So, as I promised before, I decided to bake something that was inspired by my recent vacation to Hawaii. One of my favorite things about going there during the summer is the wonderful fresh food. There are juice and fruit stands all over the islands with bounties of beautiful pineapples, melons, guavas, papayas, and of course, coconuts. Breakfast for me was my favorite part of the day because it usually consisted of macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup, guava juice, and a bowl of sweet and delicious tropical fruit. My only complaint was the coffee which to me could not compare to the rich muddy flavor that Portland coffee has to offer. But all in all, my food experience was a great one.
When I was considering what I should make for my island-inspired dessert, I quickly chose to go for the combination of flavors that I identified most with Hawaii: pineapple and coconut. I cannot even tell you how many pina coladas and lava flows I sucked dry during this past trip (and the trip prior), along with enjoying my favorite snack, cut-up pineapple with coconut syrup drizzled on top. So, I was happy to come across a scrumptious-sounding recipe by the great David Lebovitz for pineapple coconut cookies. The cookies came out sweet and chewy, chocked full of that delicious tropical taste.
Pineapple Coconut Cookies: from David Lebovitz
1 twenty-ounce can of crushed pineapple (in its own juice)
4 cups unsweetened coconut
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a large skillet, preferably non-stick, heat the crushed pineapple and it's juice over moderate heat until the liquid has evaporated. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the pineapple gets sticky and begins to brown and caramelize. Remove from heat when it's reduced to 2/3 cup.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the coconut, sugar, egg whites and vanilla extract. Mix in the pineapple. (Batter can be refrigerated at this point for up to one week).
To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and adjust the oven rack to the center position. On a parchment-paper covered baking sheet (don't skip covering it in parchment paper or you'll have a big mess!), form the dough into 1 1/2-inch tall pointed mounds, squeezing the dough with your fingertips to form little pyramids.
Bake the cookies for 14 minutes or until the cookies are browned up the sides, rotating the baking sheet midway through baking (the tips may burn slightly, which is fine).
Cool the cookies before serving. These are best served the same day they're baked.