Trade Wind Pineapple Muffins is a recipe from Jean Sanderson’s Million Dollar Cooking Contest Cookbook, copyright 1983. Todd picked it up for me at a tag sale, so of course I loved it! And I suppose household hint guru Mary Ellen Pinkham did too because she wrote a forward saying the recipes are ones you’ll actually use. Given some of the titles, I had my doubts. Let’s see. Do Curried Oriental Tidbits, Ham Cakes Mauna Loa and Chicken ‘N Curry Blox sound appetizing to you?
But as I kept moving through the book and looking past the goofy 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 and Hawaii Five-O Torte. And that’s also the chapter where I found Trade Wind Pineapple Muffins.
$10,000 Pineapple Muffins!
Trade Wind Pineapple 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 an interesting look adds a little crunch. From a contesting point of view, I think it was the almonds that gave Roberta Badgley of Phoenix the edge.
About those 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 which is always so good with pineapple.
A Little Pineapple Extract?
I love the texture of the muffins and feel like the flavor is pretty good, but if you want more pineapple flavor try adding a little pineapple flavoring. It’s not the easiest extract to find (unless you live in The Cayman Islands), but you can order it. Happy Home’s flavorings are generally pretty good.
Trade Wind Pineapple 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.
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?
I’ve heard some other nice things about Jean through the grapevine. Wish I could have met her.
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.
Oooo these sound so good! I know my fiance would love them.
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.
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.
How long do you bake it at 450 degrees?
Could you substitute fresh pineapple over the crushed pineapple?
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.
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.)
What a cool book to get Anna. Your recipe re-did is delicious.
Sounds like a fun book, Anna. I’ll check on Amazon
How totally interesting. See, there’s some Asian food I could like! 😉
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.
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 🙂
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.
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!
oh I love those old cookbooks! they are just so much fun to poke thru.
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.
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