Black Walnut Season Is Here!

When I was growing up there was a black walnut tree growing in an alley at the end of our property. All that I knew about it was that it dropped messy green golfball-sized seeds everywhere which would stain your hands black if you tried to break them open to get at the nuts inside. Now that I am a grown-up I’ve discovered just how awesome black walnuts are. Despite the fact that they are a pricey due to the difficulty in hulling and their relative scarcity, they are one of my favorite nuts. Their distinctive rich flavor is something that I look forward to each fall.

One of my favorite things to use black walnuts for is cookies, specifically chocolate chunk cookies with sea salt. Here is a recipe that I found a couple years ago and originally posted on my food blog, Shoot To Cook. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Black Walnuts

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Black Walnuts

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped or broken*
1/4 cup chopped black walnuts
1 tsp orange zest or a tablespoon of Grand Marnier
good sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the dry ingredients together. I use a whisk to mix dry ingredients instead of a sifter and that seems to work pretty well (assuming you aren’t trying to sift out big chucks of something). Cream the butter and sugars together, add in the egg and the vanilla and mix. Add the dry ingredient mixture and stir by hand until it just comes together. Add the chocolate, walnuts, and Grand Marnier or orange zest and stir, again, just until combined.

Distribute the dough in mounds on your baking sheet, leaving plenty of room between them – they will flatten out to more than twice their size. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt. Bake for 15-25 minutes depending on the size of your cookies – my large cookies took closer to 25 minutes – turning the tray half way through. Bake until they are evenly brown, crisp on the edges and a little soft in the middle. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on the tray.

*Instead of chopping up my chocolate I put in in a plastic baggie and bash it with a rolling pin. It makes nice even chunks with a lot of chocolate dust that spreads throughout the dough for an added chocolate note to the cookie.

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