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 AsianÂ 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.Â Â 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 Â¾ 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 Â½ 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 Â½ 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
When summer comes around pesto is one of my go to favorites to brighten up so many summer meals. Fresh Italian sweet basil is available by the bushels full during the summer months and making batches of pesto to stash away for the winter is an annual ritual.
I have previously posted five pesto recipe variations, but not a truly Italian basic pesto recipe which follows. Take a look at the other pesto recipes below.
The word pesto refers to the pestle which has been traditionally used to grind the pesto ingredients in a mortar through the ages in Italy. More modern methods for making pesto, such as using a mezzaluna, a blender, or a food processor have not replaced the mortar and pestle, but have made the process more compatible with the time restraints of the modern cook. What ever the method used, Pesto remains enshrined as one of Italy’s most revered sauces. So, whether you are a staunch traditionalist ready for a work out or a modernist with little time to spare, the rewards of bringing this glistening emerald green pesto to the table will be apparent.Â
I have included the optional addition of butter to this recipe which has become quite popular in Italy. The butter gives the pesto a richer silky texture that works beautifully with pastas. You may well be a committed traditionalist, as I too have been, but why not give the addition of butter a try.
Fresh Sweet Italian Basil Pesto:Â makes about 2 1/2 Â cups
- Â½ cup walnuts or pignole (pine nuts) or a combination of both
- 1 teaspoon flaked sea salt
- 6 black peppercorn, coarsely ground
- 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter (optional)
- hands full of fresh sweet Italian basil/ about 3 well packed cups of torn leaves
- Â½ cup grated Parmigiano
- Â½ cup grated Pecorino, Sardo, or Romano
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil or a little extra if omitting the butter
Place the nuts, sea salt, ground peppercorns, garlic, and butter (if using) in a mortar, blender, or food processor, and grind or pulse into a coarse mixture.
Add the basil leaves and grind or pulse until the mixture is semi-smooth.
Add the cheeses and grind or pulse until evenly mixed with the other ingredients.
Begin adding the olive oil a tablespoon at a time while grinding or pulsing. Gradually you can increase the flow of olive oil as the pesto begins to emulsify and the pesto is rather smooth but with some texture remaining.
Taste and add additional salt if needed.
Transfer to a container with a lid and set aside if using within an hour or so. Ideally the pesto should be used at room temperature, especially with pasta or other cooked applications. Slightly chilled is fine when using as a spread or condiment.
Refrigerated the pesto will last 5 days, although with each passing day the brilliant green color will begin to fade.
Freezing is the best option for longtime storage.
Other pesto recipes well worth a try.
Pesto alla Siciliana & Pesto Trapanese (see recipe here)
Spinach Pesto with Panchetta (see recipe here)
Pomegranate Glazed Pork Loin with Pistacio Pesto (see recipe here)
Pesto…Diverso Â (see recipe here)
Salsa Romesco (see recipe here)
Apple butter is essentially a slow cooked apple sauce with a few spices thrown in. As the applesauce cooks the sugar from the apples caramelizes and reduces into a thick deep amber â€œbutter.â€ Traditionally spread on breads in place of butter, thus the name apple “butter.”
Apple butter is a household staple where I grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch (Deuitch) country although its origins are rooted in Europe. In Germany it is called Apfel Kraut, and in the Netherlands Appel Stroop.
Apple butter recipes came to America with German speaking Lutherans, Reformed, and Anti-baptist religious groups from Germany, France, and Switzerland when they immigrated to the United states in late 17th century. The settlers chose Southeastern Pennsylvania for is rich soil that was suitable for the farming practices they used in Europe. Both Amish and Mennonite farm communities were established which exist, mostly unchanged, to this day. Not only did these settlers introduce their sustainable farming methods in Pennsylvania, but also their hearty Pennsylvania Dutch cooking!
Apple butter is actually very easy to make and has endless applications beyond being spread on bread which is irresistibly good by the way. It is also a heady addition to pies, pastries, slow roasted meats, BBQ sauces, salad dressings, or served along with farm made cheeses. Try adding apple butter tossed in with your apples the next time you’re baking an apple pie. The results are transformative!
Traditionally apple butter is â€œput upâ€ in the fall on Pennsylvania Dutch farms to last until the next apple harvest. Likewise, this is one pantry staple you will find you will want to have on hand year round, I promise.
Pennsylvania Dutch Apple ButterÂ Â Â
Makes about 3 cups
- 2 lbs./1 kilo firm crisp juicy apples
- 2 cups/500ml apple cider or apple juice
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- Â½ teaspoon flaked sea salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon (or other variety) Â Note: about Saigon Cinnamon (click here)
- Â¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Peel, core, quarter, and chop the apples and place them in a nonreactive oven proof braising pan. Add the cider (or apple juice), the brown sugar, and salt and stir to combine. Place over medium heat on the stove top and when simmering partially cover the pan and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very soft, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 250f/130c
Remove the pan from the stove and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then blend the apples along with the liquid using a hand held immersion blender, or transfer the apples and liquid to a blender, and blend until the mixture is completely smooth with the consistency of apple sauce.
