Simply Delicious Macadamia Nut Cookies
Growing up in Hawaii, we had a macadamia nut tree in our front yard. We’d wait for the nuts to fall, then remove the outer husk and get a hammer to crack the rock-hard inner shell. It took a lot of patience to line up one nut at a time, and to keep the nut in place long enough to connect with the brunt of the hammer. A traditional nutcracker was useless against the mighty macadamia.
My ever-resourceful mother figured out a more efficient method. She would corral the nuts in one layer in the base of a shallow candy box, put a piece of cardboard on top to hold the nuts in place, then whack away with a hammer indiscriminately. Eventually, all the nuts would yield their buttery meat.
When I was in Hawaii in the summer, I visited my cousin’s macadamia nut farm in Kona on the Big Island, where he has a well-tended orchard of nuts and a commercial nut cracker. I thought you might like to see how the nuts grow, so we did a little video in the fields.
Macadamia nuts have their own, unique, rich buttery taste. They’re great in baked goods, candy and the finer tidbits can be used to make an excellent coating crust for fish. Macadamia nuts are also wonderful in this simple, crisp shortbread-type cookie that’s not too sweet.
You can make the dough and keep a few rolls in your freezer. Then thaw, slice and bake to have cookies, fresh and warm from the oven, whenever you want.
To see our Macadamia nut video click here.
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Macadamia Nut Refrigerator Cookies
1 cup butter (1/2 pound)
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ¼ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup chopped macadamia nuts
In large bowl of electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla. Add flour and salt and mix just until incorporated. Add nuts and mix just until combined and dough begin to gather into a ball. Remove dough from mixer, divide in half and roll each half into a log about 8 inches long and 1 ½ inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a thin-bladed, sharp knife, slice rolls into 1/4-inch slices. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets and bake 12 to 15 minutes until cookie edges turn a light golden brown. Cool 5 minutes, then use a spatula to carefully transfer to cookie rack and cool completely. Store airtight.
Note: You can freeze rolls, tightly wrapped, to bake later. Thaw in refrigerator before slicing and baking.
Makes 5 dozen cookies
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