Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pineapple Cookies (Dairy-free)

Gong Xi Fa Cai! (To my non-Chinese/Asian readers, this literally means, "Wishing you a prosperous year!")

Can't help it, but oh my it's yet another year! I was reading the news and came across an article titled, "Is it the Year of Goat or the Year of Sheep"? While it didn't bother me slightly, I wonder if it really mattered since goat or sheep, they both belong to the same family. Haha! Anyway, it's the second year my husband and I are celebrating our Chinese New Year abroad. That meaning, it's time for some home-baked Chinese New Year goodies again. *_*

I have been in search for a pineapple tart/cookie recipe that I could substitute easily with non-dairy ingredients since my husband doesn't take butter, cheese, milk or anything that comes from the cow. Haha! Well, perhaps I should have come to terms after more than 12 years (or maybe I have), but I'm still puzzled with my husband's weird taste bud. All the while, I have been insisting that he is being lactose-intolerant in psychological sense rather than being lactose-intolerant in health, if you know what I mean. It is strange how dark chocolates, peanut M&M's® chocolate candies, Nutella® and all other food that possibly contains dairy which he decides he can eat are in his "lactose-tolerant" list of edible dairy products while milk chocolate, milk, all buttery pastries and etc that he decides he cannot eat by way of "smell" are in his "lactose-intolerant" list of non-edible dairy products. Anyway, I have given up on asking him to try on those he-feels-he-cannot-eat-but-I-feel-he-can-eat food after so many years. Guess this would all the more be better since I can have all the goodies to myself. Hee!

Back to my recipe search, so I've finally found and experimented one pineapple cookie recipe that allowed me to substitute the dairy ingredients and still yield equally crumbly and soft pineapple cookies. Although without that buttery aroma from traditional pineapple cookies, these pineapple cookies are still amazing delicious! I hope with this recipe, more people get to enjoy yummy pineapple tarts/cookies during this festive occasion!

Soft and crumbly Pineapple Cookies

Here's wishing all a Happy & Prosperous Year of Goat/Sheep! May the new zodiac year brings you and your loved ones lots of happiness and good health! Cheers!

Pineapple Cookies (Dairy-free)

Ingredients Required

Pineapple paste filling
Recipe sourced and modified from: Table for 2...or more

2 large ripe pineapples
250 grams white sugar, more or less as desired
1 cinnamon stick

Cookie dough

Recipe sourced and modified from: Rasa Malaysia

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch (corn flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 sticks + 1 tablespoon margarine (at least 80% fat), soften at room temperature
2 egg yolks

Egg wash: 1 egg yolk

Bakeware Used

Two large baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Preparation Steps

Pineapple paste filling
  1. Remove the pineapple skin, cut fruit into chunks (including the core) and puree in a food processor.
  2. Transfer the pureed pineapple into a deep pan (non-stick preferably), add cinnamon stick and boil over high heat. 
  3. Reduce to medium heat once mixture gets bubbly, stirring occasionally to prevent the bottom from getting burnt.
  4. Once mixture becomes thick and pasty, add sugar and stir to combine. It is normal that the mixture becomes slightly watery again after adding the sugar.
  5. Continue to cook on medium to low heat until most liquid has evaporated, and the pineapple jam turns golden in color. Taste, and add more sugar as needed. 
  6. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick and let pineapple paste cool**.
  7. Once cooled, shape pineapple paste into small balls of desired size and let chill in the fridge.
  8. ** If not using pineapple paste on the same day, transfer to airtight container and keep chilled in the fridge.

The above photos (from left to right) were taken at the start, after 1 hour and after more than 2 hours of boiling respectively. The boiling of the pureed pineapple serves to evaporate the liquid to form a paste. The cinnamon stick is added to use as a natural preservative. It took me up to 3 hours to prepare this pineapple paste filling. I would suggest preparing this a day before making the pineapple cookies. ^_^ The excess paste, if any after making the cookies may be used as dips or spread.

Cookie dough
  1. Sieve the flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. 
  2. Combine the dry mixture, butter, and egg yolks together. Knead to form a dough. The dough is ready when it does not stick to the hand. If the dough is too crumbly or dry, add a little bit more margarine (about 1 tablespoon) until the dough is easy to work with.
  3. Divide the dough in small balls, size as desired. 

