Yesterday was a day full of fail. It began when I realized that the Fourth of July is less than a week away and not, as I had somehow convinced myself, a week and a half out. I had bought ingredients to make a patriotic-themed dessert and wanted to be able share it with you, so I put my other plans for the day on hold and started making a mess in the kitchen. And I mean that literally. By the time I was done, there was freeze-dried fruit powder all over the table, colored sugar and smudges of white chocolate everywhere (accompanied by crumpled paper towels from my half-hearted attempts to clean up after myself), both the mixer and the blender had been called into service, and I was up to my elbows in flour.
In my ill-fated yet noble quest to create another naturally-colored Fourth of July dessert, I learned:
- Freeze-dried berries, when crushed into powder, do NOT make a good natural food coloring, contrary to what I have read on the internet. Maybe I didn’t read closely enough. Or maybe some people are just full of it. *2016 update: they do work!*
- Combining melted white chocolate and pureed homemade blueberry sauce yields a gray-ish purple paste that is not conducive to dipping cookies.
- If you dip cookies in white chocolate first and then in blueberry sauce, the blueberry sauce will not harden. This should have been pretty self-evident, but I was naively hopeful.
- I am terrible at frosting things neatly. Help, please?
- There is a reason most sane people just use food dye, colored sugar, or sprinkles in the first place.
Luckily, these white chocolate macadamia shortbread cookies are tasty enough to make up for the frustration that I endured (and that you hopefully should NOT have to endure!). The shortbread’s rich, buttery flavor would be marvelous even by itself, but the bits of macadamia nuts take these cookies to a new level of scrumptious. The white chocolate is just icing on the top (quite literally) – and since shortbread can be a bit plain visually, I like to think that a squiggle of icing and some sprinkles help give the cookies an appearance worthier of their flavor.
I hope you all have a happy Fourth of July! Be sure to keep your pets indoors and wearing proper identification! After all, it’s not just the Fourth of July; it’s also Scare-The-Crap-Out-of-Your-Dog Day.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
- colored sugar or sprinkles
- Cream together the butter and sugars until smooth. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined. Fold in the chopped macadamia nuts.
- Form the dough into a disk (about 6 inches in diameter) and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour, or up to 2 days.
- Once dough is properly chilled, preheat oven to 325. Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters or a knife to cut the dough into cookies, and place on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat (or parchment paper).
- Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the edges are starting to turn slightly golden. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.
- Stir together the white chocolate chips and vegetable oil and heat in the microwave or in a double boiler until melted. Drizzle over the cookies and sprinkle with colored sugar.
- Makes about 65 cookies, depending on the size of the cookie cutter(s) you use. The one I use is about 1 1/2 inches.
- While I often use margarine or dairy-free spreads in place of butter in recipes, I don't recommend doing so in this case, since the flavor of the butter is so prominent in shortbread.