Greek Walnut Cookies are especially delicious a few days after they are made - if they survive that long :)! Very easy to prepare, they are a lovely addition to the holiday dessert table. A whole clove is inserted in each cookie to signify the gift of spices that the three wise men brought to Bethlehem. I love the gentle flavor that the orange flower water adds to this cookie. I freeze at least half the cookies to keep them fresh and also to keep them out of sight.... and off the hips :).
Since they are going to be ground, one can use the cheaper bits and pieces of walnuts rather than the more expensive halves.
Pre-toasting the walnuts bring out their full flavor. Coconut oil may be used instead of the butter substitute if you wish.
3/4 cup Walnuts
1 tsp Orange Zest, finely grated
11/2 cups Unbleached Flour
1 Tbsp Cornstarch
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 cup Confectioner's Sugar
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 cup Vegan Butter Substitute (Earth Balance)
1 Tbsp Orange Juice
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Whole Cloves (optional)
2 Tbsp Orange Flower Water (Optional)
1/2 - 1 cup Confectioner's Sugar to coat the cookies
Spread the walnuts in a pan and toast in 350 degree F oven for about 5-7 minutes. Let cool completely.
Place the toasted nuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to chop them well.
Put in the orange zest and pulse until well mixed.
Add flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, butter substitute, vanilla, juice, and 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar to the nut mixture and process with a few pulses until thoroughly mixed.
Gather the cookie dough onto a cling film sheet and wrap the dough.
Chill the dough (to make it easy to handle) for about 30 minutes.
Form into 1 inch balls or crescents and place on parchment lined cookie sheets. Insert a whole clove in each cookie if you like.
Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 - 18 minutes; when the cookies set and brown slightly, remove from the oven.
Using a small brush or your fingertips, lightly brush the cookies with the orange flower water just enough to flavor them but not soak them.
Let the cookies cool completely.
Place some confectioner's sugar in a wide bowl, place a few cookies on top and sift more of the sugar on them; turn over and gently rub the sugar on each cookie until completely coated.
Place the cookies on a cooling wire rack as they are coated; allow them to cool and dry thoroughly.
Layer the cookies in a tin and sift a little confectioner's sugar over each layer. Separate each layer with a piece of wax or parchment paper.
You may also freeze the cookies in resealable bags for future needs; allow the frozen cookies to come to room temperature without opening the bag.
Greek Walnut Cookies make a lovely light dessert with a cup of Masala or Mint Chai. Enjoy!!