters are saying they find a lack of coconut flavor with these cookies.

  • BarbaraAB 23 Jan, 2011

    I have made therse countless times in the past 5 years and they are now on my "favorite cookies" list and I try and bake a lot of cookies. They are easy to prepare and always receive rave reviews for their delicious melt-in-your-mouth quality. I like to add 1/2-1 tsp of almond extract when creaming the butter as I think the flavors of almond and coconut are super together.

  • michellesaintonge 3 Sep, 2010

    I have made these time and time again. People rave over them! I'm not sure what everyone else is doing but mine turn out like perfection and there is never one left on the plate! I use butter and follow the recipe exactly- I use a kitchenaid mixer. I find that the coconut flavour really expands as you chew and ends up completely delightful!

  • Mokihana 28 Jul, 2010

    I just tried these tonight and was really disappointed. There's not nearly enough coconut flavoring in them, and some of them fell apart as I was rolling them in the powdered sugar. (I used real butter.) I should've added coconut flavoring for more coconut taste. Like kristipicchioni, I tossed the recipe.

  • nastynancy 6 Apr, 2010

    I substituted 3/4 c finely chopped unsalted macadamias, 1/4 c unsweetened coconut for 1 cup of sweetened flaked as that is what I had, and added 2 t coconut extract, rolled them warm and then rolled again in confectioners sugar. Great flavor and texture

  • kristipicchioni 26 Mar, 2010

    I didn't care for these. They were too plain- not nearly enought coconut flavor to justify the effort and calories. If you want to try it I would recommend adding some coconut extract to boost the flavor. I just tossed the recipe.

  • mcaguayo77 23 Mar, 2010

    Successss!!! I made this recipe today and really like it..! my kids were crazy for them...very simple, but delicious!
    recomended 100%

  • cheesepetrina 21 Mar, 2010

    I didn't mean to do that twice.

  • cheesepetrina 21 Mar, 2010

    This recipe is fast and easy... and of course yummy!!!!!

  • cheesepetrina 21 Mar, 2010

    This recipe is fast and easy... and of course yummy!!!!!

  • Fruitjelly 21 Mar, 2010

    It takes me longer than others to work out these recepies as in Italy we calculate everything in grams, but it's worth it. I could not find the sweetened coconut so I just added 2 tablespoons of confectioner's sugar and added some flavouring and turned out perfect. My husband loved them but said there wasn't enough coconut. So the second time I made them, I substituted 1/4 cup of flour with coconut. It's worth a try-

  • janesarahl 19 Mar, 2010

    I know these as russian teraballs without the sugar to the person who had trouble with the icing you really roll them twice and then it sticks. They are so good I try not to make them to often..wil try with the coconut whih sounds incredible

  • Bonbons 19 Mar, 2010

    I noticed there wasn't any "flavoring" listed, so I plan to add a tsp. of almond and a tsp. of vanilla. I've added this combination to sugar cookies and what a difference it makes. Give it a try...I think you'll like it.

  • bavariabarb 19 Mar, 2010

    If you substitute for the confectioners sugar you may get results that are not as good, since confectioners sugar in the US also contains corn starch. (This is not necessarily true with icing sugar or powdered sugar in other parts of the world).

  • ginger_grrrl 24 Dec, 2009

    I followed the recipe exactly. They were delcious. Not for the dieters... use real butter to avoid crumbly cookies.... Planning on making them for a friend that loves cocounts...

  • macskid 21 Dec, 2009

    I made these cookies over the weekend, followed the recipe and they were horrible no flavor, crumbled in your hand...what went wrong? I decided I am not destined to become the baker my grandmother was!

  • elisa58 19 Dec, 2009

    ....ran out of space! So due to us being used to the taste of organic and less sugar we do not miss it.
    One issue, how to keep the sugar from 'vanishing' on the warm cookies...I recoated some of them cold to see if that helped, it did not. Suggestions please.

  • CCiraco 20 Mar, 2009

    AIZA- I don't remember off hand the amount of sugar in the recipe I used but it was from the Betty Crocker Christmas cookbook (sorry Martha)... it was very simple but a little time consuming.

