Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cream Cheese Walnut Cookies

I love cookies that can be made ahead and kept in the freezer because then you can bake just the amount you want and the remainder stays in the freezer for a later time. I mean..who needs all those cookies hanging around tempting and screaming to be eaten? Just take some out and bake as you need..or want them.
This recipe from Martha Stewart's December 2004 issue of "Living" Magazine was featured as the cookie of the month. The combination of cream cheese and butter makes a light buttery cookie. Walnuts, chopped and added to the dough and the sides adds that wonderful crunch.
If you don't like walnuts, I'm sure pecans or hazelnuts would be a great substitute and if you make these holiday time colored sugar crystals rolled with the nuts would be so pretty and festive.
Because this recipe makes so many cookies and calls for a pound of butter, I halved it. The full recipe says it makes 4 dozen cookies, which would be a good one to remember for holiday cookie exchanges.

Whisk the flour and salt and set aside.
Then cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl til pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Mix in the sugar...

Then the vanilla.
Add the flour mixture and mix til just combined.

Have your nuts chopped and standing by.

Mix in the nuts.

Then place half the dough onto a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper and form each half into a log about 8 1/2" long and 2" in diameter.
Wrap and place in the freezer til firm, about 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 and take the log, one at a time, out of the freezer and roll in the finely chopped nuts.

Then slice into 1/4" thick rounds.

Place on parchemnt lined baking sheets and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or til golden around the edges.

Cream Cheese Walnut Cookies ( from Martha Stewart's "Living" Magazine, Dec. 2004)
Makes 4 dozen cookies
4 cups AP flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 pound, (4 sticks), unsalted butter, softened
6 oz. cream cheese ( not whipped), room temp.
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups walnuts, divided. ( 1 1/2 cups toasted and chopped. 1 cup finely chopped.)
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
1. Whisk flour and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Cream butter and sugar in a mixer bowl til pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
3. Mix in sugar and vanilla.
4. On low speed, add the flour mixture and mix til just combined.( Don't overmix).
5. Mix in 1 1/2 cups toasted chopped walnuts.
6. Divide the dough in half and place each half onto a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper and form into a log about 8 1/2" long and 2" in diameter. Wrap and place logs in the freezer for about 30 minutes, or til firm.
7. Preheat oven to 350 and remove one of the logs from the freezer.
8. Roll the log in 1/2 cup of the finely chopped nuts, then slice into 1/4" rounds and place onto the parchment lined baking sheets.
9. Bake cookies, rotating sheets and switching positions halfway through, til cookies are golden around the edges, about 18 to 20 minutes.
10. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
11. Repeat process with remaining dough.
Wrap remaining dough well and place into a zip lock bag in the freezer if you're not baking right away.

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