Delicious, Nutritious Macadamias

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - December 10, 2008
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Leeward resident Marleen Rellamas has been with Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts for 20 years and loves her job as the field sales coordinator.

When the Hershey company acquired Mauna Loa, it wanted to evaluate the health benefits of macadamia nuts and sponsored a study conducted at Penn State University. Results showed that including 1.5 ounces of macadamia nuts in your diet each day may lead to an improvement in blood cholesterol levels. The study demonstrated significant improvements in levels of total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and the ratios of TC/HDL-C and LDL-C/HDL-C, all important measures of cardiovascular health, after eating macadamia nuts.

The results of this study are in agreement with previous studies that have reported a reduction in LDL-C following the consumption of macadamia nuts and other nuts. Macadamia nuts are a concentrated source of monoun-saturated fat, which, when eaten regularly, may help displace sources of cholesterol-raising saturated fats in the diet. The data indicate there may be other healthful compounds in macadamia nuts.


 

Mauna Loa macadamia nuts are grown on nearly 10,000 acres of orchards on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. Like all nuts and treats, macadamia nuts should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Here’s one of Marleen’s favorite recipes for MidWeek readers to enjoy.

With the Christmas holiday gaining on us, try chocolate-dipping your favorite cookies to make them festive. There is nothing quite as tempting as a chocolate-dipped cookie. First, you will want to put your chocolate into a heat-proof bowl. Set this on top of a pan of simmering water. Chocolate burns very easily and cannot be melted directly on the stovetop. A microwave oven also works well; just be sure to stir every 15 seconds or so.

While the chocolate is melting, arrange your workspace so that the cookies you wish to dip are on one side of you, and a couple of cookie sheets lined with parchment or waxed paper are on the other side. When the chocolate is mostly melted, remove from heat and stir until smooth. This will melt it the rest of the way, and it will also cool it a bit so you do not burn your hand.

Dip cookies halfway into the chocolate and scrape the excess off the bottom using your finger or the side of the bowl. Then give the cookie a gentle shake and once again scrape the excess chocolate off. This will keep the chocolate from forming a puddle around the cookie while it sets up. Place the cookies onto the waxed paper starting at the farthest end and working inward. This prevents you from dripping onto the finished cookies.

If you like nuts, dip one end of each cookie into ground-up pistachios, walnuts, macadamia nuts or peanuts while the chocolate is still wet. When the first coating has set up, another color of chocolate can be applied. Try dipping one half of each cookie in dark chocolate and the other half in white.

WHITE CHIPS AND MACADAMIA NUT OATMEAL COOKIES

* 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened (I like to use SmartBalance)

* 1/2 cup granulated sugar

* 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

* 1 egg (or two egg whites)

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

* 1/4 teaspoon salt (or omit for low-sodium diets)

* 3/4 cup uncooked rolled oats

* 2 cups (12-ounce package) Hershey’s Premier White Chips

* 1/2 cup MAUNA LOA Macadamia Nut Baking Pieces


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in large bowl until well-blended. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually beat into butter mixture, beating until thoroughly blended. Stir in oats. Stir in white chips and macadamia nuts. (Batter will be very stiff.) Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges of cookies are golden. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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