Christmas baking. Those of us who reside in this sunburnt country love nothing more than turning on our ovens in thirty plus degrees heat and ninety plus humidity. If you can’t ‘hack’ it, stay out of the kitchen us hardcore bakers would say. Every year I try a new spin on the classic shortbread and this Yuletide season, I decided it was time for a little bit of Australiana. A dash of ‘yeah mate’, a teaspoon of ‘good on ya’ and a sprinkling of ‘g’day.’
The macadamia nut is indigenous to Australia (sorry Hawaii, it was ours first) with a mild flavour and creamy, buttery texture. These ovoid tree-grown kernels pair beautifully with citrus. I would have loved to used the wonderfully zingy lemon myrtle, another native ingredient but sadly, I hadn’t ordered it in time. Hence, good old lemon rind had to suffice.
By all accounts this is a ‘little ripper’ of a combination and one that I am sure any good ‘sheila or bloke’ would be happy to find in their Christmas stocking. Have a ‘beaut’ Christmas and a ‘bloody’ Happy New Year.
MACADAMIA AND LEMON SHORTBREAD
WHAT YOU NEED
250g butter, room temperature
2 tsps finely grated lemon zest (approx the zest of 2 medium sized lemons)
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 3/4 cups plain gluten free flour (for non gluten-free shortbread use the same amount of plain flour)
1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 tsp fine salt
60g macadamias, very finely chopped
HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat oven to 170C.
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and sift the flours and salt together into a bowl.
Cream the butter, lemon zest and add the sugar gradually (I used a mixer), beating until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Work in the flour gradually until the mixture is just combined.
Add the macadamias and give the mixture another quick mix.
Knead the mixture lightly in the bowl for a few minutes to bring it together.
Divide the dough in half, roll each half out to a 3-4 cm log. Wrap in clingwrap and refrigerate for half an hour to an hour.
Slice the logs into 1-2 cm thickness, depending on your fancy, place 10mm apart on a baking tray and prick each piece all over with a fork.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until crisp and straw-coloured. (Regular shortbread will be quicker to bake, probably only 15-20 minutes.)
Cool down on wire racks. Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 20-25 pieces.
A Cheergerm Adaptation of a Margaret Fulton recipe.
Cooking Notes: Gluten free shortbread can be delicate creatures so please handle carefully when rolling and cutting. When adding the flour to the mixture, I pop a teatowel over the mixer to stop the flour ‘floofling’ (an exact culinary term) all over the joint.