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In my former chef life, we made all sorts of cookies, probably by the thousands! These ones
have long been a favourite! Nice and delicate. I especially like to serve them with fresh fruit during the summer when there are lots of berries, peaches, nectarines (tossed with a bit of sugar and rum) and plums about.
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached flour
1 ½ cups finely chopped walnuts (a food processor works
very well for this)
Garnish: Icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Adjust the oven racks so one is on the bottom third & one is in the halfway position. Line 3 rimmed baking sheets with baking parchment.
Using a stand mixer or a hand-held electric mixer, beat the butter until very light. Gradually add the sugar & blend well. Add the vanilla & blend into the butter flour mixture. Combine the flour & the nuts; and mix until well combined. Remove from the mixer bowl & form into 2 balls. You can make the dough the day before, just wrap in plastic wrap & chill. Remove from the fridge a couple of hours before you wish to roll out the dough.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to between ¼ & 1/3” on a lightly floured work surface. Using a cookie cutter of your choice, cut out the cookies & place on the prepared baking sheets; depending on the size of your cookies, you should be able to get 12 to 15 cookies on each baking sheet. Place 1 of the baking sheets in the lower third oven & the other one on the shelf above it. Time the cookies for approximately 12 to 15 minutes, depending on your baking sheets (mine are insulated, so take longer). You are looking for the cookies to be lightly golden brown around the edges, switching baking sheets halfway through the baking process. The cookies could take longer than 15 minutes, don’t worry, just keep setting the timer for 2 or 3 minutes until the cookies are done. Remove from the oven to cooling racks & cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies to another cooling rack & lightly sift icing sugar over them. I sometimes do some with icing sugar & some without.