YaYa’s in the Kitchen: Joyful Chocolate Chip Almond Cookies

YaYa’s in the Kitchen: Joyful Chocolate Chip Almond Cookies

The ease of these joyful cookies allows all ages to make a batch simply, quickly, and with delicious results. Forever searching for recipes filled with coconut flakes, chocolate, and almonds. This new version was stirred, baked, and enjoyed this past week.

My baking assistant has almost four years experience in tasting YaYa’s treats and more than two years baking with me as part of his Speech-Language Pathology services with this Center.

We baked these joyful cookies on his last day as a six-year-old and now we are looking forward to our new kitchen baking/science opportunities as he is a much older seven-year-old!

A bit different from my more traditional macaroons with egg whites as the binding agent. These joyful cookies use sweetened condensed milk to bring all the ingredients together.

You can mix and match ingredients to personalize your cookies.

Be sure to have everyone wash their hands and grab your camera!

Our Four Ingredients:

(1) 14 oz package of sweetened coconut

(1) small bag package of semi-sweet chocolate bits, approximately 2 cups (you can use mini, regular, milk, semi-sweet, chunks, etc)

2/3 to 1 cup almonds (chopped, sliced, or slivered)

(1) can of sweetened condensed milk


Gather a glass or other type of clear bowl so you child can watch the mixture from all angles. If you are concerned about glass, use a non breakable bowl and allow your child to work from a chair sitting at a table.

Various spoons and spatulas, measuring cups, parchment paper, small ice cream scoop OR a tablespoon, baking trays. Offer options for stirring with different sized wooden spoons and colored spatulas. Bring out the various measuring tools and encourage exploration of the cooking/baking tools.

Paper towels, hand wipes, cover for your work surface, scissors for opening bags, broom for the spills to the floor, apron for the bakers, oven mitts, cooling rack, and timer.

FIRST, we started with the coconut and requesting for assistance to open the bag which was eventually cut open with scissors. It covered the bottom of the bowl.

SECOND,  we measured and poured the chocolate chips onto of the coconut. Of course, tasting of the coconut and chocolate was part of the process!

[NOW, you can mix as you go, or layer or put each ingredient in a quadrant of the bowl.]

THIRD, the almonds were scattered over the top of the mixture.

LAST, we opened the pull tab of the sweetened condensed milk (removed the sharp lid) and poured and scrapped the thick, sticky and sweetened milk on to of the dry ingredients.

How to mix? With a long or short wooden spoon? A red or blue rubber spatula? Making choices is part of the fun, be sure to enjoy this aspect of the cookie making.

Stir in a circle clockwise/counterclockwise.

Be sure to reach the bottom and combine well.

Time to use the small ice cream scoop to form the cookies on to the parchment paper on the cookie tray.

Scoop against the side of the bowl, squeeze the handle, and make your rows. Counting as you go.

NOTE: You may want to gently form the mounds into rounder forms or leave them free form.

Time to bake at 325 degrees for 12-14 minutes until the coconut is lightly or medium golden brown. Depends how you prefer them.

Let the cookies cool on the tray place on a cooling rack. They will firm up as they cool. If you eat them too soon, the chocolate bits will be too hot!

While the first batch is baking, scoop the second and third trays.


Throughout the activity, share in new vocabulary, concepts, sequencing, measuring, mixing, tasting, waiting and enjoying!

Do you have aprons? chef hats? menus you can create? pretend money?

Will the cookies be gifts? Make some cards while you wait for the baking to be done.

Be sure to introduce the ingredients, line the bags up in sequence of use, allow your child to assist in opening (cutting/tearing) with your assistance as necessary.

Tasting each ingredient should be part of the fun, but try to encourage this from a tasting plate, not from the mixing bowl. Examples of vocabulary might include: sweet, shredded, round, crunchy, sticky, salty (if your almonds are salted) and more.

Remember, comparing and contrasting shapes, sizes, tastes, textures, colors, positions (top, bottom, middle, corners), verbs (opening, cutting, pouring, stirring, tasting, scooping)…you get the idea.

When we were done baking, we took orders from the other adults in the room:

“Mom, would you like a big or little cookie?” (I encourage using the name of the person first before the question).

Then we served from a pretend tray, “Mom, here is your little cookie!”

The dialogue can be further developed with questions regarding taste, enjoyment, review of how the cookies were made, and more.

While it is valuable to narrate the activity, be sure to leave some quiet time for your child to process the event. Cue and prompt as needed to help your child be successful in his/her verbal expression.

If you child is non/less verbal, you can use sign language, or if you you child is beginning to read, you can make index cards and write out “sight”words. Or, a combination of some or all language systems.

You can also take pictures and use them as you “write” a story together. Remember, to include a title (topic), main idea (what you did), and details!

Start a cookbook and add each new recipe you make together!

Questions? Contact me!

Be Joyful Together,

YaYa (Lori)

Follow my YaYa’s in the Kitchen for more recipes!