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Walnut Cocoa Shortbread Cookies

Only one final left for the remainder of my time in physical therapy school!  It’s crazy that it feels so close to the end, yet I have two clinicals left that are three months long each.  So close–yet so far.

To celebrate the end of our classes, the third-year PT students do a “roast” of the faculty, and the teacher that I am impersonating is well-beloved for baking treats for all 60 students when we are nearing exams.  Well…obviously that means I’ll be baking for all 60 students (plus a lot of faculty, too).

Let the Christmas baking commence!

Walnut Cocoa Shortbread Cookies (adapted from A Passion for Chocolate)

  • 1 C butter
  • 2/3 C brown sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3/4 C finely chopped walnuts (plus an additional 1/3 C)
  • 3/4 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 T vegetable shortening

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a medium saucepan combine the butter and the brown sugar over low heat until the butter is melted.

I’m willing to admit that I didn’t read this recipe carefully enough beforehand, and spent a significant amount of time softening the butter directly on my baseboard heaters (still wrapped!).  It’s so cold in my house right now that butter doesn’t soften well on the counter.

Don’t judge me.  It worked perfectly.  Then I realized I just needed to melt it.  Oops.

Remove the butter mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla.  Allow it to cool for 15 minutes, then stir in the egg, flour, cocoa butter, and salt until just combined.

Lastly, add in the 3/4 C of finely chopped walnuts.

The recipe claims that you can immediately roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut it out into shapes.  I had a bit of trouble with this step, as you can see:

Super crumbly dough!  I got sad and was about to toss it when I decided to just roll out one cookie at a time and see if baking it would hold everything together.  Only once I was almost done did I realize (mornings can be a foggy time for me, hence the heater-butter-softening) that if I let the dough rest, it probably would have rolled out just fine.  You can let me know if you do it.

Anyway, baking the tree shapes did make them hold together just beautifully (place them on an ungreased cookie sheet).  Cook them for nine minutes on the middle rack, then allow them to cool on the sheet before moving.

Melt the chocolate chips and shortening together in a small saucepan over low (low!) heat, then dip the edges of the cooled cookies into the chocolate, and then into the remaining finely chopped walnuts.

I also used some sprinkles for a festive flair.

These cookies are seriously delicious.  Buttery and crisp, but also creamy and chocolatey at the same time.

Totally a success.  Plus, the trees are so cute half-decorated, don’t you think?

Perfect with some milk, of course.

Nothin’ like a big platter of Christmas tree cookies to say Happy Holidays!

I’m off to go reprogram our heat (again).  We just can’t seem to get the right numbers–either we’re way too hot or way too cold.  And poor Henry is all pressed up against the heater again (kind of like my butter this morning!).

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.fullmeasureofhappiness.com/2011/12/12/walnut-cocoa-shortbread-cookies/


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  1. Emmy

    Your cookies look great and delicious! And they seem easy to bake. Keep up the good work and Merry Christmas to you, from South-Eastern Europe!

  2. Michelle

    I do those kinds of silly recipe mistakes all the time. They still look stellar, though. I love how you decorated them.

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      thanks :) super easy way to decorate a lot of cookies

  3. Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen

    When you lay out the ingredients like that, i know this cookie has got to be good… and absolutely nothing is wrong with melting the butter near the heater 😉

  4. Simply Tia

    Good luck on the final! And these are beautiful photos. These cookies look tremendously delicious!! Great job!

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