Almond & Macadamia Squares

Almond & Macadamia Squares

I was the most excited when a friend of mine got me a kilo of almond butter a couple of weeks ago. One of the best presents anyone can give me is food, in any shape or size, especially when is something I can use for cooking. And when it comes to it, I have two weaknesses, the first one is for "out-of-the-ordinary" ingredients, the second one is for cooking recipes my own way, I secretly enjoy not having all the ingredients, tweaking it and substituting some things for others.  

I found that the easiest way to go about adopting a new ingredient is to use it as a substitute first, this way you learn how it will "behave" and the taste and texture it will give to things. In the case of almond butter, the easiest thing is to use it instead of peanut butter, first cover the basics like in a simple PB&J sandwich, then you can get more adventurous. 

If you have tasted almond butter before and love it, then you should try this recipe. The almond butter not only wins the race against peanut butter when it comes to nutritional value, but it also has a more subtle flavour. These almond and macadamia squares taste their best when fresh from the oven, they are almost like eating caramel, but without being overpoweringly sweet. Chewy, crumbly and incredible nutty, perfect for an afternoon treat. 

Here is what you need to make 16 squares:

  • 70g / 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped 
  • 70g / 1/2 cup macadamia, roughly chopped
  • 260g / 1 cup almond butter
  • 300g / 2 cups royal icing sugar
  • 60g / 4 tbps unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg

Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F. Line a 9x9" baking tin with foil. Place a non-stick pan over a medium heat, add the almonds and macadamia to the hot pan and toast them for 2 minutes or until they start releasing their fragrance and get lightly brown. Remove the pan from the heat, let the nuts cool in a separate bowl. 

In a food processor or blender, combine the almond butter with the icing sugar, butter, baking soda and egg, pulse until everything is well combined but don't over-mix the dough or the fat will separate. Transfer the dough to a medium size bowl and stir in the cooled almonds and macadamia nuts. Press the dough into the prepared tin, make sure is evenly distributed. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is lightly brown and the centre is a bit soft. Transfer the tin to a baking rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Slide the block with the foil onto a work surface. Discard the foil and cut into 16 squares.

These squares can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Alternatively, you could also freeze them for up to 4 weeks, just pop them into the hot oven or toaster for a few minutes for a quick snack.