Ode to the Walnut! Another wonderful gift found during the fall, nuts! I found this recipe in Chanterelle cookbook as well. I usually like soft chewy cookies, but this recipe was definitely an exception--it was a light, buttery cookie with a slight crunch from the toffee topping. Granted the words light and buttery usually don't belong in the same sentence, a few cookies in the tummy never hurt :)
Ingredients for Walnut Wafers:
- 2 1/2 cups of walnuts
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons brandy
Ingredients for Toffee:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon brandy
To make the walnut shortbread dough, grind 2 cups of walnuts with the cornstarch in either a coffee grinder or food processor to form a flour consistency. (Do not over process the walnuts into a paste, this causes the nuts to release all their oils.) Toss the ground walnut mixture with the flour and salt and set aside. Grind the remaining walnuts to use for garnish until you bake the cookies.
If you are using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment, or an electric hand mixer will be work. Cream the butter for 1 minute. Add the sugar and cream with the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and mix for 1 minute. Add the brandy and beat on medium speed until incorporated. (30 seconds)
Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into two long logs. Wrap the logs in a piece of parchment or wax paper and continue to roll until a near perfect cylindrical shape is achieved, 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm enough to cut slices that will hold their shape. The time will vary on the temperature of your refrigerator. You are also able to freeze this dough for up to a week.
To prepare the toffee, bring the butter, both sugars and corn syrup to a boil in a small heavy bottomed saucepan. Let boil for 1 minute, whisking continuously. Remove from the heat and let cool for 20 minutes. Then slowly whisk in the cream until incorporated, (if you add it to quickly, the mixture will vigorously bubble over, it's preferably 2 tbsp at a time)then finish by whisking in the brandy. Refrigerate until chilled.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Cut the logs into 1/4- to 5/16-inch thick slices. Lay the pieces out on the cookie sheet. Hold each piece with 3 fingers on one hand while making a slight indentation in the center with the index finger of the your other hand. Squeeze or spoon the toffee over the indented area. (If you prefer, adding more toffee will have a ‘praline’ effect on the top and sides of the cookie) Garnish with the ground walnuts that were set aside earlier. Bake until toffee spreads and cookie is a deep golden brown color, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool before sealing in an airtight container. They can keep for 2 to 3 days.
I am still working on many areas of this site so thank you for being patient :). I will continue to update my 'cooking tips' section (there are a lot!) and offer any helpful tips I can think of along the way.