Catholic Recipe: Coconut Islands
The time was December, 1953. The huge ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel was converted into the scene of action for the Pillsbury Annual Bake-Off. One hundred electric ranges were in operation, each manned by a finalist in the recipe contest. Working quietly at one of these ranges was a nun from Maryknoll Sister Maria Jose. She was making her Coconut Islands for the judges to test. Even if she didn't win a money prize, the convent would have a brand-new General Electric range, washing machine, and mixer! At last her deft fingers completed their task, and the cookies were carried away to the judges judges who were completely unaware of the contestants' identities except as numbers on the entries. It was a hard contest to judge, and it took time lots of time for the judges to make their decisions. But when it was all over, and the winners announced the next day on a televised program, Sister Maria Jose learned that she had won third place $2,500 and the range, washing machine, and mixer for her convent! Her prize-winning recipe, and others contributed by Maryknoll Sisters, follow.
Mix and sift flour, salt, and baking soda. Combine chocolate and coffee in small saucepan; stir over low heat until chocolate is melted and blended with coffee; cool. Cream shortening; add brown sugar gradually creaming well after each addition. Add egg; beat well. Beat in cooled chocolate mixture. Add sour cream alternately with dry ingredients. Mix until well blended. Stir in 1/3 cup coconut. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls on greased baking sheets, well apart. Bake at 375° for 12 to 15 minutes. Frost while warm with Chocolate Frosting (see recipe); sprinkle with remaining coconut. Makes about 3-1/2 dozen "islands."Recipe Source: Cook's Blessings, The by Demetria Taylor, Random House, New York, 1965