Coconut Jumbals

Jumbals, also spelled jumbles and jumballs, have been made since the 1600s. It is a simple butter cookie recipe to which other ingredients can be added. Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863) had several jumbals recipes including three coconut jumbals recipes in her family’s cookbook. Though it is unclear when the first coconuts reached the Americas, there is documentation to show that coconuts were being imported and available by the middle of the 1800s. Coconut, from the Cocus nuclear, is native to Asia. It was listed as an ingredient in many types of desserts including those for puddings, pies, cakes, and cookies published in nineteenth century.

Original Recipe: Coconut Jumbals

½ of cocoa nut


3 eggs

¼ pound of butter

Flour to make them stiff enough to drop nicely on the tins.

Adapted Recipe: Coconut Jumbals 

1 cup shredded sweetened coconut (half bag) about 1 ½ cups

1 cup of sugar


1stick of butter, softened

1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups of flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add coconut. Then add enough flour to “stiffen” the dough—begin with 1 cup. Drop a teaspoonful of cookie dough onto greased cookie sheet but allow for cookies to expand. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Makes 3 ½ dozen.

Similar recipe but includes vanilla and almond extract and nutmeg.

Several presidents have also enjoyed cookies and jumbals! Check out this list of The Favorite Sweets of Our U.S. Presidents and Martha Washington’s Jumble Recipe.

Eight lightly browned coconut jumbal cookies are stacked on a decorative blue and white porcelain plate.

Topic: Munchie Monday
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