For as long as I can remember, vanilla nut cookies were our family staple for any major holiday. Both my grandma and mom would modify the recipe a little based on the final shape they were intending, but they always tasted delicious and never lasted too long on the table.I’ve made my own modifications according to my nutritional preferences, including swapping out white flour for whole wheat and experimenting with all the possible types of nuts I could get my hands on (my personal favorites are walnuts, though my husband and son became big fans of peanuts). You can make the cookies in any shape or form, using cookie cutters or forming them by hand. You can also decorate them with dark chocolate, icing or other goodies, but they taste good as plain undecorated cookies too.
The recipe is really very easy and hard to mess up–the worst that can happen is they might be very brittle at first, but after few days they will soften up. And even the pickiest eaters of all ages love them!
Ingredients (yields about 30 cookies)
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup light-brown sugar
1 cup nuts (walnuts, almonds, peanuts or coconut), ground or shredded
2.75 sticks butter, softened
3 medium-sized eggs (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon peel, shredded
1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together all dry ingredients: flour, sugar, nuts and lemon peel.
2. In a large bowl, mix softened butter, eggs and vanilla extract together well.
3. Add dry ingredients gradually to the wet mix and work everything together thoroughly. Once the dough is formed, we recommend that you work it for few minutes with your hands to blend all ingredients together.
3. Put dough on parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
5. Line baking pan with parchment paper.
6. Roll dough flat to about 1/4 thickness and cut desired shapes with cookie cutters and place each one on baking pan, about 0.5 inches apart.
7. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes until cookies start turning gold. Remove from oven and allow to cool for another 20-30 minutes before serving or decorating.
Store cookies in an air-tight container in your fridge. You can also freeze them, and when you’re ready to serve them simply remove from freezer and allow to sit for about 20 minutes at room temperature.