Recipe: Walnut stars
This cookie dough is conveniently made in a food processor, just as you might make pastry dough. The stars have a delicate crunch and lovely earthy-nutty flavour from toasted walnuts. (Using toasted nuts is important, so don’t skip this step!) The chocolate drizzle is icing on the cake . . . I mean cookie.
- 1 cup (about 4 ounces) walnuts
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 8 slices
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 to 2 tablespoons cold water
- 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
Cookie cutters needed: star shapes that measure from about 1¾ to 2½ inches across the “arms”
1 Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a small baking sheet. Toast in the oven for about 8 minutes or just until you start to smell them. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Turn off the oven.
2 Pulse the cooled, toasted walnuts and the granulated sugar in a food processor until the nuts are finely chopped (not quite finely ground). Transfer the mixture to a small bowl.
3 Add the flour, confectioners’ sugar, baking powder, and salt to the food processor. Pulse once to combine. Add the butter and pulse a few times until it’s chopped into tiny bits. Add the walnut mixture and pulse twice to combine. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of water and process just until the dough feels moist when pinched. Add ½ to 1 tablespoon more water, as needed, and pulse a few more times until the dough just starts to clump together. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and gather into a ball. Press into a disk shape, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm enough to roll out, at least 1 hour.
4 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
5 Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a ¼-inch thickness. Use star cutters to stamp out cookies, arranging them about 1½ inch apart on the prepared sheet. Re-roll the scraps. Bake the cookies for 11 to 12 minutes or until light golden. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
6 For the chocolate drizzle: Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe glass measuring cup or bowl in the microwave in 20 to 30-second bursts on medium power, stirring after each interval, until melted and smooth. Let cool at room temperature for a few minutes. Place the cookies close together, but not touching, on racks set over wax paper. Pour the chocolate into a small plastic bag or squeeze bottle. If using a bag, seal it and make a tiny cut in one corner. Working quickly, drizzle the chocolate in a zigzag pattern to make diagonal lines over the stars. Let the chocolate set completely before storing the cookies.
7 Store, layered between sheets of wax paper, in an airtight container for up to one week.
Makes about 36 cookies (depending on the size of the cookie cutters)
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From Christmas Cookies: 50 Recipes to Treasure for the Holiday Season. Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. Copyright © 2008 by Lisa B. Zwirn. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.