Friday, February 24, 2012

Ginger cookies with macadamia nuts

Crisp and delicious - studded with chewy uncrystallized ginger bits and toasted macadamia nuts, these are a perfect tea time treat. They are a ginger lovers dream and the nutty bits are a pleasant surprise in every bite. I like using macadamia nuts since they have a buttery taste and a crisp light texture which adds to the lightness of the cookies.

One batch of this dough makes a whole load of cookies and they make great gifts. I have mailed them to my friends across the country and they have held well without crumbling - would make a good care package item. Also, since the dough freezes well, you can have fresh cookies as often as you like, but they have a good shelf life and can be stored in an airtight container for over a week without losing its flavor.

Ginger cookies with Macadamia nuts

1 ¼ cups macadamia nuts
14 tablespoons (1 ¾ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 extra-large egg
½ cup dark molasses
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ tablespoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon table salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
½ cup minced un-crystallized ginger 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the macadamia nuts on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned and fragrant about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool. Once cooled chop them coarsely and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Then add the molasses and beat to combine.
  3. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt and white pepper. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until well mixed, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the finely chopped un-crystallized ginger and chopped nuts until evenly distributed.
  4. Lightly flour a work surface. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Form each portion into a rectangular log about 1 inch thick and 2 inches wide. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or for up to 2 days. The dough can also be frozen at this point to be baked later.
  5. Before baking, preheat the oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with Silpat. Using a bread knife, cut each log into slices 1/8 inch thick. Arrange the slices on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1½ inches apart. [These cookies will spread while baking].
  6. Bake until golden for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer to a rack. Let cool.
 Yields about 80 cookies

Note: Recipe adapted from William Sonoma recipe collection

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