While I do like a classic chocolate chip cookie, I find it very hard to say no to a good oatmeal cookie. Oatmeal adds a great flavor and texture to cookies, making them tender and adding a slight nuttiness that goes well with any mix-in you might want to include. I often make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and oatmeal raisin cookies are a family favorite, but I took these Tropical Oatmeal Cookies in a different direction and used pineapple, coconut and macadamia nuts in them for a summery, tropical flavor.
The cookies are buttery and slightly chewy, but not too sweet. This allows the other flavors in the cookie to really shine. I used sweetened, shredded coconut and dried pineapple, which I coarsely chopped into small pieces. Dried pineapple is definitely the way to go in this recipe because fresh pineapple really just has too much moisture and will take these from cookies to small, moist cakes. Macadamia nuts add a nice crunch, and I included some dried tart cherries for a pop of color and a little contrast to the very sweet pineapple (although they’re not exactly tropical fruits).
This flavor combination is addictive and these are sure to be a favorite variation on some of my staple recipes in my house. The pineapple and coconut work well with other fruits and nuts, too. Candied ginger could be used in place of the cherries, and walnuts or cashews could stand in for the macadamia nuts. Even better, you could add a splash of rum extract to take these from a tropical fruit taste to a tropical cocktail taste for a snack that delivers a mini vacation!
A pat of butter and a generous drizzle of maple syrup is probably my favorite way to finish off a plate full of hot-off-the-griddle pancakes, but it isn’t the only option out there. Fresh fruit is another great way to top off pancakes, but as tasty as fresh fruit is, you don’t get the consistency with a handful of sliced berries and I like to have some sauce for my pancakes to soak up as I eat them.
This Strawberry Guava Syrup is a quick syrup I made in the microwave using fresh strawberries and some guava jelly (jelly or preserves available in most markets). It is one of those things that I realized I should share even though it isn’t particularly “fancy” because it is so good I’ve whipped some up at least a half dozen times since berry season started! The syrup has a lovely fresh and tropical flavor to it and, while it isn’t particularly thick, you end up with big chunks of strawberries in the finished syrup that add a nice look and texture to plates full of pancakes and waffles.
I use fresh strawberries for this recipe, but frozen berries will also work. The frozen berries will break down much more quickly than fresh strawberries will, so with frozen berries you might want to cook the syrup a little bit longer to break them down even further, creating a thicker syrup with fewer large chunks of berries. Frozen strawberries might also require a little extra sweetener that fresh berries at the height of the season will not need, so stir in an extra tablespoonful of sugar or so as necessary.
You can serve this syrup on anything, but since I’ve showcased it on top of a pile of fluffy buttermilk pancakes, I’m including the recipe for those as well as the syrup. The syrup is best the day it is made because that is when you can really taste the strawberry and guava separately. As you store it, the flavors will meld together a bit. Fortunately, the syrup takes less than a minute to make (and less than 5 minutes if you have to chop up the berries) so making it just before serving is even easier than making the pancakes to go with it.
Pineapple doesn’t make it into my baked goods very often. This is partially because it is a little bit inconvenient to chop up a whole pineapple for just a cup or so of chopped fruit and partially because I just don’t have that many recipes for it. But this is a shame because pineapple is a fruit that cooks very well. Roasted pineapple, a great summertime dessert, is sweet and tender, and pineapple baked into a muffin, bread or cake turns out the same way.
Since I had some leftover pineapple in my fridge (from a time I was feeling motivated to cut up a whole, spiny fruit), I decided to take my own advice and bake it into something for a snack. The result was pineapple muffins. These muffins are moist and tender, and the small chunks of fresh pineapple seem to triple in sweetness as the muffins bake, giving the finished treats a great tropical taste.
I added a little bit of shredded coconut and a little bit of orange zest to these muffins to highlight the pineapple flavor. The coconut adds a little bit of texture to the muffins and definitely brings out the tropical-ness of the pineapple. The orange zest brings out the citrusy notes of the pineapple, making the whole muffin taste brighter. Lemon or lime zest would make a great substitution, too.
Serve these muffins while they’re still slightly warm with a little bit of butter. They make a great snack in the afternoon, but are easy enough to make (as long as you have some pineapple on hand) that they are well worth the effort of getting up a few minutes early so you can bake a batch for breakfast.