Begin by cracking and shelling the nuts. This process could take a while, depending on the quantity of nuts you have, and there are several methods you can employ for this purpose. A popular method is to wrap the nuts in a towel (so the shells do not fly about when they break), and hit them with a hammer. However, you can also use tools such as a C-clamp or a nut cracker, or try and weaken the shell by boiling or freezing the nuts.
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Once the nuts have been shelled, spread them out on a tray, and examine them carefully. Pick out and throw away any nuts that have a winkled or mouldy appearance. These are rotten and tend to have a rancid flavour – biting into one of these as you pop macadamia nuts into your mouth can be a pretty unpleasant experience.
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Now that you’ve ensured the nuts are fresh, it’s time to toast them. You may use either an oven or a frying pan for this purpose – either way, make sure the pan or the baking tray is shallow and spread the nuts out in a single layer. Contrary to popular beliefs, the baking tray or frying pan do not need to be greased, nor do the nuts need to be sprinkled with salt – both will ruin the natural flavour of the nuts.
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Next, proceed to cook the nuts. If you’re using an oven, preheat it to roughly 325 degrees, and if you’re using a frying pan, make sure you warm it up gently before tossing the nuts in. Allow the nuts to cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
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Midway through the toasting process, you will need to move the nuts around, to keep them from turning too brown on one side. If you’re using an oven, use a wooden spoon to stir the nuts around on the tray, and if you’re using a frying pan, give it a shake or a flip.
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Once the nuts develop a light golden brown colour, and their scent starts to permeate your kitchen, turn the oven/stove off. Since the pan in which you cooked them is still hot, transfer them immediately onto a fresh tray, on which you can allow them to cool.
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Finally, store the toasted nuts in an airtight container to maintain their crispy crunchiness. Serve them as they are, or add them to breads, cakes, stir-fries and salads.
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