Friday, February 15, 2008
Pineapple Coconut Macaroons
Since so many regions are in the midst of a cold snap, it might be a good time to take a little detour to the tropics. How about a romp-on-the-beach mixture of coconut and pineapple in the form of an old-fashioned cookie? Most of us know about macaroons, those chewy nuggets chock full of coconut. This is just a little twist on that theme I found in a cookbook by David Lebovitz.
I was late to the coconut party, probably because I was always thinking of the coconut from my childhood, a way-too-sweet product that never seemed to have its own flavor beyond that powerful knockout slam of sugar. But now that we can find unsweetened coconut in health food or bulk groceries in most places, we can enjoy its true natural flavor. Far from being the coma-inducing coconut cookies of another era, these offer a more pure coconutty taste. The addition of pineapple to a traditional macaroon adds a wonderful tartness and tropical flavor to the whole experience.
David's recipe calls for canned pineapple. In fact, he goes so far as to admonish us not to frown on canned pineapple and to “get over it.” Since I always follow a recipe religiously at first trial, I went with that despite my own natural inclination and mantra to use the freshest ingredients. I followed his instructions and the results were as promised. However, I am nevertheless absolutely tempted to use fresh pineapple when I have the chance. Next time. If any of you beat me to it, please leave a comment!
- It’s very important to heat the pineapple and its juices until the liquid is fully evaporated. If not, the mixture will puddle when scooped and placed on the baking pan and the bottoms will burn.
- The mixture can be stored up to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator to bake as you go.
- I'd be tempted to cut back a bit on the sugar next time. But that would depend on whether I was going to use fresh pineapple and how sweet it might be.
Pineapple Coconut Cookies
adapted from Ripe for Dessert by David Lebovitz
makes about 32 – 35 cookies
1 20-oz can of crushed pineapple, packed in its own natural juices
1 C sugar
3 1/2 C unsweetened dried, shredded coconut
3 egg whites
1/2 t vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper.
Place the crushed pineapple along with the juice and the sugar in a large skillet. Heat through and stir constantly until the liquid has evaporated and the pineapple begins to get sticky and caramelized. Be careful to keep stirring so it doesn’t scorch. Transfer to a mixing bowl and combine with coconut.
Add the egg whites and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
Scoop about 2 T onto the baking sheet, spacing 12 per baking sheet. I use a small ice cream scoop #40 (the #40 refers to 40 scoops per quart).
Bake for 12 – 15 minutes on the middle rack or until cookies are slightly browned, rotating the pan half-way through to ensure even baking. Cool completely.
These are best eaten the same day. They can be stored in an airtight container for a few days but will soften.