I'm very excited about this week's BSI ingredient chosen by Amy over at Coffee Talk...WALNUTS!!! As you've probably noticed, all of my BSI entries thus far have involved baking. I love to bake and realized that I wasn't doing enough of it so this has been a great way for me to get creative with making up my own recipes and experimenting in the kitchen. Walnuts were a tough one for me this week because I really don't cook much with nuts...my hubby HATES cooked nuts in baked goods. Something about the texture. So I never add walnuts to my banana bread or brownies because he won't eat them, which means I would be left with the whole batch to eat all by myself. A feat I am certainly capable of but which is not so helpful in my quest to eat healthier or lose weight.
So this recipe comes from two points of inspiration... 1. How do I incorporate walnuts into a baked good in a way in which Brian will eat the baked good? 2. How can I incorporate some of our leftover Thanksgiving ingredients so that they don't go to waste (buttermilk and fresh cranberries)?
The solution? Cranberry Walnut Sandies!!!
Whenever I have buttermilk in the fridge that is needing to be used I think of a wonderful scone recipe that a friend gave me a long time ago. Her scones are wonderfully fluffy, unlike most dry, hard scones you find in stores. I decided to start with her recipe, but to substitute the all-purpose flour for white whole wheat flour, and substitute some of the total amount of flour for some ground up walnuts. I was hoping that the ground walnuts would give the scones a wal-nutty taste without the big chunks of baked nuts that my husband despises so much. I added turbinado sugar in place of refined, and threw in the leftover fresh cranberries I had in the fridge.
I was surprised when I got everything all mixed together and the result resembled cookie dough rather than scone or bread dough like I thought it would. Because of this unexpected twist, the recipe quickly turned into a cookie recipe rather than a scone recipe. Warning: this is not one of my healthier recipes... :)
Cranberry Walnut Sandies
makes 18 cookies
calories: 252 fat: 15.4g sat. fat: 5.8g carbs: 26g fiber: 3g sugar: 13.2g protein: 4.8g
- 3/4 cup buttermillk
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1-1/2 cups walnut halves and pieces
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 8 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2/3 cup turbinado sugar
- 1 cup whole fresh cranberries, chopped finely in processor
- 4 oz baking chocolate, broken into small pieces
- Preheat oven to 375*.
- Spread walnut halves on ungreased baking sheet and place in oven to toast for about 10 minutes or until fragrant. Stir once at about 5 minutes.
- Pull walnut halves from oven and grind to fine flour in food processor or blender.
- Mix WWW flour with ground walnuts, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
- Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or rub in with your fingers until the mixture resembles course bread crumbs.
- Add sugar, chopped cranberries and chocolate pieces.
- In separate bowl, mix together buttermilk, egg and extract until smooth. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and fold together until well blended.
- Place golf ball sized drops of dough on greased cookie sheet. Press each dough ball down to flatten slightly.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
I am so happy with the result, especially since I really wasn't sure what to expect. The cookies came out perfectly crunchy on the outside and wonderfully moist on the inside. The walnut flavor in the dough is fantastic...I was worried that it might be overpowering but it is not at all. Because the cranberries are chopped so finely they add more of a sweetness to the cookie than a tartness. And the ultimate test...Brian LOVED them!
I love the little red cranberry specs in them. I will definitely be making these again...probably as a holiday cookie this Christmas. I'd like to try them out as smaller, bite-size drop cookies to increase their crunch a bit.
A quick dinner recap for last night...
Dinner: Leftovers!!! (thankfully the last of them) along with a new batch of roasted veggies. We had none leftover after Thanksgiving!!! But luckily we hadn't roasted all the veggies we had in the fridge, so I was able to do another batch of them last night.
- brussels sprouts
- mashed sweet potatoes
- mashed russet potatoes and celery root
- cornbread pudding
And two glasses of wine, one while cooking/eating and one while movie watching.
And, 1/2 a cookie for dessert. Bri took the other 1/2...
Busy day ahead... Christmas decorating (didn't get to it last night what with all the movie watching...), yoga!!!, more baking, cooking a few things to get a head start on the week, maybe spin.... I'll report back later!
Enjoy your Sunday!