Kwanzaa Culinarians

Recipes and Food Stories from the African Diaspora

Kujichagulia: Soul Aperture’s Coconut Biscuits

Coconut Biscuits with Jam

When I was a little girl, the kitchen was my place of solace. It’s the place where my grandmother would set me atop a chair, and teach me all she knew. That kitchen of yellow walls held more than recipes, it held life in its nooks and crannies. It was a place for gatherings, women speaking their minds, and a special window, for dinner pick-ups.

My grandmother would place me just right atop a chair, and let me work beside her. I remember the first time she let me make a fried egg, all by myself. I was so proud of my creation, which had more shell in it, than I am willing to admit. My grandmother beamed as though, I had made Croque Madame for her. Much later in life, I would make her that rich, Parisian treat, and I would be the one beaming, with pride.

My grandmother wasn’t just a good cook, she was an amazing woman filled with strength and tough love. When I think of the second principal of Kwanzaa, Kujichagulia, which means “self determination,” I think of what my grandmother has instilled in me. I share this principal daily in small and meaningful ways. When I think of it, this principal could easily apply to us as a home schooling family, this is something that takes self-determination everyday. There has been many a time, when I have sat on the edge of the bed come 7 a.m., and whispered to myself, don’t give up.

I realize now, the lessons began in that old, yellow kitchen, helped me become an accomplished chef. This self-determination I gathered, allowed me to give myself the push I needed in life. When doubt came into my mind, while standing on the line in a restaurant, or when fear would creep within me of starting my own photography business, I kept going. I made it through.

Even though I am not in the professional kitchen too often, any longer, most days you will find me with a camera in my hand. At home the kitchen is still my favorite place to be. The other day I was teaching my daughter, to make my grandmother’s coconut biscuits. My daughter began to get frustrated with rolling out the dough–I taught her to coat the rolling pin, with a bit of flour, to stop the sticking. When she pulled these Caribbean treats from the oven, she was thrilled and so was I. I knew she could do it and I was honored to be there for her, like my grandmother was there for me.

Although, my grandmother has long passed, I can feel the Kujichagulia she placed in my heart, long before I ever knew such a word existed. And for that, I am grateful.

Please enjoy these warm biscuits, from our kitchen.
Thank you for having me.

Christina {soul aperture blog}

Coconut Biscuits
Makes about 15 to 18 three-inch biscuits
Served with jam

2-1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup dried, sweetened coconut, plus 2 tablespoons
1-stick butter; cold, cut into half-inch pieces
1/2-cup plain yogurt
3/4-cup cold buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
2. Mix flour, salt, sugar, and 1 cup coconut together in a bowl.
3. Cut cold butter into flour mixture, using a pastry cutter or two knives, until butter is in pea size pieces.
4. Stir in the yogurt and buttermilk gently till just mixed.
5. Turn the biscuit dough out onto the counter and flatten slightly. Fold about 3 or 4 times, for the batter will be sticky.
6. Gently roll your dough out with pin or flatten with hands, flattening to about 3/4-inch thickness.
7. Using a biscuit cutter cut biscuits from dough, with up and down motion, careful to not twist. I used a jam jar to cut biscuits out or you can use a 3-inch cutter.
8. Place biscuits in 8-inch or larger pan. I used an 8-inch square pan and baked two batches of 9 Coconut Biscuits (total of 18). Brush the tops of your biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle tops with remaining coconut.
9. Bake biscuits for 10 minutes at 425°F then lower temp to 375°F. Don’t be afraid to cover biscuits loosely with foil, if the coconut is browning too much.
10. Bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown.
11. Split warm biscuits, spread with butter and serve with jam.
12. Enjoy!

About shelleychapman1

Do you think the green beans on your plate have anything to do with the intimacy your willing to explore in your relationship? Shelley Chapman, The Food Relationship Coach™ does. "Your approach to food is your approach to life". That’s Shelley's philosophy and she teaches how people and food collaborate and conspire to either uplift or take power away from each other. Having once been a compulsive over eater and emotional eater, Shelley learned the hard way that it's now what we eat, but how we eat that affects how we show up in life. By using her innovative coaching program: Belly Breakthroughs, speaking and facilitating workshops, Shelley has helped transform the bodies and lives of women. One client wrote, "She is the perfect blend of your favorite homegirl and the wise sage woman. My work with Shelley has opened me up to the celebration of my body and sensuality". Her latest work, Tantric Tastes: Dessert for Lovers explores the relationship between sensuality and food and is an Amazon Best Seller.

4 comments on “Kujichagulia: Soul Aperture’s Coconut Biscuits

  1. susanna
    January 3, 2012

    Aaand look up more recipes and posts here on this blog. Silly me…meant to write that, too. Argh!


  2. susanna
    January 3, 2012

    Beautiful post, Christina! You are lucky to have had such a close relationship with your grandmother. She sounds like a wonderful, loving woman. I don’t know much about Kwanzaa but this post has certainly piqued my interest in knowing more about it. I’m going to Google it in a moment. And then maybe this week I’ll try your delicous coconut biscuits!


  3. Joanna Jenkins
    January 3, 2012

    Thanks, Christina.
    Happy New Year too.


  4. latebloomerbuds
    January 1, 2012

    Beautiful story to accompany your recipe my friend. Margie


Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on December 27, 2011 by in 2011, Kujichagulia, Recipe and tagged , , , , .

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Learn more about Kwanzaa

The word "Kwanzaa" comes from the phrase, "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first-fruits." Kwanzaa's extra "a" evolved as a result of a particular history of the Organization Us. It was clone as an expression of African values in order to inspire the creativity of our children. In the early days of Us, there were seven children who each wanted to represent a letter of Kwanzaa. Since kwanza (first) has only six letters, we added an extra "a" to make it seven, thus creating "Kwanzaa." To learn more about Kwanzaa, visit the Official Kwanzaa Website.

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