I’ve been on a tiki kick all summer long – it’s hard not to feel inspired after you’ve had one or two tropical drinks! These Tropical Tiki Cookies are definitely inspired by those fruity drinks and include quite a few tropical elements, enough to make you feel like you’re being transported to an island getaway with each bite (well, almost!).
The cookies are loaded with shredded coconut, dried mango and dried pineapple. The dried pineapple is soaked in rum before being incorporated into the cookie dough, both to re-hydrate the pineapple pieces and to add a hint of that rum flavor that is the base of so many tropical drinks. Very little is used in the recipe, however if you prefer to omit it completely, you can substitute water for the rum and add a small amount of rum extract for the infusion to capture some of that same flavor. These tropical fruits blend well with hints of vanilla and almond in the cookie dough, resulting in a surprisingly delicious and complex cookie.
The cookies are moist and have a slightly soft, chewy center thanks to all that shredded coconut! The cookies can be made crispier by extending the baking time, however you will get the best flavor from your cookies by making sure not to over bake them. They will keep well when stored in an airtight container for a few days after baking, and are also an excellent choice for turning into tropical ice cream sandwiches with a scoop of coconut ice cream or pineapple sorbet.
Tropical Tiki Cookies
2/3 cup diced dried pineapple
2 tbsp rum (pref. dark rum)
1 tbsp water
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup diced dried mango
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small, microwave-safe bowl, combine pineapple, rum and 1 tbsp of water. Cover and microwave on high for about 1 minute, or until very hot. Allow to sit, covered, for 5 minutes so that the pineapple can absorb most of the liquid. Then, uncover and allow to cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt
In a large bowl, whisk together sugars and eggs until smooth and well-combined. Whisk in melted butter, vanilla extract and almond extract. Stir in the flour mixture, followed by the pineapple mixture (including any remaining liquid), shredded coconut, macadamia nuts and dried mango.
Drop batter in heaping 1-inch balls onto prepared baking sheet, leaving about 3-inches between cookies to allow for spread.
Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until cookies are light golden brown.
Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 4 dozen.