Thin, crisp, and not-too-sweet with a strong hint of cinnamon.
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened ahead of time in a medium-large bowl
- 1/2 cup (half an 8-ounce package) cream cheese, low-fat, softened
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg, large
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 heaping cup California walnuts
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (rounded measure)
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- Semisweet chocolate, melted, for dipping (optional)
- Extra California walnuts, toasted, chopped, for sprinkling
- Cream together the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and brown sugar at high speed with a hand-held electric mixer. When it is light and fluffy, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for another few minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl a few times. Set aside.
- Place the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor, and add 1 cup of the flour. Buzz a few times until the walnuts are ground into the consistency of cornmeal.
- Add the ground walnuts, along with the remaining flour, the salt, and the cinnamon, to the butter-cream cheese mixture, and stir until thoroughly blended.
- Arrange a 12 x 14-inch sheet of parchment paper on a flat surface; set the dough in the middle. Arrange a second sheet of parchment on top. Carefully flatten and roll the dough to an even 1/4-inch; freeze until set.
- Alternatively, divide the dough in half, and place each half on a generous rectangle of plastic wrap, covering it with the wrap as you roll each half into a log about 6 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Finish wrapping each log, and refrigerate or freeze until firm.
- When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375°F. Unwrap the rolled dough and place it on a cutting board. Using a cookie cutter, cut desired shapes from the rolled dough. Alternatively, using a sharp paring knife (dip it into hot water, if you like, for easier slicing), slice logs into thin (1/8 -1/4-inch) cookies. Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom. Cool on a rack.
- Dip the cookies in melted chocolate and sprinkle with extra walnuts.
*Make the dough at least a few hours ahead of time (longer is okay) and store in the refrigerator or freezer. Then preheat the oven, and "roll, slice & bake." You can reduce the calories by using a plant sterol or canola spread in place of the butter, but the results will not be quite as crisp. You can compensate by baking the cookies slightly longer.