Monday, January 25, 2010

Black Walnut Cookies - A Little Fussy, But Oh So Good

I love all nuts. I can't think of any kind I don't like, but my favorite is probably the black walnut. When I was at my parents' house over the weekend, Dad had a small recipe booklet on his desk called Southern Appalachian Mountain Cookbook by Ferne Shelton. It was published in 1964, with almost 200 recipes in just 32 pages. I was thumbing through it just before we were leaving when I saw this recipe for Black Walnut Cookies, so I quickly jotted it down.

I was skeptical at first, because the recipe contains no fat (other than what is in the eggs and nuts) and only 1/2 cup of flour. But I was compelled to make them anyway. I'm glad I did, because they are so good! They are thin and crispy, yet chewy inside. They are a little fussy to bake, so I'm recommending these tips:

  • Don't try these without parchment paper, or maybe a Silpat, on your cookie sheet. I really don't think they'd come off any pan, even a non-stick one, without parchment or a Silpat.

  • After combining all the ingredients, let the batter rest for about 10 minutes. It will get lighter and foamier and not spread so much on the cookie sheet. It also seemed to make the cookies easier to remove from the parchment.

  • As with most cookies, don't put the batter on a warm pan. If you have only one or two pans, let them cool between bakings.

  • Finally, keep your eyes on these. One pan came out beautifully at 10 minutes, but the next, also at 10 minutes, were a little over-baked.

Despite the fussiness, they are worth the trouble if you like the flavor of black walnuts.

Black Walnut Cookies

2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups chopped black walnuts

Heat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. (My addition.)

Beat brown sugar and eggs in large bowl until light and fluffy.

Stir together flour, salt and baking powder, then beat into egg mixture.

Stir in black walnuts. Batter will be very thin, like pancake batter. Let batter rest for 10 minutes until light and foamy. (My addition.)

Pour about 1/8th cup of batter (I used a small ice cream/cookie scoop) onto parchment lined cookie sheets, keeping batter 2-3" apart.

Bake at 375°F for 8-12 minutes, depending on your oven, until just lightly browned. Watch these carefully because once they start to brown, they brown very quickly.

Transfer cookies, still on parchment paper, to cooling rack. Let cool completely before removing from parchment (you may have to peel it from the bottom of the cookies.)

Store in an air-tight container.

Makes 3-4 dozen.


A.Marie said...

those look good...I am not a huge fan of black walnuts, but my cousin is! :)

Striving Bean said...

What a nice little treasure that recipe is. I'm guessing Black Walnuts are in abundance in the Southern Appalachian Mountains and that's how they wound up in the cookbook?

Maybe there are so few ingredients because too many ingredients were cost prohibitive? Or maybe butter was too expensive? Interesting. I wonder if the other recipes in this cookbook were light on the ingredients.

Annie Jones said...

A.Marie: Feel free to pass the recipe on to your cousin. :)

SB: I was wondering some of the same things. I can remember having black walnuts in several places we lived when I was a kid here in MO, so I don't think they're especially regional. I was wondering why so many eggs and so little flour, but I suppose if the recipe came from a farm family, they may have had plenty of eggs. Or maybe someone just threw together what they had on hand and it worked. :)

McVal said...

Oh man! I have NO groceries right now and it just blizzarded... Now I'm hungry to make these cookies.
No really... thanks! I know what's on the top of my shopping list for tonight!

slugmama said...

I am soooo making these!.....drool....droooool....

Annie Jones said...

McVal: Hope your snow melts soon! :)

Slugmama: They are so good. I've eaten most of them by myself...LOL!

Anonymous said...

tasty like little thin cakes and the black walnut taste shine through. I would make them smaller - 1 tbsp not 2 next time.