I discovered the delicious combination of macadamia nuts and passionfruit when a work colleague returned from Hawaii with passionfruit-flavored macadamia nuts. I was determined to create a recipe from these flavors, and Macadamia Thumbprint Cookies with Passionfruit Curd were my first choice.
What is fruit curd?
A fruit curd is a very thick and sweet custard topping, usually flavored with tart fruit like lemon, lime, or orange – or passionfruit. It is most often used as a dessert topping or spread, and although Wikipedia tells me that “curds are not usually eaten on their own”, I have no idea what the words in that sentence mean. And will someone please get me a spoon?
Making passionfruit curd
The passionfruit curd component of this recipe is based on Sweet Tart Passion Fruit Curd from Garlic & Zest. I adapted this recipe for use with frozen passion fruit pulp, but you could use pulp from fresh passionfruit (remove the seeds) if it is available in your area. A medium passionfruit yields about one tablespoon of pulp once the seeds have been removed. You’ll need 8 tablespoons (½ cup) of pulp for this recipe.
Important steps for making passionfruit curd:
- Add the butter gradually, adding about a tablespoon at a time and whisking it in completely.
- Strain the curd with a fine mesh sieve immediately after cooking. You want to remove all the slightly cooked bits of egg that could interrupt the silky smooth texture.
- You’ll have plenty of passionfruit curd left over after filling your cookies. Store it in a tightly-covered jar in the refrigerator, and enjoy it on waffles, cookies, crackers, or a spoon.
Making Macadamia Thumbprint Cookies with Passionfruit Curd
I am more of a cook than a baker. However, I do have a few relatives who are fantastic bakers, and they share their recipes with me. My aunt Donna’s recipe for Thumbprint Cookies is one of the great cookie recipes that I’ve inherited. (Here’s another one.) I would describe them as a softer version of shortbread. I wanted to start with that type of tender base for a cookie.
My mom’s thumbprint cookies were a lot like these, but also included pecans. So I tried the combination of Donna’s recipe with oven-toasted macadamia nuts, and was not disappointed.
And best of all, this dough is a cinch to put together. If you have a KitchenAid stand mixer, it will handle the thick dough with ease. It’s also easy enough to blend with a wooden spoon or spatula.
You really do need to chill it as well. It makes the cookies easier to shape into balls, and will prevent them from spreading out too much when baked.
Toasting macadamia nuts
Are you toasting your nuts before using them in recipes? It really improves their flavor, and that’s what you want in this recipe. Toasting nuts is a process that you have to watch carefully, because over-toasted nuts take on a bitter flavor that you definitely don’t want.
Assembling the cookies
Once you’ve mixed and chilled the cookie dough, and prepared and chilled the passionfruit curd, you’re ready to make Macadamia Thumbprint Cookies with Passionfruit Curd.
Roll the dough into balls, place them on a cookie sheet (line with parchment or a silicone baking mat for no sticking and easy cleanup), and press down gently with your thumb to form an indentation in the cookie. They will hold their shape while baking.
Allow the cookies to cool completely before filling with curd, or it will melt. Bet you can’t guess how I learned this! My delicious mistake.
Storing Macadamia Thumbprint Cookies with Passionfruit Curd
Because the passionfruit curd is soft and sticky, it’s not easy to stack these cookies for storage. You can separate them with waxed paper and not much of the curd will stick. They store well in an airtight container for a few days in the refrigerator.
I hope you enjoy Macadamia Thumbprint Cookies with Passionfruit Curd. These sweet-tart, tropical cookies will be perfect with a tall glass of iced tea this summer. And let me know how you use your extra passionfruit curd. Share your ideas on Instagram, and tag #howdoyoufood.
Macadamia Thumbprint Cookies with Passionfruit Curd
For the Cookies
- 7 oz raw macadamia nuts about 2 cups
- 7 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt Diamond Crystal brand
For the Passionfruit Curd
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup passionfruit puree fresh or frozen
- 7 egg yolks
- 1 pinch salt
- 10 tbsp unsalted butter cut into small chunks
Making the Passionfruit Curd
- In a saucepan, combine granulated sugar, egg yolks, and passionfruit puree, and salt. Begin cooking gently over low to medium heat, whisking constantly.
- Add chunks of butter, one at a time, thoroughly melting each one as you go. Whisk constantly to keep the mixture to keep in moving. (This helps keep the eggs from scrambling.)
- Cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from heat.
- Pass the hot mixture through a fine sieve or cheesecloth to strain out any solid bits.
- Press a layer of plastic wrap onto the top of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Chill completely.
Making the Cookie Dough
- Toast the macadamia nuts: spread nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in a preheated 325 degree F oven for 10-12 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from pan immediately, and cool completely.
- In a food processor or blender, pulse macadamia nuts until finely chopped.
- In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Add remaining ingredients except nuts, and mix until combined.
- Fold in macadamia nuts.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap or place in a tightly-covered container and refrigerate for one hour.
Baking and Assembling the Cookies
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator and divide into 30 equal portions. Roll into balls.
- Place balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. With your thumb, press down lightly into the center of each cookie, leaving a small indentation.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes or until very light golden brown. Remove from baking sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Fill each cooled cookie with about one teaspoon of passionfruit curd.
- Use passionfruit puree or pulp, either fresh or frozen. One fresh passionfruit yields about one tablespoon of pulp.
- You will use about half of this passionfruit curd to fill the cookies. The remaining curd can be used to spread on cookies, toast, or eaten with a spoon. 🙂