This will be the last of my Hawaii food nostalgia posts for a while. Cook-Kwees Maui cookie company produce wildly popular crisp shortbread cookies. My favourite variety includes coconut and macadamia nuts. I consumed a truly terrifying quantity of these cookies as a child. They were ubiquitous in gift baskets and no meeting that provided coffee was without them. Waiting for your mom to get off work and drive you home after school? No problem, sit in the staff room at her job and eat Cook-Kwees while you do your homework.
I have been missing these cookies, and over the holidays on Maui my mother and I experimented with making a gluten-free version. I’ve mentioned this before, but rice flour has been the secret ingredient for making crisp shortbread since way before anyone wondered if wheat flour was making them sick. My college pal Marya made one such family recipe for shortbread every Christmas and it was (and still is) the best shortbread I’ve ever tasted. So I was pretty confident that we could make a gluten-free coconut and macadamia nut shortbread that would take care of my craving
My mom and I made one batch of shortbread with butter for me, and one batch with coconut oil for my mum, since she can’t eat dairy. The coconut oil ones were better! They were crisper and of course they had a more intense coconut flavour.
If you cannot find macadamia nuts (or cannot bring yourself to spend so much money) blanched almonds are delicious in their place!
COOK-KWEE INSPIRED MACADAMIA AND COCONUT SHORTBREAD
- 1 cup macadamia nuts, divided in half
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup confectioner sugar
- 2/3 cup brown or white rice flour
- 3 Tablespoons potato starch
- 2 Tablespoon tapioca flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- In a food processor or blender, pulse 1/2 cup of the macadamia nuts and granulated sugar until coarsely ground. Add the rice flour and continue processing until it all has a fine texture.
- In another, larger bowl, whisk together the confectioners sugar, potato starch, tapioca starch, baking powder, salt, ground nut mixture and coconut. Add the coconut oil, beating until just combined. Knead with your hands until the dough comes together.
- Divide the dough into fifteen evenly sized lumps. Roll each lump into a smooth ball, placing them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet as you work. Gently press a macadamia nut into each balls so that it flattens a bit into a plump disk. Refrigerate for one hour.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, or until pale golden. Let them cool before eating them, for the full crispy effect!
MORE SHORTBREAD FOR YOU…