Walnut Butter Cookies

When I started this blog, I didn't like walnuts. I found them bitter and greasy, which is a terrible combination, and I didn't like the texture, which I deemed less crisp than pecans (an objectively superior nut). And maybe it's the fact that I grew up making visits to my great-great-aunt's house in Forsyth, Georgia, where she would give me a pecan-picker and send me out into the yard to gather as many of the tastiest papershell pecans I've ever tasted, but I always felt like walnuts were the nuts for people who couldn't get their hands on good pecans. Well, friends, I now live in Scotland, where pecans are just as expensive as walnuts and... honestly, only so-so. I've spent my entire adult life swapping pecans and walnuts in any recipe that calls for them, but then I started this blog, and something strange happened.

Sometime around September, when I made this Courgette Walnut Bread, I started to like them. And by the time I made this Orange-Infused Cream Cheese Nut Bread, my opinion was firmly pro-walnut. (This was an exciting development for me, as nearly all of Eleanor's dessert recipes include-- either mandatorily or as a suggestion-- some kind of nuts, most often walnuts.) So I was legitimately excited about these cookies: I mean, they have butter in their name. Plus, they include coffee (I mean, instant, but still).

So I figured these cookies would be incredible-- like a moister, grown-up version of a Pecan Sandy, with just a hint of coffee throughout. But... well, I was wrong.

Part of this may be my fault: the recipe calls for 'instant coffee,' which, to me, means instant coffee powder, because if it was it was meant to be instant coffee dissolved in water, wouldn't you just say 'coffee?' Also, the recipe says to 'sift flour, sugar, salt and coffee,' and since I obviously can't sift liquid coffee, I figured it was powder that would then dissolve when the butter in the cookies melted in the oven. It's possible I was wrong about this, because the instant coffee did nothing but burn. It's also possible that something else went drastically awry here, because there was only supposed to be 2 teaspoons of coffee in the recipe, and even if it was liquid coffee, that was still not enough to moisten the dough enough for it to stick together. (I know this because I tried, after the 'powdered coffee' route ended so badly, to re-do the recipe with liquid coffee. It was equally unsuccessful.)

The dough was too dry, so not only did I have to handle it much more than I should have to get it to stick together (which itself made the cookies tough), but also I couldn't 'flatten' the cookies with a sugar-dipped glass because they were so dry that as soon as I tried to, the balls of dough just kind of exploded all over my cookie sheet.

But I tried to bake these anyway, and then this happened on the first batch:

So I knew it was just not meant to be. I still had some cookies that didn't get dropped, so I tasted them and they were terrible. They somehow managed to be both too tough AND too crumbly, and the instant coffee didn't dissolve at all, so it gave the cookies a weird graininess and a burned flavour because, hello, you're not supposed to cook instant coffee unless there is enough other liquid in the recipe to dissolve it.

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The verdict:

0 spoons out of five. These cookies sucked.

The recipe:

Walnut Butter Cookies

the directions:

Preheat oven to 150C/300F.
Sift together flour, sugar, salt, and coffee in a medium bowl.
Cut in butter with a pastry blender until it is the size of small peas.
Press dough together and shape into small balls.
Roll each ball in walnuts, place 2” apart on a baking sheet, and press flat with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.
Bake 15-20 minutes until edges are slightly brown.

Yields 3 dozen.

the ingredients:

1 ½ c flour
½ c sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp instant coffee
1 c butter
¾ c walnuts, chopped