Thursday, September 01, 2005

Coconut Macadamia Shortbread

Source: Martha Stewart's Holiday Cookies (2005)

Makes about 30

1 cup macadamia nuts (about 3 ounces), toasted
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1½ cups sweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
4 tablespoons cream of coconut or unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure coconut extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
½ teaspoon coarse salt
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 325º. Process nuts and 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor until finely ground; set aside. Process 1 cup coconut until coarsely ground; set aside.

2. Put butter, cream of coconut, and remaining ¾ cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in coconut extract. Reduce speed to low. Add flour, salt, nut mixture, and ground coconut; mix until combined.

3. Halve dough. Shape halves into disks, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Let soften before rolling.

4. Roll out each disk on lightly floured parchment to ¼ inch thick. Cover with plastic; refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes.

5. Cut dough into squares using a fluted 2¼-inch square cookie cutter. Reroll scraps; continue cutting out shapes. Space about 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Lightly brush tops with egg white; sprinkle with remaining ½ cup coconut. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire rack. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week.

My notes: These are very, very good. The macadamia nuts do not shine through as much as I had hoped, so next time I would like to try pecans. I think the addition of pecans would make these cookies taste quite like an Italian Cream Cake - delicious! They are surprisingly (and pleasingly) chewy for a shortbread cookie - perhaps the coconut is partly responsible?

We did not roll ours quite thick enough, so they did not take as long to cook. The dough is really easy to work with, so don't be intimidated by the rolling part (we almost skipped this part to make it easier, but I'm glad we didn't).

Mine did not keep their shape very well, so I'd probably try chilling them for longer next time. It might also help to cut them out and then chill them to help them retain their shape better.

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