Back in about 2004, this recipe completely puzzled me. I liked the taste so much, I made batch after batch, trying to figure out what was happening. Af first, the texture wasn't right. The trick I finally figured out? You have to make sure sure that the macadamia nut butter reaches a consistency just a stage past runny peanut butter. Finally perfection, so perfect, they were voted the family favorite that year! (And mine is a family with lots-lots-lots of favorite Christmas cookie contenders.) The cookies are crisp on the outside, chewy in the center and lightly spiced with fresh nutmeg.
"... a family favorite. I have to make at least an extra half batch ..." ~ Anonymous
"Truly an excellent cookie -- thanks." ~ Susan
Once in a while, a recipe shows such promise you make it again and again, until getting it exactly right.
That’s what happened with these crisp-on-the-outside, chewy-in-the-middle bright-colored cookies, voted the family favorite ‘new recipe’ their first year and a cheerful addition to holiday cookie platters ever since.
That first year, I mixed batch after batch, each an improvement but never quite right.
Finally I found the trick: the macadamia nut butter must reach a consistency someplace beyond creamy commercial peanut butter, smooth and almost runny.
The inspiring recipe from a major food magazine, as written, called for just 2/3 of a cup of macadamia nuts. In my large food processor that small quantity turns out a grainy, crumbly mess of nuts, hardly a nut butter. The cookies taste great but didn’t flatten properly.
Luckily, the fix was easy: re-write the recipe for a bigger batch! You won't be sorry, the cookies are that good! And the dough freezes well so you can bake some now, the rest later. So a caution: if you cut this recipe in half, you'll need to process the full amount of macadamia nuts even if you use only half for the cookies. Stir what's left over into morning oatmeal, it's so good!
Please know, when I first published this recipe in 2005, I stuck with the 2/3 cup macadamia nuts. In 2014, I doubled the recipe to use a full 1-1/3 cups macadamia nuts. It's just simpler that way, I wish I'd done it way back in 2005!
Chilling and baking: 30 minutes
Makes about 5-1/2 dozen small cookies
- 1 cup (125g) dried cranberries
- 1 cup (200g) white sugar
- 1-1/3 cups (180g) macadamia nuts
- Cranberry-Sugar mixture
- Macadamia Butter
- 1 cup (200) light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 large eggs
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 312g
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoon sugars (for dipping)
In a food processor, chop the cranberries with the sugar until the cranberries are in small bits that will distribute evenly throughout the cookie dough. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
In the same food processor bowl (washing isn’t necessary), make a nut butter by processing nuts until very smooth, think runny peanut butter, about two minutes, scraping bowl several times. Add to the mixing bowl.
In the mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the Cranberry-Sugar mixture, the Macadamia Butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Add vanilla and egg and combine well.
Separately, stir together flour, soda, salt and nutmeg until thoroughly combine. Add to mixing bowl, at low speed, incorporate the flour mixture.
Cover the dough and chill for 10 minutes. While the dough chills, heat the oven to 375F/190C. Cover a baking sheet with parchment.
Scoop dough with a a small cookie scoop (a small spoon works fine too). Roll the dough into one-inch balls and press the top of each ball (just the top!) in the dipping sugar. Arrange on the baking sheet, leaving two inches between the balls for the cookies to spread. Press balls gently with a fork, twice in criss-cross-fashion.
Bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until just golden, the cookies will look "undone" in the centers but will finish baking on the hot baking sheet out of the oven. Let cool briefly, then transfer to a paper towel or rack to cool completely.
Per small cookie: 57 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 9g Carb; 0g Fiber; 39mg Sodium; 6mg Cholesterol; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 1 & WW PointsPlus 2 (but two cookies are 3 PointsPlus)
Whole batch (easy math for larger cookies) 3796 Calories; 143g Tot Fat; 25g Sat Fat; 578g Carb; 30g Fiber; 2604mg Sodium; 423mg Cholesterol; 59g Protein.
Criss-Cross With a Fork
Roll the cookie dough into one-inch balls, then press the top (just the top) of each ball in sugar. Arrange the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leave two inches between the balls to allow for spreading. With a fork, flatten the balls gently, pressing twice in a criss-cross-fashion.
My Oldest Christmas Cookie Recipes
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