When I first got a copy of Dorie’s Cookies, an excellent cookbook for any cookie-lover, I went through the pages and bookmarked a number of recipes right away. One of the early flags went to a recipe for French Snacklettes, which produces cute chocolate cookies that are ideal for snacking – hence the name. The recipe is so simple that I’ve been playing around with it every since and these Vanilla Macadamia Nut Snacklettes are one of my favorite variations.
The dough for these cookies can be made in the food processor in under a minute. I love any recipe that I can make in my food processor and this is no exception. The shortbread-like dough starts with whole nuts, which are ground together with the rest of the ingredients. The original recipe uses almonds and Dorie points out that grinding the nuts yourself yields cookies with a touch more texture than starting with ground nut meal/almond meal. You can substitute in ground nut meal if you have it, however. Once the dough is together, you can scoop it into rounded teaspoonfuls and press each ball into a small pyramid before baking. The pyramid shape gives the cookies a fun look and creates lots of nice edges that have an extra hint of crispness to them.
The cookies have a wonderful buttery, nutty flavor and the macadamia nuts really come through, thanks to a generous dose of salt in the dough that highlight the nuts. Macadamia nuts are very mild and can be overshadowed by strong ingredients, but here they are complimented by the vanilla, not overpowered by it. The cookies are ready to eat as soon as they have cooled, but they keep very well and can be stored in an airtight container for several days after baking. Feel free to make them a touch smaller if you want a truly bite sized cookie!
Vanilla Macadamia Nut Snacklettes
3/4 cup whole, roasted macadamia nuts (100 grams)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
7 tbsp butter, chilled and cut into 5-6 pieces
2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
Preheat oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine nuts, sugar, salt and flour and pulse until nuts are very finely ground. Add in butter and vanilla extract and pulse until the dough is sandy and begins to form large clumps. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl. Use a teaspoon or cookie scoop to shape the dough (it may be a bit crumbly, but should be moist) into balls about the size of a rounded teaspoon. Shape each ball into a three-sided pyramid on the baking sheet. The cookies will not spread much during baking.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cookies begin to get just a hint of color on the edges. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5-7 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 3 dozen