Thursday, October 3, 2013

Chocolate-Filled Walnut Cookies

Chocolate-Filled Walnut Cookies

Wow.  I thought I'd like these cookies, but I didn't think they would be quite that good.  I've had these walnut cookie molds for four years now, and they sat wrapped in their plastic packaging until this week.  I don't know why it took me so long to try them out.  Of course it's not the molds that make the cookie great, but the recipe.  When filled with chocolate ganache, the flavor is reminiscent of a chocolate chip cookie with walnuts.  As good as that is, I prefer them unfilled because they actually taste close to pecan pie, with that deep brown sugar and nutty flavor.

Shnooky Collage
Top-left: Shnooky with our current cat, Gandalf the Grey. Bottom-left: Shnooky (left) with his big brother, Baby.

Before I go further, I wanted to dedicate this post to my beloved cat Shnooky, whom we lost three weeks ago.  I've been feeling down and a little lost without him, and we'd been together for one-third of my life.  He was as kooky as his name, and he made me laugh a lot.  He was "little buddy" and "sweet pea" to me, and he loved sunbeams and charging squirrels and birds outside the window with his "battle cry."  I even miss him walking all over me, demanding to be fed, as I slept in the mornings.  We feel sad to have lost two cats in two years, but we try to remember them with smiles instead of tears.

Back to the less-sad subject of cookies.  Don't have walnut molds and don't want to buy them?  You don't need to.  After I filled all 50 molds, I used a cookie scoop to make 3 more mounds, and they baked up on the cookie sheet just fine.  I can't tell you about the experience of filling those with ganache, because we ate them first.  Take note, though, that you can't use those cookie scoops (even the "teaspoon-sized" ones) to fill the walnut molds; those will give you too much dough.  Use the teaspoon in your measuring spoon set.  I would have preferred the ease of a spring-loaded scoop.  I also thought I would include these in our Christmas cookie baskets this year, but they appear too fragile to hold up in the mail.  Still, they would make a lovely gift hand-delivered for the holidays.  Or just good for eating on any old afternoon.

Chocolate-Filled Walnut Cookies
Barely adapted from King Arthur Flour

(Visit the original link for volume measurements)

2 ounces walnuts
4 ounces soft butter
2½ ounces light brown sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4¼ ounces unbleached all-purpose flour
½ ounce cornstarch
4 ounces heavy cream
1 tbs light corn syrup
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate, melted

Chop the walnuts very fine with a knife or in the food processor.  In a small pan over low heat (no oil needed), toast the nuts for a few minutes until fragrant.  Do not let them burn.  Set aside.

Beat the soft butter, brown sugar, salt, and extract until fluffy. Stir in the flour, cornstarch, and nuts. Wrap the dough, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Get out your walnut molds. You won't need to grease them.

Press 1 teaspoonful of chilled dough into the bottom and up the sides of each well in the pan. Use the teaspoon in your measuring spoon set; those spring-loaded scoops will give too much dough.

Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, until they're browned around the edges. Let them cool in the molds. With an offset spatula, nudge the cookies on an edge until the pop out.

To make the ganache, heat the cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan just until steaming. Put the chocolate in a bowl, then pour the hot cream over it. Whisk until smooth, then let it cool until it thickens a little.

Flip half of the cookies bottoms-up. Spread some chocolate on the flat surfaces, then top them with another cookie. Give them a few minutes to set up. If you're not eating them the same day, store them in an airtight container without filling them. The filling will soften the cookies, so fill them before serving.

13 comments:

  1. The kitties are so sweet :-))
    Those walnut sandwiches look fabulous!

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    1. Thank you, Angie. I love every one of those cats. And your profile photo, too!

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  2. Sweet little kitties! Reminds me of a bunch that we adopted during my childhood. Just so adorable!!

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  3. Such cute molds. They actually do look like little walnuts:-)

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  4. The cookies, just like your kitties, are super cute! Thanks for sharing the recipe -- it sounds great.

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  5. The cookies, the filling everything looks delicious

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  6. I'm so sorry to hear your loss. Living together for 1/3 of your life is quite long time. My husband cannot go through the separation so he never approves of having a pet (besides we have to travel for a longer period of time). I think it's great to live with a pet, but I never had one so I tend to dream only good things.. Yeah focus on good memories you had... it's tough... Sending you big hugs!

    Meanwhile... you always make delicious baked goods. If I'm your neighbor, my door is open for you anytime! :D

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    1. Thanks, Nami. My mother feels the same way about the separation, and wonders why people would put themselves through it. It's worth it, yet so hard. Oh yes, traveling is always a concern when you have pets, and they get very attached so they're not a good match for frequent travelers.
      I would share with you all the time if you were my neighbor! Plus I'd hopefully get lots of Japanese food in return. ;)

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  7. I'm so sorry about Shnooky. I can't even imagine going through that kind of loss twice in two years. I hope that as time goes on, it gets easier for you to focus on the good memories rather than the loss. He was a beautiful cat--such dreamy eyes!

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    1. Thanks, Kiersten. I loved those eyes, and that little face!

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