Yield: About 5 dozen cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temp.)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt
1 3/4 cup of flour
1 cup of finely chopped walnuts (or purchase walnut meal)
Powdered sugar or granulated sugar (About 1- 1 1/2 cups for rolling)
**optional: 1 split vanilla bean-
1) Place the walnuts in a food processor or chopper, and chop until the nuts are finely ground. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and salt. Mix in the flour and ground walnuts. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30min., or until dough is firm.
2) Preheat oven to 300F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, break off small sections of the dough, (about the size of a walnut), and roll with your hands, until the dough is about the thickness of your finger. Taper the ends of each cookie- to resemble a crescent shape. Place about an inch apart on a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet.
***I realize it seems logical to do long rolls or logs and cut into sections, but because of the nuts in the dough, it breaks apart more easily. So although time consuming, best to roll one cookie out at a time!
3) Bake the cookies at 300F for about 15-18min., (or until firm to the touch.) You do not want to brown these cookies!! Allow to cool for only 5-10min. Place some powdered or vanilla sugar in a shallow dish, or large ziploc bag. ***If making Vanilla sugar: Split 1 vanilla bean in half, and using a knife, scrape out the insides, add to the sugar, and combine well.
While cookies are still a bit warm, roll them in the sugar, and place them on a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. These cookies improve over time! Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee or tea!