Saturday, December 29, 2012

Black Walnut Cookies

I had purchased two packages of black walnuts in preparation for my father-in-law's birthday last August (to make ice cream), and used less than one package. Christmas seemed like a good time to dip into the nut reserve and prepare another gift for him. I looked for cookies using black walnuts and found two recipes that I thougth would make a good holiday gift: one is a drop cookie that sounds good but is probably just a bit more rustic, and the slice-and-bake version that I decided to make was just what I had in mind both for a tasty treat and an attractive accompaniment to a cookie platter. I'm really pleased with my selection, as was Will. These guys are pretty with their flecks of nuts and golden brown color, and are a perfect Christmas cookie with a crispy snap and buttery texture. I said to Will "they would be great if it weren't for that black-walnut taste" because I do find the metallic-y bitterness of American walnuts to be off-putting. But I found it significantly tempered in these cookies as compared to in the ice cream, and didn't seem to have any trouble consuming a fair stack. And since Will and his dad especially enjoy black walnuts, these really were an excellent recipe. They were great on my cookie platter.

Black Walnut Cookiesfrom Taste of Home
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups chopped black walnuts

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in walnuts.
Shape dough into two 15-inch rolls. Wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. (After chilling, dough can be frozen, and sliced/baked without defrosting.)
Unwrap dough; cut into 1/4-in. slices. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 300° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks. Yield: 10 dozen

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