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, softened
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.