Macadamia nut mini-tart cookies

These Hawaiian macadamia nut mini-tarts cookie recipe was one of the winners of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s 2014 Taste Holiday Cookie Contest, which received entries from bakers across Minnesota.

Macadamia nut mini-tart cookies
Ingredients for crust

Macadamia nut mini-tarts3 cups flour, plus extra for rolling dough
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for tart pans
2/3 cup granulated sugar
Dried lemon zest from 1 large lemon (see Note)

Ingredients for topping

10 tbsp. (1 stick plus 2 tbsp.) unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2-1/2 tbsp. heavy cream
3 cups macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped


To prepare crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease tart or mini-muffin pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch and salt, and reserve.

In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, 2/3 cup granulated sugar and lemon peel until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture and mix just until dough is crumbly.

On a lightly floured surface, and using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough to 3/8-inch thickness. Using a 2- or 3-inch biscuit cutter (depending upon the size of mini-muffin pan or mini-tart pan), cut out dough and transfer to prepared pans, pressing into pan and leaving a well in the center (or form dough into a ball, press dough into pans and form desired shape). Prick dough with fork and bake until light brown, about 16 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven and cool cookies in pans for 10 minutes, then turn cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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To prepare topping: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine 10 tablespoons butter, brown sugar and 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. When mixture comes to a boil, cook for 1 additional minute, until mixture thickens and large bubbles begin to form. Remove from heat and stir in cream and nuts. Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons (depending upon pan size) into each tart crust and cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

  • To prepare dried lemon zest, spread the zest of 1 large lemon on wax paper and allow to air-dry overnight (dried lemon zest is also available in the spice aisle at some supermarkets).
  • Other nuts can be used as a substitute for macadamia nuts.

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