$10,000 Pineapple Muffin

For Christmas, Todd gave me this gem of a cookbook, copyright 1983.  It even has a forward from household hint guru Mary Ellen Pinkham who says the recipes are ones you’ll actually use.


At first glance, I wasn’t so sure.  I’m not a food snob, but recipe titles like Curried Oriental Tidbits, Ham Cakes Mauna Loa and Chicken ‘N Curry Blox were more amusing than appetizing. 

But as I kept moving through the book and looking past the goofball titles, I found quite a few promising recipes. In the first chapter, which covers The Hawaiian Pineapple Growers’ National Pineapple Cooking Classic, there’s a $25,000 Pineapple Baklava, a Hawaiian Wedding Cake made with “instantized” flour, Quiche Wiki-Wiki (trust me, the ingredients were better than the title) and Hawaii Five-O Torte.  All of these things would be eaten up at my house, but I had to start with a recipe using things I had on hand – Trade Wind Muffins.

Trade Wind muffins won $10,000 in the 1977 pineapple growers competition, and I can see why.  They have a moist, light texture, rich pineapple-vanilla flavor and sort of remind me of a cross between pineapple cake and a dense Twinkie.   A unique feature is that the sides of the muffins are coated with sliced almonds which gives them and interesting look and even more texture. From a contesting point of view, I think it was the almonds gave Roberta Badgley of Phoenix the edge, but the muffins were prize-worthy.

All that being said about the almonds, you can leave them off if you want.  But if you do, I highly recommend greasing the cups with butter over using cupcake cups or spray because the only fat in the batter comes from sour cream and cream cheese, so the big smear of butter on the side of the cups bakes in and adds butter flavor whic is always so good with pineapple. 



Trade Wind Muffins

Softened unsalted butter for greasing cups
1/2 to 2/3 cup sliced almonds
1( 20 oz) can crushed pineapple
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 oz cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice
1/8 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (You will reduce it after you put the muffins in the oven).

Rub 12-16 muffin cups *generously* with the very soft butter. Sprinkle some of the almonds into each muffin cup and shake them around so they stick to the sides. Press almonds onto the sides as best you can and put in refrigerator for a few minutes. This helps seal the almonds in the butter.

Okay, onto the next step! Drain the pineapple and set it aside, reserving the juice.

Resift the flour with the soda and salt.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and sour cream to the batter alternately, stirring by hand until mixed. Fold in the drained pineapple.

Remove muffin cups from refrigerator and divide batter evenly between the cups.

Set on center oven rack, close door and reduce the heat to 350 degrees F.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350. Let cool, remove from cups, and drizzle with glaze.

To make glaze, mix the powdered sugar and butter together until you get a pasty mess. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the pineapple juice, then stir in more until you get a nice drizzling consistency. Stir in the vanilla.

Makes 12-16 muffins

Things I changed from the Original

— To get bigger crowns, I started with a 450 degree oven reduced the heat after I put the muffins in. I’m not sure if that really did anything, but the crowns were a  pretty decent size.   Original recipe says to bake at 350 F for 35 minutes.

— I made the muffins larger (original recipe makes 16-18) and added some vanilla to the glaze. Since it’s a prize winner I didn’t mess with it too much, but I’m glad I added the vanilla to the glaze because it rounded out the flavors.

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  1. says

    thanks for this – great recipe and your tips are excellent too

    but come ON, turning your nose up at “Curried Oriental Tidbits”? methinks you ARE a snob, despite your denials

  2. says

    You’re right. I’m going to have to make those tonight just to prove I’m not a food snob.

    Oher excellent titles included Pineapple Muffs. Golden Greeks, Walmallow Creme Pie, Cremedoodles, Beefbrosia A.1.-BOBS (that’s how it’s spelled), Cheesy Biscuit Finger Rolls, and Liddle Bo Beep Salad.

  3. says

    I have to ask what ARE the tidbits that are referred to?
    And the muffins, Miss Anna, of Muffin Madness, really look good. What a fun book!

  4. says

    Okay, here’s how you make Curried Oriental Tidbits, a recipe which won a Lincoln Continental and a set of Samsonite luggage in La Choy’s 1978 “Swing American!” Recipe Contest. If you can get past the name, this recipe sounds pretty good.
    Take 6 oz (2 packs) of La Choy chow mein noodles and mix them in a big bowl with a drained, 8 oz can of sliced water chestnuts. Stir in 1 cup of whole almonds, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup melted butter, 1 tablespoon La Choy soy sauce, 1 teaspoon curry powder and 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt (such as Lawry’s). Toss it all together in the bowl, spread it on an ungreased 15×10 inch jellyroll pan and bake at 325 degrees F. for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve warm. Makes 6 cups.

  5. Louise says

    That recipe doesn’t sound all that different from a casserole we used to make in the 1970’s which had 2 cans of fried rice, which I don’t think you can even buy anymore, a can of drained tuna, a can of drained bean sprouts, a can of mushroom soup, a can of water chestnuts, and maybe some other things which I’m forgetting. Maybe I’ll see if I can find the actual recipe 🙂

  6. says

    Hmmmmm, I don’t know. I think the Tidbits are more like a snack food than a casserole. The directions remind me of Chex Mix.

  7. says

    Recipes from the 70’s seem so quaint yet fun now,especially since I’m old enough to actually remember what food was like back then. LOL . Velveeta cheese dip anyone? (Paula Deen still uses Velveeta in a fudge recipe, believe it or not.)

  8. Louise says

    Anna, I didn’t mean it sounded like a casserole, it just sounded like the kind of stuff we made with what was available in the Chinese section of the store. It was a far cry from what you get now.

  9. says

    Lourdes, that’s a good question. You don’t bake it at all at 450 degrees F. The point is to get the oven really hot, put the muffins in, then reduce the heat to 350. When you open the oven, it loses some heat. Starting at a higher heat intially will ensure your oven doesn’t dip below 350 when you open the door. I’m not sure it really helps with every recipe, but I’ve been using the technique with lots of muffins and I seem to be getting better crowns.

  10. says

    My dad used to make these all the time! I loved them. Haven’t made them in years… wonder if my daughter would like a gluten free version.

  11. Tim T. says

    Jean Sanderson, the author of the cookbook, was a frequent competitor in recipe contests in the 1970’s. We competed together in several Pillsbury Bake-Offs. She was a lovely lady from Kansas, and would be thrilled to know that her cookbook is getting a second look.

  12. Laura L says

    I made these last night and thought they were very good, but I absolutely could not taste the pineapple. I could see it and feel the texture, but there was no pineapple flavor at all. But I loved the overall flavor of the muffin and the buttery almonds on the outside were a great idea. I wonder if the brand of pineapple I chose had something to do with the missing flavor?

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