Haupia Topped Macadamia Shortbread
Haupia Topped Macadamia Shortbread

Hello.  My name is Bonnie and I’m a chocoholic.

It was destined to happen – my mother consumed some form of this delectable treat everyday of her pregnancy with me. My fate was being written with each chocolate donut she vowed she wouldn’t eat…but did.

However, once I began writing my food blog, VEGETARIAN COOKING FOR CARNIVORES BLOG, I felt the need to broaden my dessert horizons – not everyone likes chocolate. (It’s a fact – I looked it up!)

So when my amazing friend, Angie Thompson, who writes Peas For Two – Celebrating Cooking For Two, asked me to guest blog, I decided to create a chocolate-free dessert, choosing to incorporate the flavors of Hawai’i, the state in which Angie resides.

I’m no stranger to Polynesian food, having been a Tahitian dancer for many years. (That’s me in a dance competition where I took 1st place.)

tahitian competitionAs with most ethnic groups, food plays a central role in the Polynesian world. The first potluck I went to I was asked to bring haupia, a coconut jello-y pudding. Not realizing there was canned coconut milk, I actually bought coconuts, cracked them open, removed the meat, and made my own coconut milk. It took hours of life threatening work with a hammer and a sharp knife. The haupia was delicious, but definitely not worth the effort. Years later, I saw canned coconut milk in the market. It was a slap-palm-to-forehead moment.

I decided to create an embellished haupia and, in keeping with my portion control doctrine (everyone over 40 knows why), make it in custard cups. One cup = one portion. No nibbling those odd pieces in the pan that “no one else will eat and it’s sinful to waste.” Just to add a little substance, I poured the haupia over macadamia nut shortbread. And, then, because I can never let things alone, I made a mango sauce topping.

The mango sauce was delicious and extremely pretty (see photo), but I confess I prefer Haupia Topped Macadamia Shortbread sprinkled with just some toasted chopped macadamia nuts. Without the scene-stealing mango, the toasted macadamia nut taste bursts forth, complementing the subtle coconut flavor.

Haupia Topped Macadamia Shortbread all gussied up with Mango Sauce.
Haupia Topped Macadamia Shortbread all gussied up with Mango Sauce.

Topped simply with chopped toasted macadamia nuts or perked up with Mango Sauce, Haupia Topped Macadamia Shortbread is an easy, light dessert.  Enjoy!!!

NOTE: It’s important to toast the macadamia nuts – I put the word “toasted” continuously in front of the word “macadamia” to remind you (I’m a mom – it’s what we do!). Toasting brings out the flavor and gives a better crunch. Just make sure you keep an eye on them – they go from lightly browned to black in an instant.


Macadamia Shortbread

  • 3 T macadamia nuts, chopped and toasted (measure and toast after chopping)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 T butter, soft

Put toasted macadamia nuts, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Whirl until nuts are tiny bits. Add in flour, vanilla, and butter. Blend until batter is creamed.

Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit.

Pat dough into into the bottom of 4 ungreased custard cups (or muffin tins). Bake for approximately 15 minutes, until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool in cups on a wire rack.


  • 1  13.5 oz can of coconut milk  OR  put 1/4 cup coconut powder in measuring cup and add warm water to 1 3/4 cup mark
  • 3 T cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • dash salt

Put the cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and mix. Pour in some of the coconut milk and make a smooth paste. Add in the rest of the milk and heat over a medium flame, stirring constantly. Lower the flame a little when it starts to bubble. Continue to stir until the liquid is thickened – about 10 minutes. There will be a kind of burst of steam just before it’s done.

Pour evenly onto the shortbread in custard cups. Let cool, then refrigerate at least 5 hours to set.

Mango Sauce – optional

  • 3/4 cup mango chunks (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp lime zest
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Purée all ingredients together in a blender or food processor. Serve on top of haupia, if desired.

NOTE: If you’re using a muffin tin instead of custard cups, add the Mango Sauce after plating. To remove the Haupia Topped Macadamia Shortbread Cups from the tin, carefully run a dull knife around the edge, working your way to the very bottom to release the shortbread.  Lift out and transfer to plate.


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