Macadamia Testicle Shortbread
A few years ago, during a road trip across the States, I had the pleasure of staying with an older woman by the name of Henrietta Jolie.
The old clunker I’d bought to make my way across country stalled on me halfway through the middle of nowhere Oklahoma. I waited for hours for another living soul to pass by but I had no such luck.
So, I ended up having to walk miles and miles in search of a gas station or at least something that resembled civilization! Nearly two hours later I saw in the distance, across a grassy plain and tucked between some trees, a small white cottage.
I nearly jumped out of my boots running towards the haven. A young man tending the garden greeted me in the front of the house after getting over the shock of my appearance.
When I’d caught my breath, I relayed to him my ordeal. A hearty laugh ensued followed by a reassuring pat. The young man (Lucas was his name), told me he knew a “thing or two” about fixing cars.
During our conversation, a plump old woman walked out of the house asking where the fresh eggs were. Lucas answered and quickly told the woman my situation.
Her meaty chin disappeared into her neck as she smiled and ushered me inside to “sit a spell and have a bite to eat,” while she called a tow truck. I wasn’t sure how long a “spell” was so I found myself constantly getting up, then sitting back down only moments later.
During one of these leg exercises, Mrs. Jolie ( as I later learned), came from the kitchen carrying a plate with a sandwich on it and another plate filled with looked like square cookies. My stomach churned and I feigned refusal, for politeness sake, but quickly accepted after her second offer.
The desert was actually shortbread. After the first bite, I begged to know the name and how to make it. She laughed a little and turned to look out the window behind me.
Her eyes glazed over as her memory swam backwards. I knew that look…it was a look I was growing accustomed to. It meant “I have a story.”
She told me that when her son, Lucas, was a little boy he had very strict school teacher who was “particular” about words. Every morning Lucas would come home and tell her the new word he’d learned.
“It’s not called a lie mamma, Mrs. Ellis say’s to call it a fib.” “You shouldn’t say nasty mamma, it’s distasteful.” So on and so forth this went for weeks. Then one day, Lucas came home walking funny and complaining about his “testicles” hurting.
“Where in the world did you learn that word boy?” Mrs. Jolie had asked Lucas. Lucas told her that during recess, one of the boys had kicked a ball and hit his “nuts.”
He went over to Mrs. Ellis crying saying his nuts hurt and Mrs. Ellis turned beet red and angrily told him never to say the word “nuts again.”
Mrs. Jolie gave her son some ice to help with the pain, and started cooking dinner forgetting the ordeal. That night at the table, with whole family present and few friends from the neighborhood, Mrs. Jolie brought out her new shortbread recipe.
Filled with Macadamia nuts and topped with whipped cream, the shortbread looked delicious. When Lucas took his first bite he happily exclaimed, “I love Testicles!”
At this point in the story, Mrs. Jolie could no longer keep her composure and laughed loudly me along with her. The proper name of this desert was Macadamia Nut Shortbread but the family called it Macadamia Testicle Shortbread.
For months poor Lucas substituted the word “testicle” for “nuts.” It’s strange how often we use that word.
She gave me the recipe shortly after the story and when the tow truck finally arrived with my car I found out the reason my car had stopped was because it ran out of gas…I’m a testicle…
1 1/2 cups salted dry-roasted macadamia nuts
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 oz bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
Pre-heat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.
Place macadamia nuts in a 4-sided sheet pan and toast in the oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven, but keep the oven on. Allow the nuts to cool slightly and then coarsely chop.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip together butter, sugars, vanilla, and salt until combined well. Stir in flour, nuts, and chocolate and gently stir with a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Gently pat the dough into a 12 by 8 inch rectangle. Score into 20 squares with tip of a knife. Bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool on baking sheet 10 minutes, then carefully cut into squares with a sharp knife while the shortbread is still warm (cookies may crumble a little bit). Transfer to a rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.