30 June 2013

Macadamia Butter Cookies with Dark Chocolate

You're about to find out how easy it is to make your own nut butter! Macadamia nut butter is the base of these cookies; no other butter or oil is used. They are not overly sweet but have a hit of creamy, soft dark chocolate pieces for added indulgence. Substantial flour and nut butter prevents them from being classified as an empty-calorie treat, therefore allowing them to serve double duty as an energy-boosting, sustaining snack even though you feel like you are treating yourself.

To deepen the flavor, the macadamia nuts are roasted before blended into nut butter. Even then the nut flavor is mild and not overpowering. The end product is soft and cooked only until just set, leaving the outside slightly cakey and the center moist and just underdone.

My aim on this blog is to share recipes that are inspiring and exciting to me either because of the ingredients, flavor combinations, or techniques. Baking is not always my favorite with its precise measurements and need for dirtying too many bowls and utensils. But here, it's the minimal ingredients, ease of pulling together, and the feeling of satisfaction after making your own special nut butter that contributes to the cookie's wholesomeness.

Macadamia Butter Cookies with Dark Chocolate

Macadamia Nut Butter
Yield: 1 cup nut butter

Notes: If you can only find roasted and salted macadamia nuts, skip the roasting step below and don't add salt when blending.

2 heaping cups raw, unsalted macadamia nuts (~300 grams)
several big pinches salt (~1/8 tsp.)

Place baking rack in the upper 1/3 of the oven and set oven to broil. Spread nuts out on a baking sheet and carefully broil for approximately 4 minutes, tossing half way through so they brown on all sides. Watch very carefully the last two minutes as they will burn very quickly.

Let nuts cool slightly, then place in food processor with salt and  blend (don't pulse) for 2 minutes, scraping the sides down halfway through, until the mixture is a smooth, thin, liquid butter.

Notes about blending: Just after scraping the sides down the mixture will thicken and ball up, but more oil will be released as it blends, and it will thin out in the end.

Cookie Dough
Yield: 20-22 cookies

1/4 cup muscovado sugar (or brown sugar)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup macadamia nut butter
1 cup light spelt flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
100 grams dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa powder), chopped (~ 2/3 cup)
1/3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped (eyeball it, depending on how nutty you like your cookies)

Set oven to 350 F (176 C) and move rack to middle of the oven.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together sugars, vanilla extract, salt, eggs, and nut butter. Add flour and mix until just combined, then fold in chopped chocolate and nuts. Don't over mix.

Place bowl with cookie dough in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.

Scoop out dough in small mounds (~1/2 ice cream scoop) on a cookie sheet lined with grease-proof paper. Bake for 15-16 minutes (12-13 for convection) or until cookies are golden around the edges and the top is just set and beginning to brown. Err on the side of under baking by a minute. You can always test one by splitting it in half and seeing if the middle is cooked to your liking.

Let cool slightly, but best enjoyed warm.

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