Friday, August 22, 2008

a cookie philosophy

I have a particular cookie philosophy that perhaps makes no sense at all. Unlike other baked goods, I don't plan ahead for cookies. I use only what is already in my house. I'm not a fan of rolling cookies out and using cutters. I don't like especially sweet cookies, and I tend to be a purist. There are very few nutless cookies that I love.

Those rules may sound somewhat restrictive, limiting the types of cookies I am willing to bake. I guess that is true, because I make these simple Walnut Crescents far more than any other cookie.

They are perhaps the simplest cookies out there, but their buttery, crumbly, nutty goodness is cookie perfection.

I don't need chunks of stuff, or gooeyness, or icing on top. Butter and nuts. Perfect together.


1 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, plus more for sprinkling
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 sticks cold butter, but into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse the walnuts until finely chopped, but do not overprocess to the point of flour. Add the flour, sugar, salt and vanilla extract and pulse to combine. Add the butter pieces and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment. Break off 1-inch diameter balls of dough and shape into crescents. Bake on the middle oven rack for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on a rack, then dust with confectioner's sugar.

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