Ambrosia salad is very special to a lot of people. It’s something that has been around for ages and in most cases passed down from generation to generation. I always think of it as such a southern thing which I’m pretty sure it’s not nonetheless it can be extremely sentimental for a lot of people. Just the sight of the white fluffy stuff can instantly transport people back to their childhood.
The truth of the matter is I never grew up with Ambrosia Salad. Its one of those things that my mom ate and saw so much of as a kid that once she hit adulthood she never wanted to see the stuff again…which means I never saw the stuff. And to be honest I didn’t really miss it.
Calm down people, this isn’t an Ambrosia bashing post it’s just me being up front about my relationship with it. Weirdly enough I never really thought about it much until the first time I made a batch of coconut macaroons. As I was mixing it up thoughts of Ambrosia salad popped into my head and I wondered if I could put those classic flavors into one cute little cookie especially since coconut is a huge part of it.
So here it is….I think it captures all the flavors pretty spot on having finally partaken of the delicious fluffy stuff as a now grown up but even if it doesn’t send you back to your childhood with the first bite it’s still a pretty darn good cookie…and kinda cute too if I say so myself.
1 20oz. can crushed pineapple
1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 14oz. bag shredded coconut (sweetened)
1 Tablespoon orange zest
½ cup chopped *toasted pecans
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
1 jar Maraschino cherries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour entire can of crushed pineapple (juice and all) into a medium saucepan. Cook on medium heat until all the juice has evaporated making sure to stir constantly to avoid sticking. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
In a microwave safe bowl combine sweetened condensed milk and marshmallows and place in microwave for 15 seconds. Stir to combine and continue to microwave for 15 second periods until marshmallows are fully melted and mixture is smooth.
Add coconut, pineapple, orange zest, vanilla and *toasted pecans to marshmallow mixture and stir until everything is combined and moistened. Drain and cut maraschino cherries in half.
Place rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place a maraschino cherry half cut side down in the center of each macaroon. Bake cookies for 15 to 18 minutes or until cookies are light golden brown. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes the gently remove with a metal spatula and move to a baking rack to cool completely.
Makes about 4 dozen.
*To toast pecans: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the Pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 5 to 8 minutes, the pecans should be slightly browned and you should be able to smell them.
If you don’t want to go through the effort of toasting the pecans just chop em up and throw them on in there.