12 Days of Christmas Cookies - Day 2

Happy Friday!

You no doubt have noticed, I reverted back to the old template. I did receive a thumbs up with regards to the other one - but it was just too messy for me. Not just the background, but the whole thing was too chaotic for my poor linear brain to handle. But not everything is the same! A little font change here, splash of color there - voila! Change I can handle.

Any festive plans for the weekend? There's a Festival of Lights at the local KOA this weekend that I'd like to take the kiddos to. Shhh! They don't know yet. 

I will also be baking, of course! It's eleven days into the month, and I have yet to make a single batch of the quintessential Christmas cookie. The peanut blossom. I purposely put off procuring the ingredients because of this clean eating challenge. That is one cookie that I can't resist. My sister put a mouth-watering pic of her blossoms on FB last weekend and it's been haunting my dreams since. And today is the last day of the challenge, so tomorrow they can get out of my dreams - and into my belly! 

Today I bring you one of my new favorites: Frosted Walnut Drops. These scrumptious little bites come to you courtesy of the America's Test Kitchen Christmas Cookies Magazine. I came across this magazine two years ago whilst waiting for a Target employee to return from the stock room for something. It's a treasure trove of confections, many of which I have yet to make. But these babies have graced my cookie tray every year since acquiring the magazine. The cookies are sweet and nutty, indulgent yet light. According to the instructions, this makes 30 cookies, measured out with 1 tablespoon. Buwahahaha! It did not. But it DID make 30 cookies measured with the 1/2 tablespoon. So you'll have to probe the depths of your soul to decide: Are you the sort who wants more, yet smaller, cookies? Or do you want fewer, yet bigger, cookies?  


Hello, little ones!


1 3/4 c walnuts, toasted
1 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
10 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/3 c granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c confectioner's sugar


Preheat oven to 350. Position racks in upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Blitz 1 cup of the toasted walnuts, flour & salt in a food processer until finely ground. Add 1/2 cup of walnuts and pulse until finely chopped, about 8 pulses. Beat 8 tablespoons of butter and the sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add yolk and 1/2 tsp vanilla, beat until combined. Lower speed, and add the walnut-flour mixture. Mix the goods until combined.

Using whichever tablespoon size the soul-probe revealed, scoop the batter out, roll into balls, and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake until the edges begin to brown, 16 - 18 minutes. Be sure to switch tray positions halfway through. (A trick I learned here and use with all my cookies now!) Let cookies cool on tray for five minutes, then move to rack.

To make the frosting, beat together the remaining 2 tbs of butter with the cream cheese, the remaining 1/4 tsp of vanilla, and the confectioner's sugar until light and fluffy. Process the remaining 1/4 walnuts until finely ground. Spread the frosting on the cookies then sprinkle on the walnuts. Try not to eat all of them in one sitting! It will be harder than you think...



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