The first time I made this recipe was a baking revelation for me. It was a few years ago and I was looking for a few unique cookie recipes to try in the Thanksgiving/Christmas time period because we expecting a considerable amount of visitors at my parents house. I was relatively green in the baking realm at this point and I remember poking around some websites and trying to come up with some good recipes to try. I ended up pulling a few from Martha of course, because she has always been a go-to of mine (with a grain of salt).
This recipe came from Martha, and it caught my eye because it was a make ahead dough and the flavors added a good diversity to the recipes I had already picked to make. I was intriuged by the addition of cream cheese to the batter. At this point I only really knew how cream cheese worked in cheesecakes or cream cheese brownies. I was definitely pleasently surprised.
The cookies, which I reently made for the “coffee break” a few weeks ago, are great with a hot beverage because they are kind of plain and crumbly. They function similarly to shortbread but the cream cheese gives them a little bit more moisture than typical shortbread. And I love the addition of the walnuts to add some flavor and crunch. Like I said above, they are a great make ahead dough. You make the dough days or weeks in advance, and form it into logs. When you’re ready to bake them you just slice the logs and bake them off. It’s basically the equvilant of when you buy sugar cookie dough logs from the store to slice and bake, except the dough is home made. So frankly, not only the ingredients, but the method was a revelation for me.
Cream Cheese Walnut Cookies
Yeilds about 50 cookies depending on size (it’s a big batch, feel free to cut it in half), adapted from Martha
- 4 cups AP flour
- 1 1/4 tsp coarse salt
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 6 ounces cream cheese (not whipped), room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 Tbs plus 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups walnut halves (1 1/2 cups toasted and coarsely chopped and 1 cup finely chopped)
- Combine flour with salt and set aside.
- Cream together cream cheese and butter to a uniform whipped consistency with an electric mixer. Add sugar and mix until combined. Then add vanilla.
- Gradually add in flour then fold in the first 1 1/2 cups of chopped walnuts.
- Divide the dough into logs that are as thick as the desired diameter of your cookies. Then wrap them in parchment and plastic and chill overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Roll the chilled logs of dough in the remaining finely chopped walnuts and slice into cookies.
- Bake 18-20 minutes until slightly golden brown. Allow to cool and enjoy!