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Walnut Shortbread Cookies

These Walnut Shortbread Cookies are tender, with a crumbly melt-in-your-mouth texture. The dough is dipped in egg white and rolled in walnuts, then baked to perfection. They keep a long time, making them perfect for holidays, but who am I to judge if you want to make them for an afternoon tea, a picnic or a nice event?

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What are these Walnut Shortbread Cookies

I discovered this recipe in an old Romanian cookbook from the 1950s. I was intrigued by its simplicity and the fact that it did not require any special ingredients.

The cookie is basically made from a shortbread dough, dipped in egg white, and rolled in coarsely chopped walnuts. They look like little spiked balls covered in roasted walnuts.

As walnuts are very popular in Eastern Europe, they are used in many recipes, like this one.

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These cookies are very rustic. There is no right or wrong way to make them. The idea is to keep them more or less on the same size, so they bake evenly.

Crumbly but soft, kind of like a shortbread, but more tender, these cookies are a little gem. The technique for these cookies might remind you of the thumbprint cookies, but they are slightly different, as we do not fill them with jam.

There is something interesting about the recipes that are 50-80 years old. Everything ingredient was used entirely, and nothing got wasted.

For example, in this recipe, the egg yolks are used in the cookie dough, while the egg whites are used as glue for the cookies, so the walnuts stick to them.

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What goes into these Walnut Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients for making the cookies110

Unsalted butter– the butter needs to be cold. The coldest, the better.

All-purpose flour– Keep it simple. We do not need rising flour, bread flour, or any type of flour.

Egg yolks– remember what I was telling you? Egg yolks go into the cookie dough, while the egg whites are used as glue for making the walnuts stick to the dough.

Powder sugar – I like using powder sugar in some dessert recipes, like in this one, when mixing the sugar with flour creates a smooth dough that is easy to work with.

Vanilla extract

Zest from a lemon

Ingredients for decorating the cookies

Egg whites– I hope you did not throw them away.

Chopped walnuts– As I told you before, walnuts are the popular choice for these cookies, but feel free to choose pecans instead.

How to make these walnut shortbread cookies

Step 1. Gather the ingredients together. Separate the eggs and set aside the egg whites. We will use them for decorating the cookies. Place together butter, powdered sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, and lemon zest in a bowl.

Step 2. Work the butter into the flour and sugar until you obtain a sandy mixture. Add the egg yolk and mix until you obtain a smooth, nonsticky dough.

Step 3. Shape the dough into a log or a ball, wrap it in foil and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a clean surface.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie dough with parchment paper and set it aside.

Beat the egg whites with a fork. In a different bowl, place the coarsely chopped walnuts.

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Step 4. Take small pieces of dough and shape them into 1 inch balls.

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Step 5. Dip them into the egg whites, then roll them on the chopped walnuts, pressing gently to help the walnuts stick to the cookie.

Place the cookies 1 inch apart on the cookie tray.

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Bake until edges are lightly browned, and cookies are set for about 25 minutes.

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Step 6. Remove the baking tray from the oven and dust the cookies with powdered sugar. Place the cookies on a metal rack to cool.

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Tips for making these Walnut Shortbread Cookies

Can you freeze the dough or the cookies?

Yes, you can freeze the dough for later use. Also, you can freeze the already baked cookies, which is a great opportunity to make these cookies in advance for the holidays. Here is how:
Freezing the dough:
Place the dough wrapped in foil and in a freezer bag in the freezer and use it in up to three months.
When ready to bake the cookies, bring the dough to room temperature and continue with the recipe.
Freezing the already baked cookies:
If you end up with too many cookies or made a batch for later use, freeze them. Place the cookies in a plastic container or ziploc bags and freeze them for up to 30 days. Thaw them until they reach the room temperature or place them in a 350F warm oven for 3-4 minutes to bring them back to life.

Do you have to use walnuts in this recipe?

No, you can use pecans, chopped almonds, pistachios or any nuts you like. I like these cookies with walnuts and this is how the original recipe is made, but you go ahead and make these cookies yours.

Do you have to roast the walnuts before you make the cookies?

No, you don’t need to. The danger on roasting the nuts before baking the cookies is that the walnuts will burn if they are baked twice. Please follow the recipe and your cookies will be delicious.

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Some other recipes to love

Coffee Flavored Sugar Cookies

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

Lemon Lavender Butter Cookies

Almond-Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

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Enjoy!

Yield: 20 cookies

Walnut Shortbread Cookies

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These delicious Walnut Shortbread Cookies are super easy to make and perfect for the holidays or just a Sunday afternoon. The dough is rolled in egg whites and walnuts and baked to perfection.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • Cookie:
  • 1 3/4 cup/14 tablespoons/200g unsalted butter very cold, cubed small
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup/100g powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 cups/250g all purpose flour
  • Decor:
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 7 oz/200g chopped walnuts
  • 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar for dusting the cookies

Instructions

  1. Separate the eggs. Place the egg whites in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Note: We will use the egg yolks for the dough and the egg whites to decorate the cookie.
  3. In a bowl, place together butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest. Work the butter into the flour and sugar until you obtain a sandy mixture. Add the egg yolk and mix until you obtain a smooth, nonsticky dough.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap it in foil and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a clean surface.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie dough with parchment paper and set it aside.
  7. Beat the egg whites with a fork. In a different bowl, place the coarsely chopped walnuts.
  8. Take small pieces of dough and shape them into 1 inch balls. Dip them into the egg whites, then roll them on the chopped walnuts, pressing gently to help the walnuts stick to the cookie.
  9. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on the cookie tray. Bake until edges are lightly browned, and cookies are set for about 25 minutes.
  10. Remove the baking tray from the oven and dust cookies with powdered sugar.
  11. Place the cookies on a metal rack to cool.

Notes

What other nuts can I use for these cookies?

You can use pecans, almonds, or even peanuts.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

20

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 58Total Fat: 121gSaturated Fat: 72gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 43gCholesterol: 329mgSodium: 34mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 5g

Did you make this recipe?

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Katerina | Once a Foodie

Friday 3rd of September 2021

I agree - I love old recipes also, and this one seems so familiar, like something my Polish grandmother would make for Christmas. I've saved it and definitely will give this a go - thanks so much for sharing!

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