I am constantly awed by the versatility of nuts, especially walnuts. In my desire to create a cookie that was soft in the center and somewhat firm and crisp on the outside, I pureed a hefty measure of walnuts into nut butter and added the creamy nut butter to the cookie batter.
I love the results and just had to share the nutty recipe. The cookies are alive with scrumptious flavor—and my walnutty experiment produced great texture and good looks.
I wanted to create a cholesterol-free recipe. Instead of eggs, I used liquid lecithin as a binding agent and found it worked perfectly. One caution, though, liquid lecithin is a challenge to clean up. It’s the stickiest stuff on earth and doesn’t come off easily in soap and water. I did discover, though, that thoroughly wiping the stuff off the spoon with a napkin before tossing into the soapy dishwater actually did the job.
For an old-fashioned oatmeal cookie with an upbeat style, you can’t beat this easy recipe that introduces a hint of black walnut flavor. With its generous measure of hidden walnuts processed until creamy, the delicious result ought to come with a warning. Something like: “Warning! These cookies may be habit forming!”
WICKED WALNUT COOKIES
Yield: 3 dozen
2 cups raw walnuts
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup well packed brown sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 large)
2/3 cup dairy-free margarine
1 tablespoon liquid lecithin
1 1/4 teaspoons black walnut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 large jellyroll pans with parchment paper. Measure 1/2 cup of the walnuts, break them into small bits, and set aside.
2. In a large bowl combine the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, raisins, soda, and cinnamon and mix well. Break up any brown sugar lumps and make sure the raisins are well coated with flour. Set aside and prepare the wet ingredients.
3. Place the remaining 1 1/2 cups walnuts into the food processor and pulse and process until the walnuts become a creamy walnut butter. Add the bananas, margarine, lecithin, black walnut extract, and vanilla extract and process until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. The batter will become quite firm. Form heaping tablespoons of the batter into 2-inch cookies, placing them about 2 inches apart on the baking pan. Flatten them slightly and press a tiny cluster of the reserved walnut bits into the center of each cookie.
5. Bake for 13 to 16 minutes or until nicely browned on the bottom. Cool about 5 minutes before removing to a dish to cool completely. If the cookies on the top rack need browning, move them to the bottom rack for an extra 2 to 3 minutes.