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The Yankee Express

Pineapple coconut squares offer a taste of summer


What comes to mind when you think about pineapples and coconuts? Many people immediately imagine a tropical paradise – a sunny haven of relaxation.
Although summer is still weeks away, there have been plenty of warm breezes, vibrant flowers and hammocks gracing backyards throughout the region. So, adding some pineapples and coconut to your late spring diet seems entirely appropriate.
One way to combine the summery staples is to use them in a dessert. Pineapple coconut squares require only a handful of ingredients, and they’re healthier than many more common seasonal treats.
One of the primary reasons that these squares are healthier than warm weather indulgences such as popsicles, ice cream cones and s’mores is because there are no artificial ingredients, colors or preservatives, and there’s no added sugar. Inflammation caused by eating too much sugar can make us more susceptible to most of the worst illnesses, diseases and conditions.  
Another good reason to try this recipe is because of the health benefits of pineapples. The golden-hued fruit contains plenty of vitamin C, which amplifies the power of your immune system and might help fight heart disease, cancer and arthritis, and pineapples are rich in fiber, B vitamins and manganese. Additionally, it’s believed to be the only food that contains an enzyme called bromelain. Bromelain aids in skin and tissue repair, and it fights inflammation.

Pineapple Coconut Squares
Square Crust Ingredients:
2 Cups of Flour 
¾ Cup of Butter (melted to the consistency of shortening)
½ tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Salt (omit if using salted butter)
½ tsp. white vinegar
10 tbsp. cold water
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Cut in butter until like peas.
Sprinkle vinegar over the mixture. 
Sprinkle 1 tbsp. of water over part of mixture, toss with a fork, and move moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat with the rest of the mixture, until it’s all moistened.
Gather dough into two balls, and flatten each one (on a floured surface).
Roll each ball of dough into a 1/8 inch thick crust.  
Square Filling Ingredients:
4 ½ Cups of Drained Crushed Pineapple in 100% pineapple juice (or two 20 oz. cans)
1 Cup of Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1 tsp. Cinnamon
3 Tbsp. of Flour
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine all the filling ingredients.
Place the bottom crust on the bottom of a 9X13 rectangular baking dish.
Spoon the filling evenly onto the unbaked crust.
Cover the filling with the top unbaked crust, and bake the squares for about 45 minutes. Makes about 16-20 squares.
Let cool a little and serve warm if desired. Enjoy!
We all need to visit sunny havens of relaxation from time to time – whether they are tropical paradises, nearby parks or backyards. Of course, it’s also helpful to have desserts that are like little slices of summer. Happy (healthier) baking!