Chef Cindy Pawlcyn loves these walnut cookies. They are made with her favorite nut, and paired with luscious dark chocolate.
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
For the Ganache:
- 1 1/4 cup cups heavy cream
- 1/2 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 50 California walnut halves (perfectly shaped-not broken pieces)
- 2-3 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans lined with parchment or Silpat (silicone mat)
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 ounces (about 1 cup) California walnut pieces, finely chopped but not ground
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Set the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
- In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until combined well, then beat in the egg and vanilla. Remove the bowl from the mixer and with a large rubber spatula, stir in the flour and walnuts until mixed well.
- Roll rounded tablespoons of the dough into balls, place them 2-3 inches apart on the prepared pans. Moisten the flat bottom of a water glass and press each cookie to flatten.
- Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until they have spread and are a deep gold around the edges but still pale on top. Slide the parchment or Silpat off the pans onto cooling racks to cool slightly. Remove the cookies from the parchment and let them come to room temperature on cooling racks.
- For the ganache, heat the cream until it just comes to a boil. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and whisk until the mixture is blended and smooth, but do not over mix otherwise the ganache will look grainy. Let the ganache cool and come to room temperature -- it will firm up. This may take 3-4 hours. The ganache may be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Let it come to room temperature and whisk lightly before using.
- Once the cookies and ganache have cooled completely, using two teaspoons or a piping bag, top each cookie with a teaspoon of the ganache. Lay a “perfectly shaped” half walnut piece on top of the ganache for each cookie.
- The cookies may be stored between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a container with a tight-fitting cover.