i wish … coco-mac cookies w pineapple caramel

by hungryrabbit on January 13, 2012

Coco-Mac Cookies w Pineapple Caramel

Happy New Year!
A toast to good health and prosperity in 2012!


After a 3 week hiatus of traveling in Asia, I’m back to reawaken this blog from its slumber. The trip was magnificent for visiting family and favorite restaurants in Hong Kong—and discovering new adventures and cultures with M in Yunnan province, China.

We flew into that southwest corner of China to visit the small towns of Lijiang and Dali, plus the province capital of Kunming. Yunnan borders Tibet in the northwest, Burma to the west, and Vietnam and Laos to the south. Yunnan has the most ethnic minorities in China, which make up about 1/3 of the province’s population. Of China’s 55 ethnic minorities, Yunnan is home to 51 and 25 of them exceed populations of 5,000.

The photos are from our visit to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain near Lijiang. Visitors wrote their wishes on these little wood plaques and hung them along the fences, trees, and pergolas. What you see represents a year’s worth of wishes. On Jan 1, these will be taken down and stored in the museum, in order to make room for another year’s worth of wishes, hopes, and dreams.

It’s a good time to announce my plans for Hungry Rabbit in 2012. I will add a travel section, as well as a New York section to my blog. These posts will go beyond desserts/baking, since both topics drive my creativity in making recipes.

Until I get these two sections up and running, I would like to offer you a cookie that I made for Cookie Swap in December. I made these prior to the trip but with Asia in mind. Coco-Mac with Pineapple Caramel is a union of East meets West–a buttery cookie of coconut and macadamia nut, compliment by the concentrated sweetness of pineapple.

As soon as I sort out and organize the hundreds of photos from the trip, I will tell tales.

Coco-Mac Cookies w Pineapple Caramel Filling

yield: 30-34 cookies


1/2 cup sweetened coconut
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
1 cup (8 ounces/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


1. Heat the oven to 350°. Place coconut and macadamia nuts on a baking pan, and toast until golden brown, about 7 minutes, stirring halfway through toasting. Transfer coconut and macadamia nuts to a cutting board, and finely chop. Place chopped coconut mixture in a bowl.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla, flour and salt; mix until just combined. Add coconut mixture and mix until incorporated.

3. Form the dough into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Transfer the dough to the refrigerator, and chill until firm, about 45 minutes.

4. Line three baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper. On a clean, lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2-1/4-inch fluted pastry cutter, cut out as many circles as you can from the dough (reroll if necessary). Place the circles, spaced 1 inch apart, on the lined baking sheets; chill dough 5 to 10 minutes.

6. Using a 3/4-inch-round cutter (or the end of a pastry tip), cut out the centers from half the circles.

7. Bake cookies until golden brown, about 12-14 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through baking time. Transfer cookies to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store the shortbread in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to assemble the cookies.

Pineapple Caramel


1 can 20-1/2 ounces crushed pineapple, DO NOT drain
1/4 cup (1-3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (2 ounces) light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) unsalted butter, chilled


1. Combine pineapple/juice, sugars, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture is dry and jam-like.Stir to avoid burning on the bottom of the pan.

2. Add heavy cream and stir to combine. Remove from heat and whisk in butter until fully incorporated.Transfer into a bowl and cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.


1. Use an off-set spatula, spread a generous 1/2 teaspoon caramel on each of the cookies that have not been cut. Place a cut cookie circle on top of each caramel-covered one. Let the caramel set at least 2 hours or overnight, and store the assembled cookies in an airtight container up to 3 days.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite January 13, 2012 at 6:46 am

Welcome back Ken! I have enjoyed following your travels in Asia :) Love these cookies, love your plans for HR in 2012 and can’t wait to read more about your trip. Happy New Year!!!

Gail January 13, 2012 at 7:16 am

I loved this trip, I really did. The photos really showed so much…everyday life in big cities, as well as the beauty of hidden jems like Dali.

Can’t wait to share all your adventures, Ken.

Cathy January 13, 2012 at 7:29 am

LOVE these cookies at the swap and now I’m delighted to have the recipe. I look forward to your travel and NY posts, Ken. Your photos from China took my breath away.

Cathy January 13, 2012 at 7:30 am

That would be LOVED these cookies at cookie swap….

Tina@flourtrader January 13, 2012 at 8:36 am

Welcome back! Three weeks in Asia-no doubt that was an enjoyable trip. I love your snapshots here and do look forward to seeing more from your travel adventure.
Ken, I can always count on your cookie posts to be delicious and unique-this one is no different. Definitely a keeper. Have a great weekend!

Barbara | Creative Culinary January 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm

The cookies look fabulous Ken; I think if I had to choose my most favorite cake ever it would have to be pineapple upside down cake so these cookies with the pineapple caramel would take me to the moon!

I’m excited to hear about the changes you have in store…what a great idea; your trips to Hong Kong and China are so full of personal moments that many of us would never see even if visiting there in person; you should be sharing that in your blog!

Yuri - Chef Pandita January 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Gorgeous cookies, Ken! Your blog plans sound fabulous, can’t wait to read more from you in 2012. Adding you to my google reader now :)

Margaret January 13, 2012 at 5:56 pm

These cookies were one of my favorites at the cookie swap. As usual, you really know how to pack flavors into a tiny cookie! I love your traveling pictures and can’t wait to see more. xoxo

foodwanderings January 13, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Yay! Welcome back. Love your resolutions for 2012 and looking forward. These cookies..I almost can taste the cokkie crumble in my mouth. I order a dozen!

Jackie Gordon Singing Chef January 14, 2012 at 6:46 am

I love the picture of the wishes. You should make wish cookies — Auspicious Wish Cookies!!! with rice paper backs and we could write our wishes on them with edible ink and then eat them to “embody” them!!! If I only drank coffee we could blame this idea flash on that!!! Love the expansion of your blog beyond desserts — GO Ken GO!!!

Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction January 14, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Wow… Stunning photos! I’m excited for your travel section in 2012. And, of course, the cookies look just incredible.

Liren January 15, 2012 at 12:04 am

Welcome home Ken! Glad you are back, I can’t wait to see the blog changes! These cookies are just beautiful, it’s a taste of the tropics…I wish I could have one for a virtual vacation right now :)

Marnely Rodriguez January 15, 2012 at 10:13 am

Glad to have you back and cannot wait to read all about your travels in China! I agree with Jackie, definitely make edible wishes!

Elizabeth @Mango_Queen January 15, 2012 at 10:44 am

Welcome back,Ken! I love your post about the “wishes”! And I look forward to the new additions to your site. And this coco pineapple cookie? I loved it at the swap! Perfect for #CNY! May all your wishes for 2012 come true!

Brian @ A Thought For Food January 18, 2012 at 8:03 am

I was so distracted by my adorable niece that I totally missed your new post! So glad you’re back, Ken… though, it sounds like your trip was amazing!

Such lovely cookies!

Jeanne @ CookSister! January 20, 2012 at 10:20 am

Hey – welcome back! and all the best to you too for 2012! Gorgeous photos of China – love the idea of writing your hopes & dreams on little plaques. Very moving concept. And LOVE the cookies, especially the pineapple caramel!

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