This cookie is all about the walnuts. Norwegian Walnut Cookies are loaded with them and liberally dusted with confectioner’s sugar. They’re a perfect pop-in-your-mouth, one-bite cookie!
Here we are with the second cookie in Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas Volume 3. We are sticking with a European, old-world, Christmas theme today with my Norwegian Walnut Cookies. Will tomorrow’s cookie be old school as well? You’ll have to wait and see!
Should you be new here, let me tell you a bit about how this works. This is my third annual Christmas cookie extravaganza. Like the previous two years, I will post a brand new Christmas cookie recipe for 24 consecutive days. Yes, that means Saturdays and Sundays too! For your reference, you can find links to the first two years further down the page.
Fresh off of my 12 Biscotti of Christmas series, I’m excited about this new series. Last year, I also did 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas. Now, who’s ready to get started on today’s cookie with me? Let me ask you again today. Do you have your flour and sugar ready? Is your apron on and your oven preheated? Good! Let’s get to it!
MELT IN YOUR MOUTH COOKIES
If you’re looking for a cookie that melts in your mouth, then you’ve found it! That excess amount of confectioner’s sugar creates the melting feeling, while certainly adding sweetness. Do you know what else it adds? A little sprinkling of sugar dust right down the front of your black shirt! I’m speaking from experience. Don’t pop one of these Norwegian Walnut Cookies in your mouth just before you head out the door, because you forgot to eat breakfast. Just saying.
I’ve come across this particular cookie recipe in various forms over the years. There seems to be so many countries that claim them for their very own. Two years ago, I posted a Russian Tea Cake recipe that’s almost identical to this recipe. Some people also call them Mexican Wedding Cookies or Swedish Heirloom Cookies.
These unique cookies are very easy to make. Not overly sweet, and with the slightest bit of crunch, they are best served with a hot tea or coffee. We had a basket of goodies gifted to us last year and these cookies were in the basket. I had to locate the recipe and include them in my Christmas baking. Please be warned, these are addictive!
The first thing you should do is toast your walnuts. How do you do that? It’s very simple! To be perfectly honest, this applies to any nuts or seeds, not just the walnuts for this recipe. If you are not familiar with toasted nuts, then please try it just once. You will probably never revert to using nuts in your cooking or baking again without toasting them first!
I have tried using non-stick frying pans for toasting, but nothing works as well as a stainless steel pan. You could use a cast iron pan, but since they get very hot and retain heat so well, it’s easier to burn the nuts.
See the frying pan in this picture? That’s the exact one that I use all the time. I’m not suggesting you run out and buy this same cookware set, but I want you to see the pan – remember, do not use non-stick if possible. You’ll get better results will plain stainless steel.
So, unlike most cooking where you’re required to preheat first, you don’t want to apply that same rule to toasting nuts. Add the walnuts to a cold pan. Place the pan on the burner and turn the heat on – no higher than medium and probably even less if using a gas burner.
Keep the nuts moving about. I use a rubber spatula. Once you start to smell that warm and toasty aromatic smell, pay close attention. The nuts will take on a slightly golden colour. Don’t let them get too dark. Once you’re satisfied, immediately remove them from the hot pan and transfer them to a dinner plate where they can be spread out to cool.
HOW TO GET PERFECT GROUND WALNUTS
Now that your walnuts are toasted and completely cooled, it’s time to grind them. You must make sure they are completely cooled before you move on to this step. If the walnuts are warm, they are more likely to become pasty in the food processor. Cooled toasted walnuts have firmed up and the natural oil has once again hardened.
Place the walnuts into a food processor. We do not want walnut flour or walnut butter here! Literally, pulse the walnuts two to three times maximum. What you want is a coarse sand-like consistency with quite visible chunks in it. Don’t worry about the consistency too much. The key here is to keep the walnuts from becoming mushy or moist.
APPLYING CONFECTIONER’S SUGAR TO HOT COOKIES
This step is not rocket science, but it does require a little finesse. I cook and bake a lot, so the heat tolerance in my fingers might be a bit higher. It is important to coat these Norwegian Walnut Cookies very well with confectioner’s sugar while they are hot. Or, at least as hot as you can stand!
Once you take them out of the oven, you’ll want to coat them as quickly as possible. I’m not suggesting you pick up these piping hot cookies! But, you really don’t want them to cool down too much. Here’s how I do it.
I set the baking sheet onto a wire cooling rack. This allows air to flow around the baking sheet entirely. My bowl of confectioner’s sugar is ready and standing by. I wait about a minute and then I start to coat the cookies.
If you are unable to pick them up by hand, use a cookie spatula to transfer the hot cookies from the baking sheet to the bowl of sugar. Work with maybe four or five cookies at a time. Don’t overcrowd the bowl! Toss each cookie well and then transfer them to a wire cooling rack to set.
As soon as you have coated all of the cookies and they are sitting on the cooling rack, you’ll want to dust them with more confectioner’s sugar. There’s no need to pick them up and place them in the bowl again. This time, you can use a sugar dusting can or even a flour sifter. Heavily coat the tops of the cookies before they are cooled.
STORING, PACKAGING, AND FREEZING
If you plan to freeze these cookies, you certainly can! Once they are completely cooled, pile them into a clean, food-safe container. The container must be freezer friendly! You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. (I use these quite often when freezing baked goods.) I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that cookie freshness locked in!
You can freeze these cookies for up to three months. If you plan to give the frozen cookies as a gift, I would lay them out onto a wire cooling rack to thaw. Once thawed, dust liberally again with the confectioner’s sugar. Pile into cellophane bags and tie with a ribbon, or stack in a cookie tin/box.
As I said, every day I will be posting a new recipe. If you miss one, don’t fret. You can find my entire collection of Christmas Recipes right here! There are over 100 Christmas recipes and counting. There’s something for everyone! Cheers!
Norwegian Walnut Cookies
- 85 grams walnuts, toasted and ground (1 cup whole walnuts will yield 85 grams when ground.)
- 125 grams butter, room temperature (1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Using a hand-held mixer, beat the butter until creamy – about 2 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat for 2 more minutes.
- Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the walnuts.
- Lastly, add the flour, and stir into the walnut mixture until well incorporated. Knead the dough until all of the loose bits at the bottom of the bowl have been kneaded in.
- Scoop the dough using a small cookie scoop – about 1 heaping teaspoon. Roll into balls and place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until cookies are a very light golden brown. (Depending on your oven, this might take less time.)
- While the cookies are baking, sift the confectioner's sugar into a shallow bowl.
- Once the cookies come out of the oven, transfer 4 or 5 cookies at a time to the bowl with the confectioner's sugar. Very carefully – they are hot! – roll them around in the sugar. Once fully coated, transfer to a wire cooling rack.
- After all the cookies have been coated, save the confectioner’s sugar. Allow the cookies to cool for 1 hour. Then, re-coat the cookies a second time in the confectioner’s sugar.
- The cookies are now ready to eat. If you are storing the cookies, stack them in layers in a container and top each layer with a dusting of any of the leftover confectioner's sugar.