Siobhan's Czech Walnut Cookies

Siobhan's Czech Walnut Cookies

Holiday traditions are always extra special because they remind us of fond memories of the past that we often share with our loved ones.  These moments we celebrate with each other year after year are woven into the rich family tapestry that is shared from generation to generation.

During the Christmas holidays, Siobhan and her mother would always make Czech Walnut Cookies because that was just what they did for as long as she could remember.    Her mother would direct and supervise while she made the cookie dough.  These cookies take a lot of time and patience, so her mother always encouraged her to finish what she started.  

For Siobhan, these cookies were an annual holiday treat.  However, for her mother, these cookies were actually part of the family’s weekly tradition.  Back then, the family all lived near each other in Great Neck and Queens and would spend all of Sunday together.  They attended church in the morning and ended the day with dinner, poker, and cookies.

The Czech Walnut Cookie recipe and cookie molds have been passed along to four generations of women in Siobhan’s family starting with her great grandmother in the Czech Republic in the early 1900’s.  Back then, the family were all farmers, so the cookie molds represented their farm life.  The shapes included haystacks, chickens, and even a bone that no one would ever want to get for some reason!

Now with the holiday season fast approaching, Siobhan has inherited the cookie molds and recipe from her mother.  And for this special OKT session, she makes her family’s Czech Walnut Cookies on her own for the first time!   (Also see quick recipe)

 


What You'll Need

EQUIPMENT

Madeleine baking sheet may be used as an alternative.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb Cold Unsalted Butter (4 full sticks)
  • 1 lb Ground Walnut
  • 1 lb All Purpose Flour (or  3 1/3 cups)
  • 1 lb Granulated Sugar (or 2 cups)
  • 1 Egg

Let's Get Started

1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.  In large mixing bowl, use the hand mixer to blend the butter until softened.

1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.  In large mixing bowl, use the hand mixer to blend the butter until softened.

2. Add 1 lb of granulated sugar to the butter mixture.

2. Add 1 lb of granulated sugar to the butter mixture.

3. Add in 1 lb. ground walnuts.

3. Add in 1 lb. ground walnuts.

4. Crack 1 egg and add to mixture until well combined.

4. Crack 1 egg and add to mixture until well combined.

5. Siobhan and her mother slowly mix in the flour through a two-step process.  First, add 2 cups all-purpose flour into the bowl and blend.  Once incorporated, add the remainder 1 1/3 cups flour until a soft mealy dough forms.    

5. Siobhan and her mother slowly mix in the flour through a two-step process.  First, add 2 cups all-purpose flour into the bowl and blend.  Once incorporated, add the remainder 1 1/3 cups flour until a soft mealy dough forms.  

 

6. Set the cookie dough aside.

6. Set the cookie dough aside.

7. Lightly oil the cookie molds with the melted butter, using a pastry brush.  

7. Lightly oil the cookie molds with the melted butter, using a pastry brush.  

8. Using your fingers, pinch a small amount of cookie dough and press into a thin layer in the cookie mold.  The bottom and sides of the mold should be covered with a thin layer of dough when you are finished.

8. Using your fingers, pinch a small amount of cookie dough and press into a thin layer in the cookie mold.  The bottom and sides of the mold should be covered with a thin layer of dough when you are finished.

9. Place the cookie molds onto a baking sheet.  Bake in 350°F oven until brown (about 12 minutes).  Remove and let the molds cool completely before continuing. 

9. Place the cookie molds onto a baking sheet.  Bake in 350°F oven until brown (about 12 minutes).  Remove and let the molds cool completely before continuing. 

10. Siobhan says that the first batch is always the worst one  because you are still getting a feel for how much cookie dough to add to the molds.  They get better with each iteration as the oven stabilizes and you correct for the amount of dough to place in the mold.

10. Siobhan says that the first batch is always the worst one  because you are still getting a feel for how much cookie dough to add to the molds.  They get better with each iteration as the oven stabilizes and you correct for the amount of dough to place in the mold.

11. Once the cookies have cooled down, extract the cookie from the mold by gently flicking the back of the mold over a dry towel.  A few taps should release the cookie.

11. Once the cookies have cooled down, extract the cookie from the mold by gently flicking the back of the mold over a dry towel.  A few taps should release the cookie.

PRO-TIP:   Use the back of a spoon if further encouragement is needed.  A perfect cookie should come out clean and whole.  Cracked cookies are part of the process and a delicious treat for all the hard work!  

PRO-TIP:   Use the back of a spoon if further encouragement is needed.  A perfect cookie should come out clean and whole.  Cracked cookies are part of the process and a delicious treat for all the hard work!

 

To plate, arrange cookies on a plate and liberally sift confectioners sugar to your heart's desire.  

To plate, arrange cookies on a plate and liberally sift confectioners sugar to your heart's desire.  

Thanks so much Siobhan!  Here's the 4th generation of Czech Walnut Cookies!    Happy holidays!

Thanks so much Siobhan!  Here's the 4th generation of Czech Walnut Cookies!    Happy holidays!

 

 

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