Wild Black Walnut Cookies are earthy, and somewhat exotic tasting, an Old-Fashioned recipe that has remained in our family for generations.
Walnuts and Wild Black Walnuts
One of the most unusual tasting nuts, and not very often shared in recipes, is the Black Walnut.
There is an almost smoky, definitely earthy flavor to them, and they lend themselves beautifully to the richness of a shortbread type of cookie.
My Swedish grandmother couldn’t cook the way my Syrian mom could, which I am sure was what first snagged my dad, but at Christmas each year, she made these fabulous Black Walnut Cookies I want to share with you.
Old-Fashioned Recipe Memories
Since I was a little girl and only tasted this unusual nut around the holidays, I came to think of it as ‘grandma’s old-fashioned black walnut cookies for special occasions.
Fast forward to my current adult life, in which many of my recipes are Mediterranean inspired, I created a fabulous Black Walnut Date Bread for the holidays that definitely tastes exotic.
Wild Black Walnut Trees
What makes black walnuts wild? Well, unless a nut is a groundnut, like peanuts, they are most often found in trees.
Black walnuts are native to America and grow wild throughout the central and eastern regions.
It just so happens that after living in my home for eight years, which backs up to a wooded area, I just discovered a wild black walnut tree in the woods.
I was so excited, gathered a few from the ground, cracked the outer shell open with a rock, removed the inner black walnut, then discovered the stain from the inner shell would remain on my hand for days!
Later doing proper research, I discovered how to open them and go about using them for my culinary delights.
Cooking With Wild Black Walnuts
Did you know that nuts are not just for sweets or baking recipes?
That’s right! Having grown up in a Mediterranean influenced home, many of the dishes used nuts in place of meats.
Furthermore, nuts were used in meat dishes to contribute to a thicker texture to the broth or gravy of a dish.
For instance, a popular Iranian dish, called Fesenjan, a chicken stew, uses ground walnuts to add texture to the stew.
Black walnuts would make for the perfect exotic tasting nut to use in this dish.
On a lighter note, and definitely American, black walnuts pair perfectly in Autumn’s Fancy Apple Cabbage Bowls.
Toss some leftover turkey in that salad, and you’ve got a complete meal!
Old-Fashioned Black Walnut Cookies
Not sweet like almonds or peanuts, not meaty tasting like regular walnuts, these exotic tasting wild black walnuts make for the most amazing cookies ever.
Made with a shortbread type of recipe, dusted slightly with confection sugar, they aren’t fancy looking but they sure are fancy tasting.
I hope you enjoy this cookie recipe from my Swedish grandmother, one of the few recipes I have from her.
If you love cookies, like I do, you know how much texture, taste and crunch nuts add to cookies.
The oils from the nuts (especially walnut oil), we love to cook with, enable us to use less butter in a cookie, and rely more on the natural oils in nuts.
In fact, experimenting with the oil in nuts, I discovered that the oil in walnuts, particularly, is sufficient enough to burn them as a candle, which I now call these my Walnut Candles!
Walnut Cookies and Other Nuts
Having grown up with a Syrian mom, most of our desserts were made with nuts, and so I am delighted to share some of my favorite cookies with nuts!
- Pistachio and Ouzo Cookies – it doesn’t get more Greek than these
- Guilt-free Almond Cookies – no dairy, no gluten and no processed sugar
- Chestnut Cranberry Linzer Cookies – it doesn’t get more festive than these
- Baklava/Baklawa – while not a cookie, certainly one of the most well known Middle Eastern nut pastry dessert.
- All Purpose Flour
- Wild Black walnuts – ground into flour
- Baking powder
- Vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar
- Food processor
- Baking sheet pan
- Parchment paper
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
Old-Fashioned Wild Black Walnut Cookies
- Food processor
- Baking sheet
- 1 cup Unsalted Butter room temperature
- 1 cup White Sugar
- 1 Egg
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour extra for dusting
- 1 cup Wild Black Walnuts crushed to a powder/flour
- 2 tsp Baking powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 cup Powdered sugar for dusting
- In a large bowl, place butter, sugar and egg. Cream butter mixture with a hand mixer or stand mixer, until light and airy. Add teaspoon vanilla and blend into the mixture.
- In a medium bowl, place the all purpose flour, crushed black walnut flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl and whisk to blend.
- Slowly, on medium speed, add the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, scraping down the sides of bowl until the mixture comes together into a dough ball.
- 2-Ways To Make Cookies
- There are two ways to go about shaping and baking the black walnut cookies. With a small ice cream scoop, make walnut-sized balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet to bake. Or, gather the cookie dough, place on a sheet of plastic wrap, shape into a log, and chill 30-minutes.Once chilled, make half inch slices, and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets to bake.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 and bake cookies until lightly golden brown. Baking time will vary on flat cookies vs round ball cookies, however 13-15 minutes is the average bake time.
- Once cookies have cooled, lightly dust with powdered sugar.