As far back as I can remember, we would often have a box or two of Hawaiian Host chocolate-covered macadamia nuts courtesy of a visiting relative or friend of my parents'. It seemed to be the favorite pasalubong (gift from travels) during those times along with cans of salted macadamia, Almond Roca and Violet Crumble (ooohh how we would fight for these!) among a few others. And so for a very long time, that was all I knew of that nut. That it either came salted in a can or covered in delicious milk chocolate, but always from the exotic islands of pineapples and grass skirts.
Of course now I'd like to think that all these years exposed to more types of food from here and beyond have not only helped to expand my waistline (groan) but also my little knowledge of foods somewhat. Like for example, I know now that the macadamia nut is not only native to Hawaii as I ignorantly presumed, but also to Australia, Brazil and some other countries in South Africa and South America.
I found them to be abundant in Beijing, piled high among an assortment of dried fruit and nuts. I wish we had as much variety here and for the same reasonable price. I bought tons of the stuff, some to eat right away and the rest packed away for home. I stuffed myself silly with the sweetest, most delicious chestnuts I had ever tried! As far as the macadamia nuts were concerned, I already knew what I wanted to do with them...these cookies of course! I don't know what it is about white chocolate and macadamia nuts, but they make a good marriage.I found several recipes online which I morphed into this one here. It worked out perfectly. Not too sweet, which is what I was afraid of because the chocolate I used - Ghirardelli white chocolate chips - were not unsweetened. I undercooked them a little to leave it a little gooey and chewy, the way I like my cookies to be. It was a little tricky to shell so many of the nuts in one go, but nowhere near as crazy hard as shelling those pili nuts was! The nice ladies in the market thoughtfully threw in a couple of those 'keys' you use to pry the shell open. All you have to do is slip the key into the crack, they all have 'em, then twist until the shell cracks further.
Now if you can resist popping all of it into your mouth, you can proceed to make these wonderful cookies!
White Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Cookies
adapted from several diff. recipes at allrecipes.com
Can make up to 2 dozen
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white vanilla sugar
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, cream the butter with both sugars until smooth. Then beat in the eggs, slowly. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt before gradually stirring into the creamed mixture. Mix in the nuts and white chocolate. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 minutes or until it starts to turn golden brown.