  • octoberstar13 10 Mar, 2009

    These are the easiest, tasty little guys ever... Each one is like a shortbread sweet coconut explosion! Good with coffee

  • lillimae 8 Mar, 2009

    Sooo good! These are amazing. If possible, eat while still warm!

  • cksspace 7 Mar, 2009

    I added a small amount of chocolate chips in half of my cookie dough......they taste equally as great! Like an Almond Joy Candy!!

  • mmequeen 7 Mar, 2009

    Nutritional Info (does not include sugar for dusting)
    Servings Per Recipe: 36
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories: 85.8
    Total Fat: 6.4 g
    Cholesterol: 13.2 mg
    Sodium: 17.2 mg
    Total Carbs: 6.5 g
    Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
    Protein: 0.9 g

    I use the recipe engine at http://recipes.sparkpeople.com

  • Nay53 7 Mar, 2009

    The coconut is just like Bakers in a bag usually where you find chocolate chips. You could probably use fresh cocnut and just grate it.

  • Lim3 7 Mar, 2009

    martha333 - I live in aplace without sweetened flaked coconut .
    I'm not lazy...I don't have it in a store.
    does anyone else have an idea whaat to do wothout sweetened flaked coconut ?
    thanks

  • jonahh 6 Mar, 2009

    What is the nutrition value for these cookies

  • cookiesgalore 6 Mar, 2009

    That's true "Dawnsw", most desserts in the U.S. are over sweetened, and you don't notice it when your taste buds are acclimated to it. I never use 'sweetened coconut', I get unsweetened flaked coconut from any health food store. In answer to your question: YES, flaked sweetened coconut is REALLY,REALLY sweet (at least it is to me since I do not eat much sugar).

  • MissPixie 6 Mar, 2009

    A "stick of butter" contains 8 tablespoons. They come shaped so you can cut off what you need in tablespoons. I had the reverse prob when I lived in Scotland where things are done in grams.

  • DawnSW 6 Mar, 2009

    Here in Australia butter comes by weight, not sticks. What is a stick of butter? I am guessing 125g or near enough to 4oz but some explanation would be nice.

    I am pretty sure we do not have sweetened flaked coconut either, but then, most American things are too sweet for Australian taste buds so I will use ICING sugar = USA's confectioners sugar and add perhaps a tiny bit more. Is sweetened coconut REALLY sweet?

  • Aiza 6 Mar, 2009

    CCiraco..i loved the idea of almonds do you remember quantity of sugar, because these have sweetend cocounut......

  • CCiraco 6 Mar, 2009

    These sound like cookies I made at Christmas which were called Snowballs but they might actually be called Russian Tea Cakes too. Except I put finely chopped almonds in them...TASTY! I'm going to try these with just coconut...I can't wait!

  • osagej4 6 Mar, 2009

    What if you used plain, unsweetened coconut flakes in this - will it not be sweet enough??

  • beverson 6 Mar, 2009

    Since this recipe only has 1/4 cup powdered sugar, the sweetness of the coconut is probably important. Also, unsweetened coconut sometimes seems dryer than sweetened. Personally, I'd use what I had on hand and just add a little extra sugar -- bearing in mind that it might turn out a little different.

  • ferlie 6 Mar, 2009

    I have made these with finely chopped pecans. Mmmm good

  • Lim3 6 Mar, 2009

    I don't have sweetened flaked coconut only plain. What should I do?

  • Lim3 6 Mar, 2009

    I don't have sweetened flaked coconut only plain. What should I do?

  • threebrothersbakeshop 26 Dec, 2008

    These are excellent. Similar to Russian tea cakes which have walnuts instead of coconut.

  • threebrothersbakeshop 26 Dec, 2008

    These are excellent. Similar to Russian tea cakes which have walnuts instead of coconut.

  • kitchenlove 28 Dec, 2007

    I made these for some of my Christmas cookies this year. The cookies have a delicate texture and are really beautiful. They couldn't be easier to make, always a plus! They would be really good for a bake sale too.

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