Shirini Nargili are Persian coconut cookies made with a handful of ingredients. These cookies are naturally gluten-free and don't need any chilling time.
Nowruz, a.k.a. Persian New Year, is a great time of year for homemade cookies and time spent together with family. My family and I would make a collection of cookies such as qottab (walnut filled pastires) and nan panjereh (Persian rosettes) to share with our friends and loves ones when I was growing up in Iran.
Table Of Contents:
Persian Coconut Cookies
These cookies are very special to us, especially around Nowruz. You can find shirini nargili in just about every store in Iran! The recipe is super easy and shares much in common with the recipe for Turkish almond cookies - including mixing the main ingredient, in this case desiccated coconut, with egg whites and then heating it for a few minutes.
This recipe doesn't call for flour which means they are gluten-free. They are soft, chewy and perfectly sweet. You can make them up to a week in advance and enjoy them later.
- Desiccated coconut: Make sure to use unsweetened desiccated coconut and not shredded coconut. You can find them in Middle Eastern or Persian shops as well as online.
- Egg whites: These cookies only use egg whites. To be economical, you can use the yolk to make pofaki gerdooyi (Persian walnut cookies).
- Lemon juice: Just a little bit to balance the sweetness and avoid crystallization.
- Ground pistachio: This is optional, and used only to top the cookies.
How to make these Persian Coconut Cookies
- In a bowl of a food processor, blend the desiccated coconut, sugar, vegetable oil and egg whites for a few seconds until fully combined.
- Transfer to a large pan and heat over medium heat. Cook and stir constantly until the sugar melts. This would take about 10 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and add in the lemon juice and vanilla. Let the mixture cool until it comes to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the coconut mixture to a Ziploc bag or piping bag and cut the tip. Pipe the cookies on parchment paper in 1 inch circles, making sure there's a 1 ½ inch space between the cookies. rub a bit oil on the tip of your index finger and flatten the tip every so slightly.
- Top the cookies with ground pistachios and bake for 20 minutes until the edges are slightly golden. Let the cookies cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
Treats To Celebrate Nowruz
When it comes to Nowruz recipes, sweets and treats have a special place on every Iranian's table. When friends and relatives visit our home, we welcome them to our homes and offer treats such as ajil (Persian trail mix) and sweets such as these coconut cookies, qottab (walnut cookies), raisin cookies and cardamom cookies with some freshly brewed Persian tea.
The best thing about shirini nargili is that they keep well for long. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days and in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze them in freezer bags for 3 months. To serve, thaw in the fridge overnight and then serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! You can make these cookies up to a week in advance and keep them in the fridge or freezer.
You might have overbaked them. Keep in mind that when the cookies come out of the oven, they are still soft. Let them cool completely and then transfer them to a plate.
Shredded coconut will not work for shirini nargili, even if it's blended in the food processor. You need to use desiccated coconut.
Did you make this recipe? I'd love to hear about it! Please comment and leave a 5-star🌟 rating below. You can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or subscribe to our newsletter to get a free e-Cookbook!
Shirini Nargili (Persian Coconut Cookies)
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 large egg whites
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp ground pistachios For topping (optional)
- Place the desiccated coconut, granulated sugar, oil and egg whites in the bowl of a food processor. Blend on high for almost 10 minutes.
- Transfer to a large pan and place over medium heat. Cook and stir constantly for 10 minutes or until the sugar is fully melted. Turn the heat off and let it come to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the coconut mixture to a piping bag or a ziploc bag and cut the tip. Pipe the cookies onto the baking sheet into 1 inch circles and leave 1 ½ inch spaces between each cookie. Oil the tip of your index finger and smoothen the tip of the cookies ever so slightly.
- Sprinkle a bit of ground pistachios on top (optional) and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. The edges will be slightly golden around the edges. Let them cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Make sure to use unsweetened desiccated coconut and not shredded coconut for this recipe.
- Use the egg yolks to make Persian walnut cookies (pofaki gerdooyi).
- Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.