Back in about 2004, this recipe completely puzzled me. Af first, the texture wasn't right. But each batch tasted good, so good in fact that I kept trying to figure out what was happening. The trick? Making 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 this 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.
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.
Instead, in my large food processor, 2/3 of a cup of nuts, the quantity for a single batch, turns out a grainy, crumbly mess of nuts, hardly a nut butter. The cookies still taste great but don’t flatten properly.
Luckily, the fix is easy: make a double 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. (Or you might also process a double quantity of nuts but use only half the resulting butter.)
Chilling and baking: 30 minutes
Makes 30 cookies
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 2/3 cup macadamia nuts
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large egg
- 1-1/4 cups flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon sugar (for dipping)
In a food processor, chop the cranberries into small pieces and put aside.
In the same bowl (washing isn’t necessary), make a nut butter by processing nuts until very smooth, think runny peanut butter, about two minutes, scraping bowl once or twice.
In a mixing bowl, combine nut butter and sugars with an electric mixer. Add vanilla and egg and beat well. Add flour, soda, salt and nutmeg and beat at low speed until just combined, then turn in cranberries.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Cover dough and chill for 10 minutes. Cover a baking sheet with parchment.
Roll dough into one-inch balls and press top of each ball in 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 9 minutes or until just golden. Let cool briefly, then transfer to a paper towel or rack to cool completely.
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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