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!

Bench notes:
- 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.


Unknown said...

These sound great! I'm a total macaroon junky, and pineapple is probably my favorite fruit.


test it comm said...

Those look so good. Pineapple and coconut are a great flavour combo.

Jaxboi4u said...

I made these for an after lunch desert. They were excellent! Thanks for the recipe.

pastry studio said...

Hi people!

I love hearing that others are enjoying these. Thank you for stopping by.

Emma Nowell said...

When I first saw that recipe I thought the same thing about the canned pineapple... I can't imagine that the recipe wouldn't work with fresh. I have been wanting to try the recipe never the less, thanks for the picture, I'm even more inspired now! I've tagged you for a meme!

Anonymous said...

Gold tinged hemispheres
Of human inspiration
Macaroon karma

Anonymous said...

I've been making macaroons for years and have a good recipe, but decided to try this recipe using fresh pineapple. The mix didn't stay together, and the cookies were hard to scoop and fell apart after baking. The pineapple was terrific, however. I'll probably use my recipe and add the great pineapple and see if it works with a stronger base recipe.

pastry studio said...

Beautiful verse!

anonymous, thanks for letting me know your results. I'm wondering about the moisture content of fresh pineapple. Please let me know how your recipe turns out. I'm very curious!

Anonymous said...

The moisture content of the pineapple I used was very high. Adding the sugar draws out the moisture of course, so it took a long time to reduce the fruit to the confit consistancy that seemed to be required. The fruit's color was vibrant at the end and very intense, really wonderful. I think the problem with the cookie may be the fact that all the sugar goes into the pineapple and none in the actual macaroon mix. This is the formula that I use and will try with the confit this week:

10 1/2 oz granulated sugar
6 oz. egg white

12 oz. macaroon coconut

Method: Whisk sugar and whites together. Stir in coconut. If batter seems too wet add coconut, too dry, add white.

Bake at 350 for about 25 to 30 minutes, turning once for even bake if not using a convected oven.

I love this site, by the way. It is beautifully done and really appeals to my baker's heart. Thank you.

pastry studio said...

Ah, interesting that you should mention this because I also had a question about the incorporation of sugar. I went to David's website and I see that he's posted a revised recipe and altered the directions to cooking the pineapple without the sugar. He's also changed the ingredient ratios like so:

1 twenty-ounce can of crushed pineapple (in it's own juice)

4 cups unsweetened coconut

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

3 large egg whites

1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Even though I liked the final product from the original recipe, I do think it can be improved upon a bit and will continue to test it. Looks like your recipe uses a bit less sugar, which really appeals to me.

Thanks so much for contributing to this discussion and for your generous compliments. I really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Those pineapple coconut macaroons look so tasty and cheery! I would love to try them.

I have one question though: Does the recipe call for whipping up the egg whites into soft peaks or can they simply be added as is?

Thanks :)

pastry studio said...

Anonymous, you don't whip the egg whites into soft peaks, just stir them in and combine thoroughly. Hope you enjoy this beautiful macaroon!