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|EVERY FEW MINUTES|
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup ground nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, macadamias)
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1-2 teaspoons flavoring (optional - see below)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
We use a food processor for the simplest preparation of this recipe. Cookies may also be mixed by hand or using an electric mixer, in which case, substitute purchased ground nuts or nut flour (almond flour works particularly well), or grind the nuts in a blender. Measure 2/3 cup after the nuts are ground.
Allow 2 sticks of unsalted butter to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before preparation.
Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray or brush lightly with vegetable oil (or wipe with a paper towel).
In the food processor, grind walnuts until fine. (If you are using an electric mixer, use ground nuts or nut flour instead - almond flour works particularly well)
Add flour and sugar to ground nuts and mix. Add butter and mix only until combined. Cover and refrigerate for 30 or more minutes before making so that dough will be more easily handled.
Divide cookie batter dough into 10 pieces.
For each piece of dough, knead briefly in the palm of your hand and roll up into a ball. Place onto cookie sheet and flatten to a four inch circle. The edges may be decorated by pressing the tines of a fork vertically into the sides. Pierce the tops of cookies evenly (using a toothpick or a fork). Next, divide each cookies into 4 wedges by perforating with the fork, making sure not to cut all the way through (do not separate). A few coarsely chopped nuts may be pressed onto the tops of the cookies, if desired.
Bake until cookies are a golden brown along edges (about 20 minutes depending on your oven - watch carefully). Remove to wire rack to cool. Separate cookies while slightly warm. Dust with confectioners sugar. Store, when cooled, in an airtight container.
We have also used pistachio nuts successfully in this recipe. Substitute pure almond extract for the vanilla when using almonds or pistachios. Amaretto may also be used with pistachios. Italian walnut liqueur makes an intiguing combination when used with walnuts or pecans, or try vanilla Kahlua.
Ground sesame seeds (high in calcium!) may be substituted for the ground nuts in this shortbread recipe. Be sure that the sesame seeds are very fresh - they do not keep very long before taking on an off taste. Taste before using to be sure of fresh flavor.
Sweetened dry coconut flakes can also be used in place of the nuts; pair with coconut rum as the flavoring and reduce baking temperature by 25°F degrees.
Nuts are high in vitamins, minerals and proteins and provide a healthful contribution to your snack menu. Almost any type of nut may be used in this recipe (peanuts, walnuts, pecans, macadamia, pistachios, cashews, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, cooked chestnuts, etc.) Taste the cookie dough and adjust flavorings and sweetness according to your preferences before baking. Note that when altering sweetness or adding honey or flavorings, baking characteristics may change; cookies may brown more quickly and may spread out more on the pan. Leave more space on the baking sheet around each cookie and adjust temperature and/or time accordingly (and keep a watchful eye).
FYI: When using liqueurs in baking, most of the alcohol evaporates, leaving only the flavoring behind.
Makes 40 wedge-shaped cookies.
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