These pandan cookies are pandan-flavored coconut cookies with gula melaka (palm sugar) topping. The cookies have a wonderfully crisp and crumbly texture and will make your kitchen smell so divine when baking them. The combination of pandan, coconut, and gula melaka in these cookies is perfect every single time.
These pandan coconut cookies are simple cookies. They are eggless and other than the butter, sugar, and flour, the only other ingredients you need are freshly grated coconut, pandan essence, pandan extract, and grated gula Melaka.
I used store-bought pandan extract which comes in a concentrated gel-like consistency to make these aromatic cookies. The gel-like consistency is perfect to ensure the cookie dough does not become too sticky. I would not recommend using homemade pandan extract because homemade extract tends to be runny. That will result in your cookies being chewy instead of crumbly, which is how these pandan cookies should be.
The gula melaka in this pandan gula melaka cookies is only for garnish and you can totally exclude it if you wish so.
What is Pandan?
Pandan is known as screwpine leaves in English. It is a plant grown mostly in the Southeast Asian region. It has long and thin blade-like leaves that are green in color. Young leaves are of a lighter shade and the older ones are a darker green.
Pandan is generally not eaten on its own, but used mostly as a flavoring and also to enhance the smell of food and drinks. It is used in both sweet and savory dishes and in drinks too. For flavor enhancement, it is often knotted and added to dishes while cooking and discarded after cooking, leaving only its lovely aroma in the cooked dishes. Pandan is also used as a natural green colorant. This is done by grinding/processing the leaves with some water and then straining it to discard the pulp.
What is Gula Melaka?
Gula melaka is a type of palm sugar from coconut trees. It is dark brown in color and often comes in solid cylinder blocks. This sugar is famous in Malaysia and is often an ingredient in many of its traditional sweet treats. The name Melaka refers to the Melaka state in Malaysia where this palm sugar originates.
How to Make the Cookies
- Granulated sugar
- All purpose flour
- Grated coconut (fresh & unsweetened)
- Pandan essence
- Pandan extract
- Gula melaka/palm sugar (grated)
Mixing the cookie dough
- Start by creaming the butter, sugar and salt until they turn creamy. Do not overbeat.
- Add in the pandan essence and pandan extract.
- Beat until both the essence and extract and well combined into the creamed mixture.
- Next, add in the flour. Mix well.
- Add the grated coconut.
- Mix until the dough comes together into a ball.
Shaping and baking the cookies
- Scoop the dough into 1 tablespoon sizes. Form them into round balls with your hands. Place the pandan cookie balls onto a parchment-lined baking tray.
- Press the balls with a fork, first horizontally.
- And then vertically.
- This should leave a pretty criss-cross pattern on the unbaked pandan cookies.
- Spread about ⅛ teaspoon of the grated gula melaka onto each of the cookies.
- Bake the cookies for 15 minutes at 170 degrees Celsius, until the sides of the cookies start turning golden brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool down on a wire rack.
Store the baked pandan cookies in an airtight container to retain their crisp and crumbly texture.
What is the texture of these cookies and can you make them into chewy cookies?
- This recipe is for crispy and crumbly pandan cookies. With the inclusion of freshly grated coconut, these cookies require a slightly longer baking time of 15 minutes to get them to bake to a crisp texture.
- If you want to make chewy cookies, all you need to do is reduce the baking time to 10 minutes. That way, these pandan coconut cookies will bake with lovely crisp edges and soft and chewy centers.
Can you make these cookies with fresh pandan extract?
- To make pandan extract from fresh pandan leaves, you will need to grind the leaves with water or liquid before straining the pulp out for the extract. While this is doable for cakes, it will not work for cookies, and definitely not these pandan cookies.
- Cookie recipes are often without any liquid (other than eggs and essences) and adding liquid into cookie doughs will result in cookies that are with cake-like consistency and not cookie consistency.
- Hence it is advisable to use store-bought pandan extract that is concentrated when making these cookies.
Can you roll and cut these pandan coconut cookies?
- This pandan flavored cookie dough is firm enough to roll and cut with a cookie cutter. And while you can do just that, the grated coconut in the cookie dough will leave the edges of your cookies serrated. This is not very appealing, visually.
- Hence, my preferred way of shaping these pandan coconut cookies is by hand. If you don't like the criss-cross pattern fork pattern on the cookies, you can shape the dough into balls and press them lightly with the back of a drinking glass. That will give you nicely rounded, slightly flattened pandan cookies.
Can you omit the gula melaka topping?
- Yes, you certainly can.
- You can leave the cookies plain without any gula melaka topping. Alternatively, you can decorate them with sprinkles or even toasted coconut if you wish.
Can you replace the grated coconut with desiccated coconut or coconut flakes?
- Desiccated coconut is too dry and would require different measurements if used as a substitute for freshly grated coconut, hence it is not advisable for this pandan cookies recipe.
- Coconut flakes, on the other hand, can be used in these pandan coconut cookies. I prefer to process them into fine, grated consistency before adding them to the cookie dough. Do note that you should use unsweetened flakes instead of sweetened ones to avoid the cookies from becoming too sweet.
Here are my other posts you might want to check out
- Coconut Candy Recipe (with Fresh Grated Coconut)
- Crispy Coconut Cookies - Light and easy cookies
- Coconut Rolls with Coconut Glaze
- Coconut Candy (with Desiccated Coconut)
- Cherry Coconut Cookies - Easy Christmas Cookie Idea
Here is the full printable version of my easy pandan coconut cookies recipe.
Pandan Cookies with Coconut and Gula Melaka
- 120 g granulated sugar
- 210 g butter (salted)
- 350 g all-purpose flour
- 210 g grated coconut (fresh & unsweetened)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pandan essence
- ¼ teaspoon pandan extract
- 30 g gula melaka /palm sugar (finely grated)
- Preheat oven to 170 ° Celsius.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Suffice if it is creamy, do not overbeat.
- Add the pandan essence and extract and beat again until they are well incorporated into the creamed mixture and the green color from the extract is evenly distributed.
- Add the flour and mix until combined.
- Add the grated coconut and mix again until well combined.
- Scoop the pandan coconut cookie dough into 1 tablespoon sizes.
- Shape them into round balls by hand and place them slightly apart on the prepared baking tray.
- Lightly press the pandan cookie dough balls with a fork horizontally. Lift the fork and press again, this time vertically. This will make a criss-cross pattern on the cookies. Apply only light pressure when pressing with the fork to avoid your pandan cookies from becoming too thin and flat.
- Sprinkle approximately ⅛ grated gula melaka on each cookie.
- Bake the pandan gula melaka cookies for 15 minutes at 170°Celsius for crisp and crumbly pandan cookies. For chewy cookies, reduce the baking time to 10 minutes.
- Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack before storing them in an airtight container.
And that's my super easy and super yummy pandan cookies recipe for you.
Happy Baking 🙂