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Nutty, rich, small — yup, that’s a “delectabite.” These walnut cookies are related to Mexican wedding cakes (often made with pecans) but these are smaller and, well, made with walnuts. They were part of the panoply of Grammy’s Christmas desserts, but fell behind Almond Crescents in the race for tin-space. I don’t actually remember eating them at the holidays.

Delectabites from Baking Family copyright Garside Group LLC

I do, however, like these. They are smaller than other nut cookies. They really are bites. And the hit of vanilla transforms them.

Because these are nothing but nuts, butter and vanilla, here more than ever you have to use the good stuff. Fresh nuts and butter, and real vanilla. Don’t stint. It may also be worth your while to get out the Cuisinart to get the nuts fine enough — depends on how game you are for chopping therapy. If you use the Cuisinart, pulse to chop so you don’t end up with walnut paste.

I could see serving these cookies perched on the edge of a dessert plate laden with fresh fruit of some sort. Or sending a tin of cookies off to the spring bake sale, sure in the knowledge that these cookies will yield both cash for the school and happy customers.

Delectabites from Baking Family and Garside Group LLC

Delectabites

Makes 50 cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • Confectioners’ sugar

In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add vanilla. Gradually add flour and walnuts; mix well. Cover bowl and chill dough for at least 30 minutes and up to a day.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Remove bowl from refrigerator about 15 minutes before you’re ready to work the dough. Pinch off pieces the size of large marbles and roll into balls. Bake cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet until firm but not too brown, about 15 to 17 minutes. Remove pan from oven, transfer cookies to a rack and cool briefly. Put confectioners’ sugar in a small,wide-mouth bowl. Roll each cookie gently in the sugar; when thoroughly cool, roll cookies in sugar again.

(Note: You can skip the first rolling in sugar, but I kind of like the sweet crust that forms. There is very little sugar actually in the dough.)

Photos and recipe copyright 2010 Garside Group LLC.

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