Do you want to know what it tastes like to drive to Spokane, Washington from Bountiful, Utah in a van with 12 kids, 2 parents, and enough clothes and pillows and toiletries to get them through vacation at Grandma’s? It tastes like Easy Cheese and Ritz crackers, carrots and grapes, peanut butter sandwiches and little cans of V8.
Do you want to know what it tastes like to drive back to Bountiful two weeks later? It tastes like pineapple cookies. And only pineapple cookies.
In fact, it tastes so strongly of pineapple cookies that when I came home from Utah a couple of weeks ago and Micah and the boys made a pineapple upside-down cake to celebrate my return, I took one bite and was suddenly seat belted into the old van, a pillow wedged between my head and the window, hip to hip with my sister, trying to catch a nap as we cruised down I-15.
Pineapple cookies were my Dad’s special treat. Making them was the way he spent his last afternoon of vacation while the rest of us packed our bags, made final trips to the totem pole or Yoke’s Pac’n’Save, or raided the raspberry bushes for the last fresh raspberries we would taste until the next summer. I remember Dad consulting the recipe, which he’d written in his planner, and offering whoever was around the strained pineapple juice or the dough covered beaters.
When I tasted the pineapple upside-down cake, I remembered the cookies and I needed that cookie recipe. I needed to share the taste of coming home with my kids. And with you. So here it is.
Dad’s Pineapple Cookies
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 20-oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until well-blended. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well. Add the flour mixture and beat in until combined. The dough will be a bit dry at this point, but that’s okay because next you add the strained pineapple and once you mix that in, it will make the dough nice and creamy again.
Chill the dough for at least an hour in the refrigerator. When you take it out, heat the oven to 350. Drop the dough in heaping tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes. The bottoms will be lightly browned, but the centers may look a little underdone. They are perfect at this point. Let them sit on the pan for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Take a bite and discover what it tastes like to go home.