Monday, August 3, 2009

Grandma's Pineapple Cookies

When I took my father’s ashes to the Missouri Ozarks I got to spend some time with two of my cousins who actually were raised on Whidbey Island when I was growing up in Bellevue. We talked about our grandparents who moved around a lot—back and forth between the Pacific Northwest and Missouri and house to house in Dade County, Mo and Vancouver, WA besides my uncle’s farm on Whidbey. The Washington years were largely during our childhoods so Thanksgivings, Christmases and Mother’s Days were frequently spent with them. Janice, my lone female cousin, and I spent a week with our grandparents in Vancouver many summers.

One thing that was ubiquitous about Grandma’s kitchen was pineapple cookies in the cookie jar when she knew grandchildren were coming. To this day I’ve not run across them anywhere besides my grandparents’ house or in my own kitchen. I had hoped to make the same sort of memories for my children, but they were not as impressed with pineapple cookies as my cousins and I were. Over the years I’ve not made them often because once I get going on them it is hard to stop and I don’t need to be eating an entire batch of cookies alone! Now I am old enough to have a fresh audience, my grandchildren. Gabriel, whose parents do not let him eat sugar, will not fall under the spell of pineapple cookies, but the granddaughters, with less strict parents, could become fans.

Long after Grandma had died I received her cookbook from an aunt before she died herself. It is a 1946 copy of Irma S. Rombaurer’s The Joy of Cooking which my mother had given to my grandmother the year after my grandmother had become my mother’s mother-in-law. Now don’t go running to look in your copy of The Joy of Cooking because the recipe isn’t in anyone’s copy but mine. Inside the front cover my grandmother taped a recipe she cut from a women’s magazine. My grandmother had long ago given me the recipe, but this is the recipe. For me it is a holy relic. I can touch the scrap of paper her small hands taped there.

When the rumors of a Frieze Family Reunion began to become more concrete the decision to take Grandma’s Pineapple Cookies was a no brainer. It’s what she would have done for the occasion so I will be baking up a batch or two to take to Shelton next Saturday.

I looked on the Internet and there are a lot of pineapple cookie recipes, too many to see if the exact one was one of them so here it is, the exact directions from a magazine long ago. It makes a soft sweet moist cookie.

Pineapple Cookies nutmeg makes them different

Temp.: 375 degrees F. Time: 12 minutes. Yield: About 3 dozen

2 C. sifted enriched all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp salt, ½ C. shortening (because this recipe is from the days when shortening wasn’t evil, I use butter or margarine), 1 C. granulated sugar, 1 egg, ½ tsp. vanilla extract, ½ C. drained canned crushed pineapple, ¼ tsp. nutmeg, 1 T. granulated sugar.

Heat oven. Sift together first 4 ingredients. Mix shortening and next 3 ingredients until creamy. Mix in pineapple, then flour mixture. Drop by teaspoonfuls, 2” apart, onto ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle cookies with nutmeg and sugar, combined. (Grandma never used the nutmeg and so I don’t) Bake until golden. (I start checking at 8 minutes because every oven is different)


Jo said...

Can't wait to try "Grandma's" cookies. They sound delicious. The whole story of the recipe taped into the cook book will give them added flavor. I love your stories. Thanks.

Stephanie Frieze said...

Thank you, Jo!