What to do with All Those Macadamia Nuts

October 2, 2013
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Macadamia nuts

Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog or web site.

I got a lovely hostess gift for yontif with a couple of cans of macadamia nuts in it. Lots of other good stuff but, oh, those macadamia nuts!! So yummy, so delicious, they disappeared with about 30 minutes after being unwrapped (ok, maybe it was a little longer like an hour, but, seriously not much longer than that). Trust me, they are so addictive so be warned if you dare to read further and buy them, you will become a huge fan. Being the foodie sleuth that I am and not really knowing all that much about the scrumptious nuggets of deliciousness I went on a culinary quest to discover exactly where they are grown and how I could get more.

First thing I discovered is that my preconceived notion that macadamia nuts were born and bred on Hawaii’s lovely islands, surprise to me, not so true. While they are now currently one of the islands biggest cash crops the plant is native to Australia and they were imported to the states (they are also grown in California) in the 1800’s and the original purpose was to use the tree for ornamental purposes since they are actually quite beautiful.

I discovered that macadamia nuts are EXPENSIVE for several reasons. First and foremost, the shell is extremely difficult to crack open, so as a consumer, you will find them shelled (raw or roasted, salted or unsalted) but never in the shell. The process  to remove the shell and not damage the nut (actually, it’s a seed but we call it a nut) is extensive and expensive. Packaging and transportation need to be climate controlled because of the nuts high fat content and propensity to spoil. The nuts should be light in color when you buy them, if they are dark or have an “off” smell or taste, pitch them, they’re spoiled. Just remember these nuts, more than any other, can become rancid quickly if they are not stored properly.

Most of the canned varieties that are available are vacuum-packed. This is the best way to buy if you only need to purchase a small amount of macadamia nuts, they  can be shelf stable for up to 4 months this way. You can also refrigerate unopened nuts up to six months or freeze them for up to a year. Once you open your vacuum sealed package, refrigerate them and use them within 6 weeks to 2 months. If you’re buying the nuts in bulk make sure you only take out and toast as much as you need as they don’t store well toasted.

I realized during my macadamia research that I can substitute chopped macadamia nuts for pecans and almonds in just about any recipe. Granted, I’d probably have to rob the Federal Reserve and Fort Knox to do so but it just might be worth the risk of incarnation just to be able to include macadamias in my menu more often.

Nut notes:

  • Macadamia nuts ground into nut butter are delicious as a spread (consistency of peanut butter). I always add a touch of oil and some of honey to make the nut butter a bit smoother and sweeter.
  • To toast: Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spread the macadamia nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet with sides. Bake until golden, about 12 to 14 minutes.

Macadamia and Pineapple Chicken (meat)

4 servings


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast (cut in half)
  • 1½ cups finely chopped macadamia nuts
  • ½ cup toasted bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon Caribbean jerk seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon minced onion
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ½ cup crushed pineapple
  • 2 Tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine
  • Shredded mixed salad greens


  1. Pound the chicken breasts until they are about 1/3 inch thick.
  2. In a shallow bowl beat the eggs, in another bigger bowl combine the nuts, bread crumbs, salt, jerk seasoning, onion, onion and pepper.
  3. Coat the flattened chicken with the beaten egg then coat both sides with the nut mixture. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Cook the chicken for 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked throughout.
  5. In a small microwave bowl, combine the wine, pineapple and apricot preserves. Microwave for 1 minute or just until warm.
  6. Divide the lettuce between 4 plates. Divide the greens between the plates. Top with a cooked chicken breast and drizzle the warm sauce over the top.

Note: You can double the sauce recipe if you like

Submitted by Ron Escarcon NY, NY

Macadamia and Spinach Salad (pareve)

6 to 8 servings


  • ½ lb. bow tie pasta, cooked, drained and chilled
  • 3 cups fresh spinach lightly packed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 cup honey roasted macadamia nuts (or plain if you prefer) coarsely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 avocado pitted, peeled and chopped


  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon curry powder


  1. In a large salad bowls combine the pasta, spinach, celery, macadamia nuts, red pepper, onion and avocado. Toss gently.
  2. In a jar with a tight screw on lid combine the olive oil, lemon juice, sugar, pepper salt and curry powder.
  3. Put on the lid, shake vigorously and then drizzle over the salad. Toss to coat and serve.

My files, source unknown

Macadamia Shortbread Bites (dairy or pareve)

Yields about 2½ dozen cookies


  • 1 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 8 oz. dark chocolate
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • ¼ cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Very slowly and on a low speed add the flour and beat just until incorporated. By hand, mix in the 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts.
  2. Roll the dough into a log and cover it with plastic wrap. As an alternative you can place the dough in a gallon-sized re-sealable plastic bag and, with a rolling pin. roll it out to between 1/4 and 1/2-inch thick. Either way you need to refrigerate the dough for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 300°F (yes this sounds low but it is correct).
  4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Take off the plastic wrap and slice the log into 1/4-1/2 inch slices. If you have the dough in the plastic bag cut away the bag and then cut the dough into squares or rectangles (not too big, I usually make them 1 by 2 inches or just a little bigger)
  5. Place the cookie slices on an ungreased baking sheet, about an inch apart (they will spread) and bake for 20 minutes or until the cookies turn golden around the edges. Do not let get too brown. Remove the cookies immediately from the oven and place them on cooling racks.
  6. After the cookies have cooled to room temperature melt the chocolate with the shortening in the microwave. Dip one end of each cookie into the melted chocolate and then into the remaining chopped macadamia nuts.

This recipe can be doubled but not tripled.

Modified from

Macadamia Fudge Cake (dairy)

8 to 10 servings


  • ½ cup butter , softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup baking cocoa
  • 1½ teaspoons instant coffee
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • 1 cup (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups coarsely chopped macadamia nuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan and set it aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and mix to combine. Add in the sour cream and vanilla and mix to combine.
  3. In a bowl combine flour, cocoa, coffee, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix to combine and then add the flour mixture into the creamed butter mixture and mix to combine but do not over mix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  5. In a sauce pan combine the chocolate chips, cream, sugar, butter and corn syrup and bring to a boil but make sure you stir constantly and don’t let it burn. Reduce heat IMMEDIATELY can cook at a simmer, stirring constantly for 6 or 7 minutes. Remove the frosting from the heat and whisk in the vanilla.
  6. Let the frosting cool for 10 or 15 minutes and then, using a wooden spoon, beat it until its until slightly thickened, approx. 5 minutes. Add in the nuts and mix to combine.
  7. Place cake on a serving plate and spoon the frosting evenly over the cake.

Modified from

Macadamia Sweet Potato Bake (pareve or dairy)

6 to 8 servings


  • 2 (24 oz.) cans sweet potatoes or yams, drained
  • 4 or 5 ripe bananas
  • 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • ½ cup crushed corn flakes
  • ½ cup melted butter or margarine


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl combine the sweet potatoes and bananas with cinnamon and salt.  Mash together to totally combine. Place the mixture in the prepared baking dish.
  3. In a bowl combine the brown sugar, and corn flakes. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the sweet potatoes in the pan. Drizzle the butter or margarine over the top.
  4. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until lightly brown and bubbly.

My files, source unknown

© Eileen Goltz macadamia 13a

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.