I can't help it, I must bake for the holidays. It's in my DNA. In fact, if you looked at my DNA string, I'll guarantee you that there will be ladders of links to recipes and tiny sticks of butter connecting them twirling about. I've tried to keep the craziness to a minimum. There are no "regulars", no white chocolate cranberry cookies, no toffee (I'm sorry family, tough noogies). I'm only making time for the new stuff, the stuff that's exciting and interesting to experiment with. But believe me, this cookie is a keeper.
I bought these little molds from King Arthur Flour ages ago, and I'm now glad that I did, because it looks like they don't carry them anymore. The closest thing they have now is this, but it's not the same. I found them when I was reorganizing my kitchen last weekend and I set them out, determined to make use of them. A few days ago I said to myself, if I have everything needed to make these, if I don't have to make a grocery store run, these will get made, if not, back in the drawer they go. Lucky for you the recipe, which I also got from KAF, is the simplest thing in the world. Butter? check. Walnuts? check. A little bit of time had to be invested, just because you need to fill each mold individually, but I put on some reruns and got into the rhythm of it. Very therapeutic.
The cookies are tender, buttery, with a wonderful toasted walnut flavor. I didn't use KAF's filling recipe, going with a Nutella spiked ganache instead, but the chocolate filling is really only there to keep the two walnut halves together and to accentuate the walnut flavor, so it doesn't really matter which way you go. I've made this recipe twice now and trust me, it's totally worth it.
Shortbread Walnut Sandwich Cookies
adapted from KAF
The recipe they listed didn't make nearly as many cookies as they said it should have. Maybe I was overly generous when filling the molds, but they came out great, so I'd recommend doubling the recipe, like I did here.
1 cup soft butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup very finely chopped walnuts
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup Nutella
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Get out your molds or a mini madeleine pan; there's no need to grease anything.
- Beat the soft butter, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla until fluffy.
- Stir in the flour, cornstarch, and nuts. Just use a spoon or a sturdy spatula. It comes together quickly and you won't end up covered in flour like you would be if you tried using the mixer. Trust me.
- Shape the dough into a rectangle or square, wrap it in saran wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut the block of dough into squares a bit smaller then 1/2 inch thick. You don't have to, and you may need to adjust the square size, but for me, this made filling the molds faster then pulling off pieces and trying to keep things uniform.
- Press 1 teaspoonful, or a pre-cut square, of chilled dough into the bottom and up the sides of each well in the pan.
- Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, until they're browned around the edges. Cool for a few minutes, then push on the thick edge of each cookie to pop it out of the pan. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- While the cookies are cooling, chop your chocolate into small pieces and put into a medium sized bowl.
- Combine the cream butter and honey in a small pot over high heat and stir until the butter has melted and the mixture comes just barely to a simmer, then pour the whole thing over the chocolate.
- Let the chocolate sit for a few minutes and then stir or whisk the mixture until it's uniform, smooth and yummy looking. Add the Nutella and whisk again to completely incorporate.
- Allow the ganache to sit at room temp for a little while to firm up, then spoon some into a piping bag and pipe a little less then a teaspoonful into half the cookies. Let them sit for a few minutes to partially set up, then sandwich a filled half with an unfilled one. Eat. Repeat.