What you do is cook sugar until it is nice and caramelized, toss in toasted macadamia nuts, and spread it out on a baking pan and let it cool. Then you take this wonderful macadamia brittle and grind it up in the food processor to become wonderful caramelized sugary bits in your cookie. Just beat butter, sugar, mix in flour and this nut mixture. Refrigerate, and shape. What I did for my cookies was roll it out and cut it with a knife into slices. With the leftover bits I formed them into oval shapes. I realized after I had done this though, that there was no salt in the recipe! Or vanilla! I was devastated… cookies with nuts and butter must have salt, at least! My macadamia nuts were salted, but tasting the dough (see, dough tasting really CAN be useful for quality control), it didn’t taste nearly salty enough. But that’s when I remembered what a great ingredient fleur de sel is! So, I whipped out my little container of fleur de sel that I got from King Arthur Flour, and sprinkled liberally all over the cookies. It worked perfectly!
I thought I overbaked one batch, but it actually tasted wonderful. So don’t be afraid to keep baking until very golden brown to ensure maximum caramelization and flavor!
After baking, I took leftover wafer chocolate that melts easily in a disposable decorator’s bag in the microwave, snipped off the tip, and drizzled liberally.
And that’s how you get one of the best buttery, thin, crisp, nutty, caramelized cookies ever!
Macadamia Brittle Cookies with Fleur de Sel
Adapted from “Christmas Cookies from the Whimsical Bakehouse” by Kaye and Liv Hansen
Makes 6 to 7 dozen cookies
For the praline:
8 ounces (1 3/4 cups) macadamia nuts
2/3 cup sugar
Line cooking sheet with parchment paper. Put aside.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. On a sheet pan, toast macadamia nuts for 8 minutes or until fragrant. When the nuts are cool, coarsely chop them, and set aside.
In a heavy saucepan, cook sugar over moderate heat. Shake the saucepan 2 or 3 times until the sugar melts, then cook without stirring until the sugar becomes dark caramel colored. Remove from the heat and add 1/2 cup of the toasted macadamia nuts (reserve the remaining nuts). Pour the praline nut mixture onto the prepared cookie sheet and let cool completely.
For the cookie dough:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Fleur de sel, to sprinkle
Break apart the praline into pieces and grind into a food processor. Add the remaining toasted macadamia nuts. Continue grinding until medium fine.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer at medium speed, cream butter and confectioner’s sugar. Add flour and the praline mixture. Mix. Divide dough into two disks and refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight.
Roll dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness, and cut into strips, or triangles, or whatever shapes you would like. Sprinkle liberally with fleur de sel, and refrigerate to let the dough harden again.
Preheat oven to 325ºF, and place cookies an inch apart onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake for 8 minutes, or until very golden brown. Let the cookies cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Melt separately (by microwaving in plastic disposable decorator’s bag if possible):
1 cup cocoa wafer chocolate
1 cup white wafter chocolate
Snip ends off of bags, and drizzle the cookies with the chocolate. Refrigerate to set. Store in airtight container.