Everyone knows comfort foods are a great coping mechanism for soothing negative feelings – which is why these Pineapple Cookies will be served at my Herbal Yoga Workshop for Anxiety & Depression. Their sweet gentle aroma and flavour (a cross between zingy pineapple and soothing chamomile) make a perfect treat for when we’re feeling down and in need of a dose of life’s sweetness. Comfort foods are often high calorie and high carb, which this butter cookie definitely is. But hey – don’t think of it as a guilty indulgence – but as an old fashioned remedy for the “blues’.
Pineapple weed (or wild chamomile) is related to chamomile (but without the white petals) and is native to North America. First Peoples treasured their scent, using them to line bedding and cradles, and children wore necklaces of their buds to help repel insects. The early settlers soon cottoned on to her tender loving nature, which is indicated by her Latin name (Matricaria discoidea) meaning “mother” and caria meaning “dear”.
Pineapple weed is believed to share many of chamomiles (Matricaria Recutita) qualities which were traditionally used to alleviate “nervous conditions”. Today research shows it has mild sedative effects helping soothe stress and anxiety and even uplift our mood.
Plus, consider pineapple weeds energetic qualities as a flower essence. Steve Johnson, founder of the Alaskan Flower Essence Project and author of the Essence of Healing writes pineapple weed “helps us maintain a calm awareness of ourselves and our surroundings, and between humans and the earth.” And when comes to food magic is said that pineapples weed’s golden heads bring us gold, and it’s good for domestic and familial harmony. What’s not to love?
And it’s just plain delicious. Herby and fruity, it is often used in teas, cordials, liqueurs and in baking, beloved for it’s gentle, sweet scent and flavour. Pinch its green buds between your fingers and you’ll smell the soothing hay-like fragrance of chamomile mixed with zingy pineapple notes – and if you don’t smell strong notes of pineapple you likely have the wrong plant. Their pineapple fragrance permeated my kitchen when baking these cookies – yum!
For this recipe, you’ll harvest the tops of the plant, both foliage and flowers. Pick about a cup full, and then pick a few more because they are also easily dried for future use. You’ll find pineapple weed growing in the most inhospitable places, thriving in dry, stony gravel areas, often near sandy playgrounds, sidewalks and trailsides. Think twice about where you pick it, many trailsides and park playgrounds are treated with pesticides, and gravel in industrial areas can contain heavy metals.
But the fact is, the more hardscrabble the soil, the more likely you’ll find pineapple weed growing! Which I think makes an apt metaphor for those times when life itself may feel well, a little hardscrabble. ” So think of these comfort cookies as a sweet, steadying and loving hug from “mother dear”. Go ahead and treat yourself!
Pineapple Weed Comfort Cookies
(makes about 2 dozen cookies)
- 1 & ¾ cup of flour
- 1/2 cup of pineapple weed buds
- 1 cup of granulated cane sugar
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla
- ½ teaspoon salt
The day before baking you’ll want to infuse your butter with the flower heads.
- Take ¼ cup of your pineapple weed buds and gently dice.
- Melt your butter and submerge your flower buds, stir and mix well.
- Let it sit on lowest heat, or a warming burner for several hours. If you can keep in a warm place overnight – even better.
Day of Baking
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cream your butter (with flower heads still in) with your sugar.
- Beat in eggs and vanilla extract.
- Fold in remaining flower heads.
- Drop by the teaspoon onto a greased cookies sheet.
- Bake 12 – 15 minutes or until edges become golden and crispy.
Note: Pineapple weed is a member of the Asteraceae family, so if you experience allergic reactions to other members of this family like daisy, sunflower or dandelion, best to avoid it!