August 8, 2008

Pineapple Coconut Cookies

Here's my daily understatement: Summers in Coastal NC are hot.

A more adequate description of a Wilmington summer would sound something like this: Summers in Coastal NC are &%$*-ing hot as @#$%. (This description would inevitably continue, touching on such issues as the &%$*-ing humidity and the &%$*-ing mosquitos.)

So when I felt a cookie craving earlier this afternoon, I thought hard about how using the oven would shoot my already-steamy apartment up another 10 degrees. I didn't know if I, or my cat, would be able to handle more heat.

However, my cookie cravings are strong--like, really, really strong. Really.

So, I gave in. What's 10 more degrees when in the end your sweat and exhaustion will be rewarded with pineapple coconut cookies? These cookies sound summery enough, and what's better is that the recipe calls for only 5 ingredients. Less ingredients equals less bowls, less mess, and, ultimately, less prep and clean-up. These cookies are beginning to sound summer-friendly after all! I mean, think of all of the bending and kneading, stretching and straining involved with preparing a chocolate chip cookie. The ensuing suffering would surely send me into a sweaty rage!

It didn't take me long to justify my impractical summer craving: "5 ingredients. Summer-friendly. 5 ingredients. Summer-friendly." Pretty soon the idea of making pineapple coconut cookies on a hot, summer day made more sense than wearing flip-flops to the pool.

This recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz's blog, and you can find the original recipe here: DL Pineapple Coconut Cookies. I made a few modifications, including the addition of 1/4 teaspoon of ginger and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin. Yes, cumin. I find that cumin pairs nicely with coconut-flavored treats, but you could just as easily ignore this modification.

Pineapple Coconut Cookies (original recipe with slight modifications)
(Additional spices should be added to the bowl of ingredients early in the mixing process. Keep in mind, though, that adding more ingredients to this recipe may result in heat exhaustion. Modifications should, therefore, be avoided in tropical climates unless your craving is beyond control.)

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

1/4 teaspoons powdered ginger

1/2 teaspoons cumin

1. In a large skillet, preferably non-stick, heat the crushed pineapple and its 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.

2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the coconut, sugar, ginger, cumin, egg whites and vanilla extract.

3. Mix in the pineapple.

4. To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and adjust the oven rack to the center position.

5. On a parchment-paper covered baking sheet, form the dough into 1 1/2-inch tall pointed mounds, squeezing the dough with your fingertips to form little pyramids.

6. 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).

7. Cool the cookies before serving. These are best served the same day they're baked.

Yield: about 36 cookies.

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