Mocha Macadamia Shortbread
3/4 cup (31/2 ounces) salted macadamia nuts
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into half-inch pieces
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
3 tablespoons boiling water
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place the macadamia nuts and sugar in a food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds, or until the mixture resembles a fine meal. Add the vanilla extract and butter. Process just until smooth. Add 11/4 cups of the flour and pulse just until the flour is incorporated. Stir in the remaining cup of flour and process just until the dough starts to form a ball. Briefly knead the dough to fold in any loose crumbs.
Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a log about 8 inches long on a sheet of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Tightly wrap the dough and twist the ends closed. Chill for several hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the chilled dough into 1/3-inch-thick slices and place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake in the center of the oven for about 8 to 9 minutes, or just until set but not brown. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack (careful, they're fragile while they're still warm).
To make glaze, dissolve the coffee in boiling water. Whisk in the melted butter, confectioner's sugar and vanilla, mixing until smooth. Cover the icing with plastic wrap, with the wrap actually touching the surface, until you use the icing.
Glaze the cookies while still warm with mocha icing, using a pastry brush. For less sweet cookies, drizzle the glaze over cookies. Store completed cookies in an airtight container to retain crispness.
Makes 4 dozen.
From Janet K. Keeler, food editor, St. Petersburg Times