Time for another cookie recipe - it's getting cold outside and baking is a good thing to do. One of the ingredients in this Finnish Almond Cookie recipe is candied pineapple. This is an item I had never used, so I scoped out the candied fruit situation at the supermarket. The clear plastic containers of candied fruit in the produce section had vivid, unnatural colors (bright green, red, yellow) and when I looked at the pineapple, it was bathed in a viscous, yellow syrup. I decided I would try dried pineapple instead. Dried pineapple is very sweet and it has a nice chewy texture -- how could it be worse than the manufactured candied stuff? I was also puzzled by the "small can" of candied pineapple. How much is a small can? I estimated that it would be about 1/2 a cup of dried pineapple.
The jar of cherries, too, put me off a bit. I wasn't sure that I wanted to use maraschino cherries with their bright red dye, festive though that might be! I had some dried cherries on hand and figured that I would try using those to top one portion of the cookies, as an experiment. And I liked the idea of using ground almonds, rather than almond extract.
I'd say overall, the experiment was a success! These are fairly dense cookies with a cake-like texture. I liked the ones with the dried cherries on top -- the cherries gave a nice tart taste, in contrast with the dried pineapple chunks that are mixed into the cookies. Now, whether this revised recipe bears any resemblance to a true, Finnish cookie - I have no idea. However, I will say that it is tasty and all natural!
The Revised Recipe: Finnish Almond Cookies
Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried pineapple, cut into small cubes
Around 24 Dried cherries (one to top each cookie)
3/4 cup finely ground almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Line cookie sheets with baking parchment paper. In a bowl, sift together the flour and salt - set aside. Cream the butter and sugar together thoroughly. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the ground almonds and beat until light. Stir in the dried pineapple and gradually add the sifted flour/salt mixture.
Drop the batter by teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets and top each cookie with a dried cherry. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
The Original Recipe: Finnish Almond Cookies
source: Recipes and Finnish Specialties, St. Paul Lutheran Church - Gloucester, MA
1/4 c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. plus 2 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 small can candied pineapple
1 medium jar cherries
3/4 c. finely ground almonds, or 1 tsp. almond extract
Cream thoroughly butter and sugar; add egges one at a time, beating hard between additions; add almonds or extract, beat until light. Stir in pineapple and gradually add sifted flour and salt. Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased baking sheet and garnish with cherry. Bake in 350 degree oven 7-10 min., or until light golden brown. Makes 2 to 2 1/2 dozen. If desired in bar form, put dough in 8 x 12 pan, add cherry about every 2". Cool after baking and cut so each bar has a cherry.