I’ve been making a lot of bar cookies lately, and sometimes I think that I want to make something really different, but I had seen these cookies on TasteSpotting (http://www.tastespotting.com/) and I really was excited to make them. I’ve made some other bar cookies that have a shortbread-like crust with toppings. Sometimes these work out really well, but I know a couple of times the crust and the filling don’t really stick together and you end up with a cookie that completely falls apart when you try to eat it.
Making the cookie base was very streamlined: you make it in the food processor. No extra bowls to dirty! I was happy that this called for an egg to bind everything together, since I figured that would help the cookie from being too crumbly once it was cut. The dough never really formed into regular cookie dough, it was still fairly crumbly even after adding the egg. I pressed it in the pan and it was fairly thin. I baked it for 20 minutes and it was just barely browned. Maybe I could have baked it a couple minutes more. It seemed set so I didn’t want to dry it out or overbake it.
I was a little nervous to make the topping, because it seems that I can’t ever get my candy thermometer attached to the pan in a way that works. I cooked the mixture until it was 240 degrees or maybe just a degree or two less. It’s a little hard to tell with my thermometer! It was bubbling very nicely when it got to temperature and then I took it off the heat and added the nuts. When I spread the topping on top of the crust, I noticed that the mixture was a light golden, not very dark at all. It looked a lot different from the original picture I had seen. Had I not cooked it long enough? Would it set up? I had my worries.
I baked it about 10 minutes, rather than the 5 the recipe called for, since the topping seemed so liquidy. Was it supposed to set up? I really didn’t know. I took it out of the oven and just decided to let it cool. In the back of my mind I was thinking, what is cookie plan B if these don’t work? I let them cool for about 3 hours before cutting. Lining the pan with foil made this so much easier. They cut very easily and the squares were really soft. I don’t know if there were still slightly warm or what. They are certainly delicate.
These have a very sweet, buttery flavor. The honey is a subtle flavor but it shines through. I used fireweed honey, but I don’t know how different the flavor is from clover honey. We had a couple different types of honey in the cupboard and this sounded interesting. You would think these were loaded with butter (ok, so they do contain 2 sticks of butter), but it’s the topping that is so smooth and buttery. They are very tasty. My husband REALLY likes them and keeps coming from the kitchen eating them so I hope there are enough left to share with others.
1/2 cup butter
1 1/3 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
8 oz. lightly toasted macadamia nuts
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 in. pan with a double layer of foil. Put butter into a food processor with the flour, salt and sugar. Process until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and process until it comes together. Press into the baking pan and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Allow the crust to cool while you make the topping.
Process the macadamia nuts in the food processor for about 30 seconds, until they’re chopped into little pieces (but not finely ground). Put the nuts on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 5 minutes, until lightly toasted. (You can also toast them in a microwave.)
Put the sugar, honey, butter, and cream into a tall heavy saucepan. Cook the mixture until it reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Stir the mixture consistently while it is cooking. Once the mixture has
reached 240 degrees, pull the mixture off of the heat and quickly add the nuts. Stir well, and pour on top of the crust. Bake for about 5 minutes, mine was bubbly.
Allow to cool for at least 2 hours before cutting into squares. (Or refrigerate, but don’t refrigerate too long or the topping gets too hard.)Squares can be stored in an airtight container for 5 to 7 days.