Hay Donna, do I get a merit badge? Coconut cheesecake (featuring Girl Scout cookie crust)

March 5, 2007


Alright… So this is, hopefully, the last of my super-sweet torture devices for my beloved pregnant wife. In fact, my wife, who cannot eat sweets until our son is born, gave me the OK and was even my prime consultant on this recipe. The brilliant crust was all her concept…. but I’m getting ahead of myself.

This recipe was built on the confluence of inspiration and necessity. Last week, my wife came home with boxes of Girl Scout cookies. She’d ordered them before the doctor issued his ban on sweets. Normally, an excess of Girl Scout cookies wouldn’t be such a bad thing — heck, it really wasn’t a bad thing, except that they were now my Girl Scout cookies. Sure, I like Girl Scout cookies as much as the next guy — but I can’t go through more than a few boxes without starting to feel guilt and pressure (from my belt).


So my wife suggested that I make something with them. A pie crust perhaps? Some other sort of dessert? At first, I scoffed at the idea. (I imagine there is already a special merit badge out there for the Girl Scout who comes up with the most creative way to use the cookies. Picture some 12-year-old earning her stripes by building a thin mint fallout shelter somewhere in the mountains. How could I compete? And, more important, would I get a badge?) But my mindset shifted when it became clear that I need to get rid of these cookies.


Then I discovered that this month’s Hay Hay It’s Donna Day, being hosted by Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, was cheesecake. This, combined with a dinner party we had this weekend, created a compelling purpose for these cookies: I would feed the masses with a beautiful and tropical cheesecake.

So, once again, this isn’t really a torture device for my long-suffering wife. I mean, it was her idea after all. Wasn’t it?

Finally, I want to ask a technical question of you fellow cheescake lovers. I am using a water bath for my cheesecake. I’ve always preferred this method, because I think the texture is better and believe that having an uncracked top is always a goal. But I’m curious what you do.

… So, to water bath or not to water bath?

Click here to download the recipe for Coconut Cheesecake.



Coconut Cheese Cake
Yield: 12 servings
Time: 2 1/2 hours cooking, 3+ hours chilling

1 1/2 sleeves Girl Scout Trefoils or 7 oz. Shortbread Cookies
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. butter (melted)

One 14 oz. can coconut milk
32 oz. cream cheese (4 packages) (room temperature)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup shredded coconut (ground)
6 eggs (room temperature)
Juice of 3 limes
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In a food processor, combine the cookies, the sugar, the salt and the shredded coconut. Pulse together until the cookies are broken up completely and are roughly the texture and appearance of wet sand. It should not be overpulsed, as when making a flour, but should have some gravel sized pieces. Transfer to a bowl and then add the butter. Mix well.

3. Transfer the crust mixture to a 9’’ springform pan. Spread the crust evenly over the base of the pan. Using a heavy, flat-bottomed object — such as a ramekin — begin to tamp down the crust. You want to compress it, but not crush it.

4. Once it is even and pressed, place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes or until lightly brown and fragrant. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 min.

5. Set about 3 quarts of water to boil on the stove, and preheat the oven to 325F.

6. In a food processor, add the shredded coconut for the filling. Pulse the shredded coconut until finely ground. Once done, set aside for later use.

7. In a stand mixer, add the cream cheese and sugar. Mix at medium low speed for about 3 min. The texture should change significantly. It should begin to lighten and look more the consistency of whipped cream.

NOTE: You want to scrape the sides regularly as you go. It is important to do so throughout the process. This will ensure no lumps and the filling comes together completely.

8. While the mixer is on low speed, add the eggs to the mixture one at a time, waiting for each egg to be integrated completely before adding the next one. Once all eggs are added, add the coconut milk, vanilla and salt and mix. Finally, add the shredded coconut and mix once.

9. Time to prepare to bake. Wrap the base of your spring form pan in heavy duty aluminum foil. This will minimize any potential leakage. Pour the filling into the cake pan. Shake and rotate the pan lightly to bring out any air bubbles and to make sure it’s even.

10. Into the bath! Place the cake pan inside of a roasting pan. Place the roasting pan inside the oven. Add the boiling water to the roasting pan. It should come about midway up the sides of the cake tin. If not enough water, you can add hot tap water. You want to minimize the amount of hot splashing water, so follow these steps to avoid big problems.

11. Bake for 90 min. or until the center of the cheesecake measures 150F. After the 90 min. is complete, shut off the heat of your oven and leave the door cracked for 5 min. Close the door and let sit for 30 min. Remove the cake pan from the water. The water should still be hot, so just leave it alone until completely cool.

12. Let your cheesecake sit on the counter for 15 min. before covering with foil and placing in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. If you do not let it rest in the refrigerator, the cake will come apart. The structure of the cake depends on this time. Three hours is fine, but longer is even better.

12. Once firm, cut along the outside of the cake before removing the sleeve of the springform pan. Slice the cake, and garnish with more coconut. Enjoy!



  1. God, the 5th picture down (of the cream cheese being beaten) is a KNOCKOUT! It looks like some kind of incredibly expensive fabric or something. What kind of camera do you all use?

  2. Oh, and PS – water bath all the way, though it’s a giant pain in the ass. I think it makes it creamier and smoother and less dry and cake-y.

  3. As if craving Girl Scout cookies wasn’t bad enough, you’ve gone and made me crave cheesecake. I need to stop checking your blog when I’m already hungry!

  4. Looks delicious! I’ll have to try it…SOON!

  5. Wow. Was the coconut sweetened or unsweetened? Thanks!

  6. Did you *really* just take the two greatest things on earth (GS Shortbread cookies and Cream Cheese) and make dessert?! You rock!