Stir in the lemon juice, cinnamon, and cloves until combined and transfer the pan to the oven, uncovered, and bake for several hours, stirring every 30 minutes. The mixture will slowly turn an amber color as the sugar caramelizes and the liquid reduces. I’ve found it generally takes about 3 hours, but every oven is different, so keep an eye on it until apple butter reaches a deep amber color with a thick spreadable consistency.
Remove the pan from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
For storage: Sterilize a couple of jars along with their lids with boiling water. Spoon the apple butter into the jars, seal tightly, and refrigerate for up to about a month.
For longer storage follow standard hot water bath canning procedures and when sealed and cooled to room temperature, store in a dark place in your pantry for up to a year.
I first became acquainted with quinoa in the late 80’s while teaching at The Santa Fe School of Cooking. Rebecca Wood, author of Quinoa, The Supergrain: Ancient food for Today, was invited to conduct several classes as a guest chef at the cooking school. We had a wonderful time cooking and learning about quinoa. From that moment on it became a staple in my kitchen larder.
Ouinoa’s cultivation began some 4000 years ago in the Andean regions of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Colombia. It is a hearty plant that thrives at higher elevations, is drought resistant, and tolerates temperatures ranging from near frosting to the low 30C.
Quinoa’s nutritive values have unequivocally earned the title of a â€œsupergrainâ€. Technically Quinoa is a seed, but eaten like a grain.Â It is a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids required for the body. It also delivers B vitamins, vitamin E, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, manganese copper and folate, as well as omega 3 and fatty acids.
There are three varieties of quinoa; white, red, and black. The white is actually a neutral buff color and the quinoa that is most familiar to most of us. The red, and black varieties have a slightly sweet nutty earthy flavor and retain more of crunchy texture when cooked.
Organic quinoa cultivation was introduced in the US in the highlands of the San Luis Valley in Colorado in 1982. Since then Quinoa has become a popular larder staple in the US, Europe, and Japan, and beyond. Readily available in supermarkets and whole foods shops.
Black quinoa has got to be the caviar of grains! It is a newer variety, the result of an accidental cross breeding of South American quinoa and lamb’s quarters in Colorado. A gorgeous deep purple black color with an earthy sweet nutty flavor and crunchy bite. It is sure to win over even the most skeptical of finicky eaters.
How to Cook Quinoa:
There are two options to consider. Quinoa can be pre-soaked before cooking, which will produce a softer fluffier finish, or simply rinsed before cooking. The later is my preference as it produces a slightly crunchier texture, but it is entirely up to you.
- 1 cup organic white quinoa; well rinsed (or pre-soaked for several hours)
- 2 cups spring water or stock (reducing the quantity to 1 cup if pre-soaked)
- Â¼ teaspoon sea salt
Using a fine mesh strainer rinse the quinoa thoroughly under running water. This will ensure that the bitter taste of the outer casing is completely removed. Follow the same procedure if pre-soaked; discarding the soaking water, and rinsing before cooking.
Place the rinsed quinoa in a saucepan or rice steamer. Add the appropriate amount of water or stock and the salt. If you are using a rice steamer, simply put on the lid and the steamer will do the rest.
If you are using a saucepan, bring the contents to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 6-8 minutes. Lower the heat, cover, and continue to cook until all the liquid has been absorbed, stirring once or twice to insure that the quinoa is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Fluff the quinoa just before serving.
Red and Black Quinoa: A little more water and a slightly longer cooking time is required to soften the outer casing of red and black quinoa.
- 1 cup organic red or black quinoa; well rinsed (or pre-soaked for several hours)
- 2 Â¼ cups spring water or stock (reducing the quantity of liquid to 1 Â¼ cups if pre-soaked)
- Â¼ teaspoon sea salt
Using a fine mesh strainer rinse the quinoa thoroughly under running water. Again, this will ensure that the bitter taste of the outer casing is completely removed. Follow the same procedure if pre-soaked; discarding the soaking water and rinsing before cooking.
Place the rinsed quinoa in a saucepan or rice steamer. Add the appropriate amount of water or stock, and the salt. If you are using a rice steamer, simply put on the lid and the steamer will do the rest.
If you are using a saucepan, bring the contents to a simmer over medium heat and cook
for 8-10 minutes. Lower the heat, cover, and continue to cook until all the liquid has been absorbed, stirring once or twice to insure the quinoa is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside to rest for 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa just before serving.