Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Heirloom Walnut Icebox Cookies

Heirloom Walnut Icebox Cookies
Source: Maida Heatter's Brand-New Book of Great Cookies (Random House, 1995 ed.), pg. 158.

These crisp crackers have a spicy flavor and would be a good choice for holiday baking. They reminded me of the Pfeffernusse cookies I made at Christmas. They can be frozen and sliced and baked whenever you need a quick dessert.

When I started these, I realized that I didn't have allspice. You can easily mix your own. Just mix 2 parts cinnamon, 1 part nutmeg and 1 part cloves or if you prefer less of a cinnamon flavor, do equal parts of each.

8 oz. (generous 2 cups) walnuts (chopped)
2 1/4 cups sifted unbleached flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter (softened)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2 TBS. milk

Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Set aside.
Beat the butter to soften.
Add both sugars and beat until mixed.
Add the egg.
Add the milk.
On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until mixed.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and mix in the nuts with a large wooden spoon.

Spread out a piece of wax paper about 20 inches long. Spoon out the dough to make a thick strip about 12 inches long.

Bring the long sides of the paper together over the top of the dough and press to shape into an even loaf about 12 inches long, 3 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches high with squared ends. Press to make the loaf smooth. Transfer to the freezer for about 3 hours or longer. If you plan to store these for a longer period of time, wrap them again in aluminum foil.

When ready to bake, unwrap the dough. Preheat the oven to 375. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Use a sharp knife to cut the frozen dough into 1/4 inch slices.

Place the slices on the lined cookie sheets.

Bake for about 8-10 minutes until the cookies are nicely browned and spring back when gently pressed with your fingertip. Transfer to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.


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