  7. I put a pan of water on the shelf below. I have a 50/50 track record of the water bath seeping into my cheesecake. I don’t know if I am not wraping it with foil properly, if I don’t have the pan put together right, or if it is because I bought cheap springforms.

    Now if only my husband liked coconut. But in all reality I think I could hide ANYTHING in cheesecake and he would eat it with gusto!

  8. What a great idea for the cookies. I’ll definitely have to try that one out for myself.

    And just so you know, girl scout cookies can be frozen for later consumption. Not that I want to hinder any of your alternate eating methods of said cookies. It’s just incase your wife wants to save a box for after the baby is born.

  9. I water bath. In fact it drove me crazy that the recipe I used by Donna Hay did not use a water bath…and what did I get…a big giant crack! The rest of the ones I make this month will be in a water bath.
    Thanks for entering and good luck!

  10. Lovely! A real treat to behold. I’m with you on the water bath. Not a step to skip if you want it to set up perfectly. Delightful blog!

  11. This recipe looks awesome. Now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t order any GS cookies at work. Oh, and I agree with the others — water bath all the way.

  12. That looks incredible and I don’t even like coconut!

  13. You beat me to it! I was going to make a coconut cheesecake, I even bought a fresh coconut to grate my own shavings on top!

  14. This looks great! I’ve always put a pan of water on the shelf under the cheesecake and then put a foil tent over this cheesecake. This way, you don’t have to worry about spilling the water, a leaky pan, or anything like that.

  15. Thanks so much for all the compliments folks. I have to admit, this is a dish I’m sorry it got away from me. Because I mostly work for myself, I send a number of these sweet dishes on to work with my wife to feed her office cohorts. After making this dish, I got this sullen feeling as I wanted more. So I’m staring at these pictures now myself thinking, “Boy that looks good.”

    I’m glad so many of you agree with me about the water bath. I got into this conversation a few months ago where people thought I was mad for wanting to actually water bath and that they thought it was waste of time. Personally, I feel its the only way to go.

    Heath, to answer your question about the camera. It’s a Cannon S500. It’s a nice point and shoot camera. Nothing too fancy. We actually prefer this sort of camera because it allows us to get in and close with the food.

    Aria, I double checked the package. This was a ‘fancy shredded coconut’ from Balducci’s (a gourmet grocer just down the road from me). It is on the fresh side, sweet, but it contained only coconut no sweeteners. I admit I was going to do like Brilynn of Jumbo Empenadas (another awesome blog if you folks haven’t been there) and use fresh. But the night I made this version, I was cooking multiple courses and dishes for the party so I dialed back my ambitions and went for the prepped stuff.

    Finally, to Brilynn, I’m sure I beat you there, but I’m also certain that you’ll out do me or do something twice as brilliant. I know they won’t go to waste.

  16. Great idea for what to do with all of the girl scout cookies we end up buying every year (thought I admit that 90 percent of them are Thin Mints!). I’m not a huge fan of coconut, but this looks too good to pass up.

  17. Lucky dinner party attendee here. Thought I’d point out (not rubbing it in, I promise), that this tasted as good as it looks. If not better. And I don’t usually even like coconut!

  18. Why do you torture me? Why do I come here to be tortured? H and W, I am addicted – must find a 12-step program soon.

    My husband a purist, will only eat plain classic cheesecake. I want this one. NOW.

  19. For best use of a Girl Scout Cookie, and the winner is… This looks great, and I can’t wait to try it, and to experiment with the boxes of cookies I have in my freezer!

  20. […] cookies(who has leftovers? ). Kendle from My Husband Cooks offers up this scrumptious looking coconut cheesecake…complete with Girl Scout cookie […]

  21. That is beautiful, your pictures are terrific and fun! The wonderfully creative and perfect!

  22. The crust wonderfully creative and perfect!!

  23. I love coconut! So you have my vote!

  24. The cheesecake looks so fluffy, like a those clouds you see in summery blue skies. The competition is stiff (I’m competing aswell) but you’ve got mine.

  25. Wow… I can’t -wait- to try this. Your photography is absolutely stunning.

  26. What a great shot…beaten cream cheese never looked this good! 🙂

  27. Brilliantly photographed. I’ve never used a water bath but you have converted me. Thanks for entering.

  28. Great cheesecake! I water bath also and had a problem with soggy crusts. I’ve started using cake pans with a 3 inch side, lining the pan I’m cooking in with parchment paper (spraying the pan with Pam or like product will make lining easier), and and putting that pan in a 2 inch larger pan for the water bath. When the cake has completely setup; best if left over night in the fridge,put it in the freezer for at least a half hour then put in a sink of hot water for about a minute I’ll cover the cake with plastic wrap and put something firm and flat on top I use a flat glass saucer, turn the cake upside down a gently work the pan off. Put you serving dish on the bottom an turn the cake back over. This has worked well for me I’ve messed up a couple of cakes getting them out of the pan but nothing I couldn’t cover up with a little gonache.

  29. What brand of coconut milk did you use?


  30. What is the lime juice for?

  31. […] Coconut Cheesecake by My Husband Cooks […]

  32. I made this last weekend and it was a big hit! Rich and soooo creamy. I baked it without a crust to keep it wheat free and I topped it with whipped cream and toasted coconut. Not only did it taste amazing but it looked amazing (it was the first cheese cake that I have ever made that hasn’t cracked!) Thank you for sharing.

  33. I have made this cheesecake for my husband’s birthday for the past 3 years and it is so amazing. I use Lornadoones for the crust because I never have girl scout cookies available at this time of year. I always follow the steps to a tee and it turns out perfect. My husband loves it — THANK YOU!!!! 🙂

  34. […] Cheesecake with a Shortbread Crust Another winning cheesecake recipe featuring Girl Scout cookies. […]

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