Fancying a Fancy Cookie

Homemade cookies that looked like they came from a fancy bakery.

You will be after getting a gander at these beauties.

But trust me, they only look fancy as if they came fresh from some chic bakery, where you must have paid a fortune for them.

They’re actually quite easy to make in your home kitchen.

“Walnut Acorn Cookies” is from the new “The Gourmet Cookie Book” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), of which I recently received a review copy. The wonderful book spotlights the best cookie recipe of each year, spanning from 1941 through 2009. for a total of 68 recipes in all.

This particular recipe hails from the December 2000 issue of the new defunct magazine. These buttery cookies with a tender, crumbly texture from finely chopped walnuts in the dough, are formed into an acorn-like shape.

Decorate them with just finely chopped walnuts, if you like.

Although the recipe says it makes 4 dozen cookies, I found it made more like 2 1/2 dozen.

Once baked and cooled, one end of each cookie is dipped into melted chocolate, then finely chopped walnuts for a beautiful presentation. Take care when dipping the cookies; a gentle hand is needed or else they may break.

Instead of walnuts for a few of the cookies, I decorated them instead with nifty Callebaut Pearls, which come in both dark chocolate and white chocolate. These are small, crunchy spheres that resemble individual Rice Krispies coated in chocolate.  Use them to decorate cakes, cupcakes, cookies and donuts.  Though, truth be told, they’re pretty darn tasty just eaten by the handful straight from the bag.

King Arthur Flour, which recently sent me samples of the pearls, sells an 8-ounce bag of the dark chocolate ones for $8.95. Though the company used to sell the white chocolate pearls, it appears from the Web site that this variety is temporarily out of stock. So check back later if those are more your fancy.

Crunchy chocolate pearls.

And the white chocolate version.

After baking a batch, you’re sure to agree that 2000 was a very good year for cookies.

Walnut Acorn Cookies

(Makes about 2 1/2 dozen)

For cookies:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup finely chopped walnuts (4 ounces)

For decoration:

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (2 ounces) or Callebaut Pearls

To make cookies: Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Beat together butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Mix in flour mixture at low speed, then stir in walnuts.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Form 2 teaspoons dough into an egg-like shape the size of an acorn. Make more “acorns,” arranging them 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake in batches in middle of oven until undersides are light brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool.

To decorate cookies: Dip half of each cookie in melted chocolate and then in chopped nuts or chocolate pearls. Place as coated on a baking sheet lined with wax paper to set, about 15 minutes.

Note: Cookies keep, layered between sheets of wax paper, for up to 1 week.

Adapted from “The Gourmet Cookie Book”

More Chocolate: Ad Hoc Chocolate Chip Cookies

More: Peanut Butter Cookies with Milk Chocolate Chunks

More: Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

More: 10-Minute Mocha Pots de Creme

More: Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake

More: Double-Chocolate Honey Bread

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