Eat Local Spotlight: Mac Nuts

plain mac nuts


Buzzin’ About Mac Nuts

A favorite of many of us here in Hawaii, the mighty macadamia nut is the star of savory snacks and sweet treats made by a variety of producers. What makes the macadamia nuts from Hawaii’s Local Buzz stand out from the crowd is not only its unique flavors – garlic Parmesan, sweet and smoky, vanilla crunch, cinnamon bun crunch and more – but also the company’s hands-on approach to growing, harvesting and processing the 100% Hawaiian nuts on its farm on the Big Island of Hawaii.

“We are very much a family operation, with ohana doing everything from deciding on flavors to sorting nuts by hand!” says Jan Au of Hawaii’s Local Buzz. “Nuts are dehydrated, not roasted, which creates a crunchier and crisper nut that tastes very fresh,” explains Au.

Au shares that Macadamia nuts can be used for just about anything – baked goods, savory dishes, salads, cooking oil, nut butter, and shells are even useful as compost. In addition, they are versatile and can have many health benefits when eaten in moderation.

Hawaii’s Local Buzz Macadamia Nuts are great on their own, but here are some other ways to add some nuttiness to your life:

• Crunch Time: Add them to roasted vegetables, salads, oatmeal or even ice cream as a crunchy topping. You’ll add great flavor and the fiber and protein content of the nuts will help keep you full.

• Surprise and Delight: Coarsely grind mac nuts and add to panko to bread chicken, fish or pork. Bake for a wonderfully flavorful nutty version of katsu.

• Switch it up! Macadamia nuts have an unmistakably rich, buttery taste that distinguishes them from other nuts. Replace almonds, walnuts or peanuts with mac nuts in your favorite cookie, bread or candy recipe and take these treats to another level. Swapping works with other dishes too! Try mac nuts instead of pine nuts in pesto or add them to your poke instead of inamona.

2 kinds of mac nuts

Did You Know?
mac nuts close up

Unlike other nuts, macadamia nuts aren’t picked from the tree for harvest—they’re not ready to be eaten until they’ve fallen to the ground. Even lying there, they’re well protected: It takes 300 pounds per square inch of pressure to crack the shells!


mac nut bars

Chocolate Caramel
Mac Nut Bars
Makes 16 bars

These rich, gooey bars feature a buttery “Cinnamon Bun Crunch” mac nut crust and will be eaten up as fast as you can make them!
For the crust:
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup Hawaii’s Local Buzz Cinnamon Bun Crunch macadamia nuts, chopped
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the filling:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon bourbon or dark rum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cup Hawaii’s Local Buzz Nuts in the Nude! macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, making sure there is some overhang (so you can lift out the bars to cut them). Grease the bottom and sides of the pan.
  2. Put the flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, and macadamia nuts in a food processor. Pulse the mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal, then add the cold butter and pulse until it looks sandy, with small, chunky pieces of remaining butter in the mix.
  3. Pat the crust mixture into the pan and bake for 20 minutes, until golden.
  4. While the crust is baking, mix up the filling. Making sure the butter is melted but not hot, combine the ingredients gently.
  5. When the crust is done, pour the filling over the warm crust. Make sure to spread it evenly.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool in the pan for 1 hour. Lift out of the pan and cut into bars.

Did you make this recipe?
Let us know how it turned out for you! Share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #FoodlandEatLocal

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