Forming the pineapple cookies
  1. Flatten the cookie dough in between palms and put the pineapple filling in the middle and wrap the dough to cover the filling. Roll the dough in between palms to form a round ball.
  2. Use a small paring knife to make criss-cross patterns and place the cookie on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 1-inch apart.
  3. Brush the pineapple cookies with the egg wash using a small pastry brush. 
  4. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until light brown in colour.
  5. Once baked, remove the pineapple cookies from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to cool completely over a wire rack.
  6. Once completely cooled, transfer to an airtight container.

The Dream Baker's Experiment
  1. I used 1.5 kilograms of peeled pineapples which yielded approximately 650 grams of pineapple paste filling.
  2. The amount of sugar added to the pineapple paste depends on the natural sweetness of the pineapples and personal taste preference. The amount of sugar recommended in my above recipe is the amount I've used and serve as a gauge.
  3. For the cookie dough, I used two egg yolks weighing approximately 32 grams.
  4. The original sourced recipe suggested 2 sticks of unsalted butter which I have substituted with margarine with at least 80% fat content.
  5. I omitted the 1/2 tablespoon condensed milk in the egg wash since this is a dairy free version.
  6. I baked my pineapple cookies at 325 degrees F on the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes. I had to reduce the oven temperature as the recommended oven temperature was not suitable for my oven (too hot). Baking temperature and time differs across different ovens. It is important to know how your oven works. 
  7. I used a 1-teaspoon measuring spoon to divide the pineapple paste and weighed each cookie dough into approximately 11 grams each for the desired size of my pineapple cookies. This helps to create cookies of similar size for even baking.
  8. The above recipe and recommended size of pineapple paste filling and cookie dough yields approximately 5 dozens pineapple cookies.

My first batch of pineapple cookies where mostly cracked. They were better after I reduced the temperature of my oven. I did a search online to troubleshoot this problem and realised that there could be a number of factors besides the oven temperature, including having too much air trapped inside during wrapping and the pineapple paste filling being wet and not dried enough. 
I would love to share if you have a tip or two on how to prevent the pineapple cookies from cracking during baking.

There were so many photos of these cute little sheep on the social media and they were so cute I decided to try it myself. ^_^ Not bad uh?! Basically I used black sesame seeds for the eyes and sticked very tiny pieces of cookie dough on the head before sending them into the oven. Once they have been baked and cooled but still slightly warm, I sticked those horns on each side using baking chocolate chips. The slightly warm temperature of the cookies helps to melt the chocolate chips so slightly that it sticks to the cookies without dropping. 

I am sharing these yummy Pineapple Cookies with Cook and Celebrate: CNY 2015 organised by Yen of Eat your heart out, Diana of Domestic Goddess Wannabe and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids. This is so appropriate and a must-eat goodies during Chinese New Year since pineapple has an implied meaning of "bringing prosperity" when translated from it's dialect Hokkien pronunciation.

I am also sharing these cute little Pineapple Cookies with event, Treat Petite (Feb 2015 theme: Love is in the air) hosted by Stuart of Cakeyboi and Kat of The Baking Explorer; and event, The Biscuit Barrel Challenge (Feb 2015 theme: Loved Ones) organised by Laura of I'd Much Rather Bake Than… and hosted by Alexandra of The Lass in the Apron. I wouldn't have spent much time & efforts baking these (I deemed time-consuming) goodies if not for my beloved husband and his "unique" taste bud. :) However, it's all worth it when he enjoys so much!

Last but not least, I am also sharing this recipe with events, Recipe of the Week hosted by Emily of A Mummy Too; CookBlogShare hosted by Lucy of Supergolden Bakes; and Bake of the Week organised by Helen & gang of Casa Costello.


Dare to dream.
The Dream Baker


  1. Gong Xi Fa Cai to you!!!

    I have seen lots of sheep pineapple tarts this year and yours look very cute too!

  2. These are so cute, I love the sheep ones! Thanks for entering into Treat Petite!

    1. Hi Kat, thank you! Glad I managed to make it to this month's Treat Petite theme too.. Enjoy! :)

  3. These are so clever and so divine. I couldn't decorate like you have. Thanks so much for sharing them with the biscuit barrel!

    1. Hi Laura, thank you for the lovely note. Glad they are well-liked. As always, the pleasure is mine. :)