Macadamia Shortbread Stars

All I can say is that even when I'm on holidays, I don't know how to relax. In the past few days I've driven 1000 kilometres from Sydney to Brisbane; had lunch with a friend at Spoon Deli; driven to Noosa and back to go on an 8 kilometre hike with a friend followed by a tasty brunch at Bistro C and been to a 5.55 a.m. gym session. I must be crazy!

Here is what Noosa looked like today - yes this is what Christmas looks like in Australia. For all of you who are blanketed in snow, try not to be too envious.

Back to the reason for today's post. I usually make mince pies for Christmas but this year life was too busy. With limited time and lots of baking to do, I decided to make some shortbread cookies instead. I adapted this recipe for Mexican Wedding Cakes, which I found in the Sydney Morning Herald, by using toasted macadamia nuts instead of ground almonds or hazelnuts.

I grew up with a Macadamia Nut Tree in the backyard, planted many years ago by my father. In fact the tree you see in the photos is the very tree. The Macadamia Nut is native to Queensland and was imported to Hawaii more than a century ago. I've always loved macadamias and as children we used to collect the fallen nuts and crack open the tough shells with a brick. It's a lot easier these days to buy them from the market.

The mixture is very soft (in fact I added a few extra tablespoons of flour) and needs to be rolled out between plastic wrap or greaseproof paper. In the spirit of Christmas I decided to cut the cookies into star shapes.

Once out of the oven you need to liberally dust the cookies with icing sugar before cooling and storing in an airtight tin. The cookies are very tasty and the challenge is to stop eating them all before presenting them to your family or work colleagues.

The Macadamia Shortbread Stars were very popular at work and thankfully I had the foresight to save a few to photograph. They were devoured pretty quickly and with none left, I was up at 5.00 a.m. last Saturday whipping up a batch of cookies to take with me to Farmer Andrew.

I've taken lots of photos since I've been home but the time has come to relax a bit and take a break with my family. I'll be back next week when I return to Sydney. I hope you all enjoy the break to celebrate the holiday season with your family and friends.

Until later,



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