My Cape Cod Kitchen: Cranberry Coconut Cookies and a Spring Clean Out

Linda Maria Steele

Linda Maria Steele

“I am going to notice the lights of the earth, the sun and the moon and the stars, the lights of our candles as we march, the lights with which spring teases us, the light that is already present.”
– Anne Lamott

On my walk over the weekend near Great Sippewissett marsh I noticed the return of the redwing black birds. The ones with the sleek looking black body with scarlet-and-yellow patches on their shoulder. I love when I first spot them in the marsh again after the winter because they remind me that spring and the longer warm days will be arriving soon. Even if winter still makes an appearance here or there, like the snow we had last Friday, spring is most definitely on its way.

We walked as far as the cranberry bogs on the north side of the path. The way the sun hits the bogs is so beautiful. After the walk I got in my kitchen and felt inspired to bake a batch of Cranberry Coconut cookies, a tasty and easy-to-make drop cookie, to have as a treat for the week in school and work lunches. Since moving to the Cape and watching how beautiful the bogs are, I find I use cranberries in my baking and fresh salads so much more than I ever did before. I also felt inspired to plan a Spring Kitchen Clean Out and I want to challenge you to join me.

Time to organize the kitchen

Time to organize the kitchen

As spring approaches I’ll set aside a little time to go through my pantry, spice drawer, kitchen cabinets and refrigerator to clear out what is either no longer fresh, not in use or in disarray in my cabinets. I am going to set aside an afternoon, put some good music on, roll up my sleeves and get rid of what I don’t want and make a list of what I can pick up to restock from the grocery store.

I’ll toss out my baking powder and baking soda and even check to see how fresh my spices are. Things I use often are gone before their shelf life is up but there are always things I don’t use very often that may need to be replenished next time I’m at the grocery store. As far as the cabinets, things get a little messy over time too, so I like to pull it all out and sort through the shelves and get things more organized before the new season arrives. Besides as winter gives way to spring, we tend to move away from mostly comfort foods and into lighter meals and snacks. So the ingredients we use most will shift too.

I am leaving you with the recipe for Cranberry Coconut Cookies and the invitation to begin a Spring Kitchen Clean Out of your own. Consider treating yourself to a new spice or cooking and baking ingredient you haven’t used before and incorporate it into a meal or baked treat soon. Perhaps you’ve been wanting to use parchment paper on your cookie tins for baking but haven’t picked any up yet. Or maybe you’d like a new set of wooden spoons because a couple of yours have broken or too many of your storage containers have lost their matching lids.

Getting your pantry and kitchen cabinets cleaned out and organized and adding something small can bring new inspiration into a hectic meal routine. It’s an easy and affordable way to tend to your kitchen so that when you do set out to cook or bake you’ll have what you need and know where everything is.

As for the cookie recipe, these are a favorite at our house. You know they’re done when the tops look light and fluffy and turn brown.

Cranberry Coconut Cookies

Cranberry Coconut Cookies

Cranberry Coconut Cookies


1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ cup unsweetened dried coconut
½ cup dried cranberries


1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with foil.
2) Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon, then beat in the egg
yolk and vanilla. Sift in the flour and salt then add the coconut and cranberries, and stir until just combined.
3.) Scoop rounded tablespoons of the dough and place on the prepared cookie sheets.
4.) Bake for approximately 12- 15 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

— Linda Maria Steele

Linda Maria Steele is the author of “Meet me in My Cape Cod Kitchen: Recipes for Seaside Living.” 

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