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.
Heather @ Sweet Precision says
I do love the idea of making natural food coloring but I can totally see it being a mess! Love the idea of macadamia shortbread cookies too! You’ve also reminded me that we need to get Maya a new ID tag for her collar, so thank you!!
I’m glad my post could serve as a reminder! Have a happy Fourth of July 🙂
chef mimi says
I don’t bake cookies, but these look pretty fabulous!!! You’re very talented!
I didn’t feel very talented after having so many mishaps, so thank you for your kind words! 🙂
Yummy! I love the combination of white chocolate and macadamia nuts! Love the presentation and the photography too!
Thank you! I’m glad these caught your eye 🙂
HomeSweetJones (@HomeSweetJones) says
These look totally worth all the frustration! Yummy!
I also appreciate the heads up on dried berries as natural food coloring. You’ve saved me having to find out the hard way. I guess everything I read on the internet isn’t true… 🙂
I still want to believe that freeze dried fruits can work as food coloring, but when I combined the blueberry powder with melted white chocolate, the color of the powder didn’t really bleed into the chocolate. It just looked like white chocolate with flecks of slate-colored matter. Not quite what I was going for…
Christina @ Bake with Christina says
Mmm those shortbread cookies look super yummy! And I love the star shape that’s perfect for the 4th!! 🙂
Thanks! Have a happy Fourth of July!
June @ How to Philosophize with Cake says
What cute little cookies! Macadamia + white chocolate are perfect together 🙂
Indeed, they are a classic flavor pairing for good reason!
What delicious looking cookies! I enjoyed reading your story as usual, and thank you so much for reminding us about the dangers of fireworks for dogs! Loved the cartoon!
Thank you! Yes, it’s quite sad that the week after July 4th routinely sees a big increase in numbers of lost dogs…just trying to do my part to help spread awareness and keep pets safe 🙂
this reminds me of Christmas… 🙂 yum!
I was just thinking about how easy it would be, with various other shapes and sugar colors, to customize these for different holidays!
Sarah Hartin says
Haha you made me laugh. Wouldn’t it be good if the healthy stuff was always easier? And yeah some people are just full of it I reckon😕 anyway love the recipe!
And therein lies the problem! I’m glad to hear my post provided some amusement – I should have taken photos of all the missteps 😛
These look great! I’d call that a success!!
Thank you! Judging by the end product, I agree 🙂
What a fun a delicious way to celebrate the 4th!
I agree! But then again, there isn’t a day when I’d say no to macadamia cookies… 😛
I love that you included macadamia nuts in this recipe…I feel like macadamia nuts don’t get enough love in the nut world. But yeah, I hear ya on the food coloring. I try to avoid it, but sometimes (ahem, holidays, ahem) I have to pull it out. Good to know about the freeze-dried berries. I’d seen that tip somewhere, too. Clearly it’s bogus!
Thanks! Macadamia nuts are my favorite…unfortunately, they’re not my wallet’s favorite! I’m still super confused about the freeze-dried berries. I’ve still got more than half of the package, so I may try again using a different technique…if at first you don’t succeed, try again, right?
The hungry homemaker says
They look adorable and delicious!
Sweet Tea Sweetie says
Super cute for the 4th of July!
Thanks! Have a great holiday weekend!
Oh, these look scrumptious and very festive! Little story for you – the 4th of July parade goes straight down our street and it is always a bit of a circus. Of course we add to it by having a parade watching party. Two years ago someone let my dog out when they entered the house and she ran halfway down the block chasing another dog until someone alerted me. I about had a heart attack but I did catch her. So yes, best to use caution this weekend. I really want to make these for our little get together if I can get my act together. – Kat
Oh my gosh, I have secondhand fright just reading your story! I’m glad it ended up okay. Let’s hope this weekend won’t involve any dog-related “excitement”!
There now you’ve said what I’ve always thought, some people are full of it 😀 And here I was even thinking of making my own fruit powder! Note to self- abandon plan! 😀 These cookies are so cute!
Thanks! The fruit powder such a tempting idea, isn’t it?! I’ll probably try another method, but I’m not too optimistic at the moment…
Julie is Hostess At Heart says
I had an epic fail this week too. It just bums you out. Wasted time and ingredients. These cookies are so cute and I love that they aren’t drowning in icing. Happy Ff and 4th of July!
It really does bum me out…I always feel a bit silly when I get upset about these sorts of things, but I’m glad I’m not the only one. Let’s hope next week is a better week in the kitchen for both of us! Have a great holiday weekend 🙂
Awh, no! I’ve had so many of those frustrating experiences, but at least we learn from each one, right? I’m convinced I repeat the same mistakes a bunch of times still. Anyway, these cookies look delicious and festive as well. Thanks for sharing, and happy 4th of July! 🙂
Yes, they certainly are learning experience! Thanks, and happy Fourth of July to you too!
These look fab. Happy FF and happy 4th to you. 🙂
Thank you! And to you as well 🙂
They are so cute!
Thank you! I’m glad they caught your eye.
Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen says
These looks so cute – and I love Macadamia nuts. PS: Thanks for the heads up on what didn’t work – I was wondering about the freeze dried berries thing.
Thank you! As much as failed experiments bum me out, I figured by writing about it, I would either A. save other people some time or B. receive some advice on how to improve the results…so far B hasn’t happened, but I’m still hopeful!
These cookies sound so tasty & look so cute! I always feel a little guilty when I use food coloring but now I know it’s the sane way to do it- Thank you!! 😉 It’s okay sometimes- right? Hope you had a wonderful July 4th weekend!
Thanks! I feel a bit weird about it too, but hey, everything in moderation, right? I hope you had a great weekend too!