Hawaiian Macadamia nut sables flavored with Pandan
Everyone associates macadamia nuts with the Hawaiian Islands and for good reason. They have either enjoyed a holiday in Hawaii or have receved a a colorful Hawaiian Host gift boxefilled with chocolate covered macadamia nuts ! Hawaii is one of largest producers of these irresistibly rich and buttery nuts from the Pacific islands. But there is a fascinating backstory as well. Macadamia nuts are not native to the Hawaiian islands. Macadamia nuts and their host the screw pine trees are native to Queensland in northeast Australia.
The first screw pine trees that produced macadamia nuts in Hawaii were brought to Hawaii around 1880 and planted in Kukuiheale on the big island of Hawaii. The rich volcanic soil from the Mauna Loa volcano proved to be the ideal and macadamia nut orchards thrived. The industry grew and flourished and Hawaiian macadamia nuts are now exported to the rest of the world.
Sables, essentially shortbread cookies that originate from Breton in France, seemed a likely match for macadamia nuts with their light crumbly texture and a lovely buttery flavor that blends seamlessly with the macadamia nuts subtle tropical flavor notes.
Several years ago I posted a Saigon cinnamon sables recipe (click here) that turned out to be a complimentary Asian pairing as well
The macadamia nuts subtle flavor and rich coconut like texture makes them a perfect choice for baked goods. White chocolate is hands down the most popular pairing and indeed an excellent choice. But I was looking for a more local melding of flavors when pandan popped up in my head. Pandan is a local palm leaf that has a sweet aromatic flavor and scent as well as adding a very very pale green tint to whatever the application. It is the perfect alternative to vanilla and used throughout South East Asia to flavor rice, sweets, or in any recipe that calls for vanilla extract. This is an ingredient, like kaffir lime leaves, that can add a whole new dimension to your cooking repertoire. A few fresh or dried leaves of either cooked with rice will fill the kitchen with the most incredible aroma you could ever imagine. And yes macadamia nuts, pandan, kaffir leaves are all Available on line at. See note following the recipe.
Hawaiian Macadamia nut sables flavored with Pandan
makes 36 cookies
- 2/3 cup / 5.2 ounces best quality salted butter (Kerrygold Irish Butter) at room temperature
- 4 large organic egg yolks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1cup coarsely chopped dry roasted macadamia nuts with sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pandan extract (thinned with a little water if using paste) or vanilla extract
- 1 egg, whisked
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter using a silicone spatula until completely smooth.
In another bowl whisk the egg yolks while gradually adding the sugar until light and fluffy.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and gradually stir into the butter mixture until completely combined.
Stir in the pandan extract or vanilla extract until completely combined and then fold in the macadamia nuts until evenly combined.
Gather the dough together and transfer to a piece of cling film placed on your the work surface. Pat the dough into a rectangle loaf. Cover with cling film, and refrigerate for at least one hour, for several hours, or overnight.
Line two baking sheet pans with parchment or silicone mats and set aside.
When the dough is very well chilled divide the loaf in half and refrigerate the other half.
Place a sheet of parchment on your work surface, and dust it with flour. Place the dough in the center and dust lightly with flour. Begin rolling out the dough slowly, dusting with flour as needed, until it is about ½ inch thick.
Using a 2 inch round cutter, cut out circles of dough and, using a spatula or dough scraper, lift the cookies and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet ,placing them about ½ inch apart. Gather any scraps of dough and set aside.
Transfer the sheet pan of cookies to the refrigerator while you role out the remaining dough, cut out the remaining cookies and place them on the second prepared sheet pan.
Gather up the scraps of dough, kneed them together, roll out the the dough, cut out the remaining cookies and place them on the baking sheet. and transfer them the refrigerator. Discard any remaining scraps of dough.
preheat the oven to 350 f / 180 c Adjust the baking rack in the center position of the oven.
Beat the reaming egg until frothy and set aside.
For the best results bake each baking sheet of cookies separately.
Remove a tray of cookies from the fridge. Mark the tops with a crisscross pattern using a fork. Then brush the tops of each cookie with the egg wash.
Transfer the cookies to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, rotating the tray half way through the baking time.
The edges of the cookies should be slightly browned and the tops are a light golden color. Do not over bake!
Remove the cookies from the oven and place the tray on a cooling rack. After about 15 minutes you can remove the cookies from the tray and placing them directly on the rack to cool completely.
Repeat the same sequence for second batch. When all the cookies are completely cool they may be stored in an airtight container for at least a week at room temperature.
Keu a ka ono !
Note: Ingredients available at Amazon.com
Oven roasted macadamia nuts with sea salt
24 oz / 1.5 lb $26.95 (they freeze well)
McCormic pandan flavor extract
2o ml $12.76 (2 pack)
Pandanus Leaves Dried 0.5 oz 9.99
Kaffir Lime Leaves Dried o.5 oz 9.99