With Autumn, Fall, Harvest and Thanksgiving brewing in the windy leaves these old-fashioned walnut cookies are just what is required, along with a nice hand-warming hot drink, for a tasty vegan snack.
These Old-Fashioned Walnut Cookies are adapted from an Old Hickory Nut Cookie recipe that can be found in the little recipe book Old-Fashioned Cookie Recipes by Bear Wallow Books, Nashville, Indiana .
The texture of walnut cookies are crisp and buttery similar to a chunky Scottish shortbread biscuit but a little softer inside. The walnut filling provides even more buttery crunchiness with the tasty flavours of vanilla and almond.
No eggs or butter are required as these walnut cookies are deliciously all vegan, and just a few everyday pantry ingredients required. Also the walnuts can be replaced with any nut you prefer including chopped mixed nuts.
These walnut cookies were prepared with Lidl [UK] sliced walnuts and Stork a vegan friendly baking margarine. Almond and vanilla essence is also added to these cookies and these can also be found relatively inexpensively from Lidl.
What are hickory nuts?
Hickory nuts are the fruits of hickory trees which are native to North America, although a few other hickory tree species are found in other parts of the world.
One of the most popular hickory trees is the Shagbark tree which produces lots of tasty hickory nuts.
Hickory trees drop their fruits in fall [autumn] and can be wild foraged, or more easily purchased at a grocery store.
Hickory trees are relatives of walnut and pecan trees so in recipes that call for hickory nuts they are a great replacement.
Tree nuts such as hickory nuts, walnuts, and pecans are a great source of healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants so are a valuable addition to our diets.
In the UK, we have the Common walnut tree so do have a look in your area [parks/green spaces/towns/gardens] as you might come up lucky enough to discover one and can forage some tasty wild walnuts for delicious recipes. Of course, if necessary, do ask the landowners permission and don't go into peoples private gardens without permission!
How to prepare vegan old-fashioned walnut cookies
Walnuts are used for this recipe as they are what is readily available on the Scottish island my family reside in. We do have pecans but they are incredibly expensive, and sadly absolutely no access to hickory nuts.
If you are lucky enough to have access to hickory nuts either shop-bought or wild foraged then use those instead. Pecans can also be subbed in.
But of course, use any nut you prefer including the less expensive mixed chopped nuts which would also work just fine.
First, cream the margarine and granulated sugar.
This can be done with a handheld mixer or by hand with a mixing or wooden spoon.
Pour in the vanilla and almond essence, and sprinkle in the salt. Cream everything together.
Add the flour in 2-3 stages and stir it in to the creamed mixture.
Next, stir through the broken walnuts.
Place the cookie dough into the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour.
Divide the dough into 15-16 balls and place onto a baking tray. Press the dough down gently but not too much.
Pop a halved or broken walnut on top of each cookie and bake for 15-18 minutes on the middle shelf.
Once removed from the oven sprinkle demerara sugar over each cookie.
Either leave on the cookie sheet to cool or remove to a wire rack.
Walnut cookies can be stored within an air-tight container for 5-7 days. Wrap in a layer of kitchen foil for additional freshness.
Or freeze for 2-3 months, well wrapped. Defrost, unwrapped, on the countertop.
Any variety of nut you like can be used for cookies either wild foraged or shop-bought.
These cookies are prepared with walnuts which are a substitute for hickory nuts. As walnuts are a relative of hickory nuts the flavour profile is similar so walnuts are a perfect sub. Pecans are also related to walnuts and hickory nuts, so pecans can also be used.
Other nuts that can be used in cookies:
* flaked/whole almonds
* mixed nuts
* mixed chopped nuts
*[this is not a complete list as there are many more nuts that can be used for cookies]*
If you are allergic to nuts or just don't like them, seeds may be a good swap. Try sunflower or pumpkin seeds as they give a good bite and will add a crisp texture to the cookies.
Sesame and poppy seeds are great for baking but for cookies such as chunky walnut cookies we are looking for the creamy crisp texture that nuts provide, so smaller seeds may be better for sprinkling over the cookies before baking.
More tasty vegan cookie [biscuit] recipes
Old School Dinners Chocolate Concrete Cake [chocolate crunch]
These old-fashioned walnut cookies are adapted from an old American Bear Wallow Books recipe for Hickory Nut Cookies.
These Walnut cookies replace the hickory nuts with walnuts, have an extra ¼ cup of sugar, more flour, sub in vegan baking margarine for butter, and have an additional tasty walnut and crunchy sugar topping.
This is a small batch of cookies which bakes 15-16 cookies, so if preferred simply double the quantities for more delicious vegan cookies that are perfect for sharing or gifting. Or even half the quantities if only a few cookies are required.
Old-Fashioned Walnut Cookies
- cookie sheets/baking trays
- parchment paper
- Mixing bowl
- hand held mixer optional, as can just use a mixing spoon
- 205 gram vegan butter [baking margarine]
- 120 gram granulated sugar [or caster sugar]
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence [extract/flavouring]
- 1 teaspoon almond essence [extract/flavouring]
- 245 gram plain flour [all-purpose flour]
- 95 gram walnuts [halved/broken]
- 3 tablespoon walnuts [halved/broken] may need less or more
- 2 tablespoon demerara sugar [or caster/granulated sugar] may need less or more
Prepare the cookie dough
- Add the vegan butter and sugar to a mixing bowl. Using either a hand-held mixer or just a mixing spoon, cream the ingredients together for a minute or so until thoroughly combined.205 gram vegan butter, 120 gram granulated sugar
- Pour in the vanilla and almond essences and tip in the salt. Cream the mixture some more until combined.1 teaspoon vanilla essence, 1 teaspoon almond essence, ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Now just using the mixing spoon, add the flour in 2-3 stages stirring each time until all the flour is incorporated.245 gram plain flour
- Lastly mix through the walnuts.95 gram walnuts
- Place the cookie dough into the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour. This stage can be done 1-2 days in advance.
Bake the cookies
- Preheat the oven to 160 Fan / 180C / 356 Fahrenheit / Gas 4.
- Line a baking/cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Divide the dough into 15-16 cookie balls, using your hands to roll each ball and place onto the cookie sheet. Leave about one inch between each cookie.
- Gently press down the top of each cookie, just a little not too far as these cookies are supposed to be chunky.
- Pop a walnut halve onto each cookie.3 tablespoon walnuts
- Bake on the middle shelf for 15-18 minutes until the cookies have spread a little, are still pale on the top but golden crispy around the edges at the base, the bottom of the cookies will also be golden.
- Sprinkle the cookies with demerara sugar as soon as they are out the oven. Leave on the cookie sheet to cool or after a few minutes transfer to a wire rack.2 tablespoon demerara sugar
- Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not an exact calculation as ingredients vary.
- Walnut cookies can be stored within an airtight container for up to 5-7 days. Wrap in kitchen foil to keep fresher.
- Or freeze for 2-3 months, well wrapped.
- Any broken/halved nuts can substitute the walnuts, including hickory nuts either wild foraged or shop-bought, pecans, hazelnuts, flaked almonds, brazils, mixed chopped nuts, etc.
- This recipe uses halved walnuts sourced from Lidl [UK].
- Stork baking margarine is used as it is labelled vegan, and provides a good buttery taste and texture for these walnut cookies.
- Almond and vanilla essences from Lidl [UK] are less expensive than the main brand versions [correct at date of writing!]
- If you love Scottish shortbread its likely you will also like these chunky walnut cookies.
- For a larger batch of cookies simply double the quantities.
Prepared these chunky old-fashioned Walnut cookies?
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So we can admire your great baking.
Take care, Jacq x