What looks like a small lime when on the tree, a kukui nut on the ground and requires a special nutcracker applying 300 lbs. of pressure per inch to open? You guessed it, the Macadamia Nut! Native to the rainforests of Australia, Aborigines revered this Queen of all nuts, often reserving them for ceremonial offerings. In 1882, the first Macadamia nut seeds were planted on the Big Island’s Hamakua Coast. The evergreens found the volcanic soil to their liking and the rest is history. Today, Hawaii grows 90% of the world’s Macadamia nuts and nearly all come from the Big Island. Hawaii’s harvest estimates last year were impressive; approximately 58 million pounds of nuts from 1.2 million trees on 15,000 acres. Did you know the Mac Nut, without a chocolate coating, is one of the healthiest nuts on the planet? As a good source of protein and high levels of mono-unsaturated fats (nearly 86%), moderate consumption of Macadamia oil or nuts may actually reduce cholesterol. During your next stay at Holualoa Inn, sample our nuts or for a sweet splurge, try making Chef Crystal’s out of this world Macadamia Nut Shortbread Cookies!
Big Island Macadamia Nut Shortbread Cookies
½ cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
½ tsp Kosher salt
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350° Bake 10 minutes or until golden Makes about 24 cookies
-Pulse macadamia nuts in food processor until finely ground.
-In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together nuts, sugar, butter and salt.
-Mix in flour until just incorporated.
-Shape dough into a long rectangle, approximately 16” by 2” by 1”.
-Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for at least one hour.
-Cut dough into squares and lay on cookie sheet.
-Place in oven and bake until golden.
-Remove from oven and let cool on cooling rack.
-Melt chocolate chips in microwave or double boiler
-Dip bottom half of cookie and let set.
-Garnish with additional macadamia nuts, if desired.