Friday, September 5, 2014

Macadamia Nut Shortbread

My friend recently went to Hawaii and brought me back some macadamia nuts. She told me she brought them back for me and I immediately went searching for recipes! I’ve made a couple of things with macadamia nuts, but I don’t always find that many cookie recipes. So many macadamia cookie recipes are just variations of chocolate chip cookies. These shortbread cookies are not all that different, but I thought featuring the macadamia nuts in shortbread would be the perfect showcase.

The original recipe had you roll the cookies out between sheets of parchment, but I remembered a recipe I’d made long ago where you rolled the dough out in gallon-sized zipper bags. It saves a lot of mess, and it makes it a lot easier to shape the dough into a rectangle. My dough didn’t quite fill the entire bag once rolled out (I had about an inch of empty space on two sides) but I think it still made rolling out the dough easier. 

I cut these with a pizza cutter and a ruler, very scientific! I just trimmed off the edges that weren’t square, so my cookies looked great. I thought about just drizzling the cookies with chocolate, but my friend said that more chocolate was always better so I dunked them. It is hard to finely chop macadamias (I use the food processor) because they start to turn into macadamia butter if you aren’t careful! These cookies turned out really well and the flavor of the macadamia nuts is perfectly highlighted. 

Macadamia Nut Shortbread
1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped
8 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons shortening
1/4 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped

In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour. Once the flour is incorporated, continue mixing on low and gradually add the 1 cup of macadamia nuts.

Divide the dough in halves. Place each half of dough in a gallon-sized plastic zipper bag. Roll out the dough into a rectangle, ¼” thick. The rectangle with be slightly smaller than the dimensions of the plastic bag. Alternatively, roll the dough out between pieces of parchment paper. Do your best to roll the dough into a rectangle, but don’t worry too much as you will trim the sides of the shortbread when cutting into bars. Refrigerate the dough for 2 hours or longer.

 Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Cut the plastic bag away from the dough (or peel away the parchment) and place on a cutting board. Using a ruler and a pizza cutter, cut the shortbread into 1” x 2” rectangles.  Place the shortbread on the prepared baking sheets. You can put the shortbread fairly close together, as the cookies don’t rise or spread while baking.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, until the edges of the shortbread just begin to brown. The cookies may still be soft in the center; they will set as they cool. Cool the cookies completely on a wire rack.

In a microwave or in the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate with the shortening. Partially dip the cookie in the melted chocolate and place on a wire rack. While the chocolate is still soft, sprinkle with additional macadamia nuts. Refrigerate until the chocolate sets.

Recipe from Dieter’s Downfall

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