Child’s play: Cocoa nut Buns


Readers of a similar age to me from the United Kingdom will remember that school holidays used to mean Why Don’t You, a programme that was supposedly run and scripted by children with helpful items about how you could do better things with your free days than sitting in front of the telly. This was a lie, by the way, if you were in Blackpool, where there was a vandalised playground and locked up trampolines half-a-mile away, and on telly there was Battle of the Planets. Telly won. Readers of a similar temperament to me may recall that the whole thing just made you depressed on behalf of the kids who were presenting and bored and itchy.

I seem to recall that the cookery sections went heavy on items that included desiccated coconut. DC also featured strongly in my Swap Shop and Blue Peter books. It was a simpler age, before we all went mad for red velvet cakes or cake-pops or whatever the proper baking bloggers are doing at the moment. Possibly for these nostalgic reasons, and possibly because you are not going to find a baking recipe easier than the one I’m about to give you, this week’s Coconut Buns strike me as a perfect quick project for baking with children, as long as you possess a food processor. I do have a food processor, but I don’t have children, so you may take my advice with a pinch of salt. The resulting buns are crisp on top, not quite as moist as a coconut macaroon – a bit more cakey – and a very pleasing small snack, even if you do feel like you’re eating the results of your last Home Ec (sorry, Domestic Science) lesson.

Here’s Mary’s recipe, and today we’re looking at the recipe at the bottom of the page.


As we’ve already learnt – the concept of the bun is a fluid one in Mary’s notebook. After the usual reduction in quantity and conversion to metric, we have:



    200g desiccated coconut
    160g castor sugar
    70g plain flour
    A pinch of salt
    1 egg, 1 additional yolk
    some milk

You will also need:

    Food processor
    Muffin tin and muffin cases.

Makes 7 buns – you could double the ingredients, using 3 eggs, and make a more sensible 14.


Set the oven to 170C

Put the coconut, sugar, salt, flour into the bowl of the food processor and pulse a few times until you’ve got a uniform mixture.

Beat the egg and the yolk together then pour into the food processor with the blade running.

Add some milk until the mixture you are looking at looks like this:


Mary suggests that each bun is 2-and-a-half ounces – I make this around 70g and because I’m curious about serving sizes, I kept to this size. I don’t for a minute suggest you should go through the faff of weighing each one out – you can see here about how much is in each case.


Flatten the mixture in the cases with the back of a spoon, and put them into the oven.


Please forgive my exposing you to the horror that is the pizza stone that’s kept in the oven.

Bake for 25 minutes, and test with a skewer. You should see that by some magic I don’t understand (there’s no raising agent in this recipe) the buns have risen slightly and are turning a golden brown on top:


Because I have your interests at heart, reader, I have selflessly just eaten another one of these. Not bad at all. Here’s what they look like half-scoffed:


If this were your Home Ec project you’d be sitting on a fairly safe B plus or A minus, I reckon. These are incredibly easy to make and good to eat. You probably won’t wow your friends with your culinary sophistication if you serve these up, but if you don’t have much time and have a bake sale looming these might be just the thing.

Update – 2nd February

A thought occurred to me: what if you replaced the flour like-for-like with cocoa powder, to make cocoa cocoa nut buns (as Mary might have spelled it)? Works pretty well, it turns out. The buns won’t look much more sophisticated, but they’ll taste much more grown-up. As an added bonus, this raises the possibility of an incredibly easy gluten-free bun, but do check your brand of cocoa to make sure it’s gluten-free. I used Cadbury’s Bournville, which is.


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