I’m obsessed with these walnut shortbread cookies. They’re toasty, buttery, crumbly and just sweet enough to feel like a treat. I fill them with finely chopped bittersweet chocolate and deeply toasted walnuts to give them a nutty, bitter edge and then I highlight that bitterness with a mocha drizzle.
I love flaky salt on all cookies, and I couldn’t help myself here. It pulls out the flavors, balances the chocolate and adds an addictive salty crunch. You can skip the salt and the mocha drizzle for a simpler walnut shortbread, or even dunk half the cookie in the melted chocolate for a more decadent treat.
These walnut shortbread cookies make a delicious addition to a Christmas cookie platter. They travel well, look beautiful, and they’re a total crowd pleaser.
Read on to learn two different ways to shape these walnut shortbread cookies: a simple slice and bake, and a slightly more time consuming cut out technique that I learned from Dorie Greenspan. The latter will give you perfectly round shortbread cookies, every time.
what’s the best way to toast walnuts?
The best way to toast nuts is in the oven. Toasting walnuts on the stovetop feels easier and faster, but it’s not the best approach. On the stove, the nuts are more prone to burning on the surface while the inside of the nut won’t be fully toasted.
To toast in the oven, lay the walnuts out in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake at 325°F for 6- 8 minutes. The walnuts will begin to brown on the edges and smell fragrant and nutty when they’re ready. Nuts will continue to toast on the hot pan when you take them out, so transfer them to a bowl or cutting board to avoid burning.
The oven will give you evenly toasted, deeply fragrant nuts and it’s just as quick as the stove!
how to get perfect chocolate drizzles:
Use a piping bag for the prettiest and most even chocolate drizzles. I prefer to use a #2 round tip for fine, thin lines of chocolate. Scoop the melted chocolate into your piping bag, twist the top and do a few test runs on a scrap of parchment.
When you’re ready, zig-zag the chocolate over the surface of the cookies. I like to do all of the cookies at once. It’s easier to find a rhythm and knock them all out, rather than starting and stopping for each cookie. The more you decorate, the more confident you’ll feel– and luckily you’ll have about 3 dozen walnut shortbread cookies to practice on!
If you’re in a hurry or simply want a low hassle way to drizzle chocolate on the cookies, use a spoon or fork and let the chocolate fall across the cookie.
two ways to shape these walnut shortbread cookies
For a quick, easy, slice and bake walnut shortbread cookies:
- shape the dough into a 2-inch thick log and wrap in plastic
- chill until very firm
- slice into 1/4-inch thick cookies
- arrange on parchment paper and refrigerate or freeze sliced cookies until ready to bake
- bake on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet
For perfectly round walnut shortbread cookies:
- shape dough into two 1-inch thick disks and wrap in plastic
- chill until very firm
- roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick slab and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes
- use a 2-inch cookie cutter to cut out cookies (re-roll and chill scraps as needed)
- arrange on parchment paper and refrigerate or freeze cut out cookies until ready to bake
- bake in the cups of a muffin tin to retain shape
walnut shortbread cookies with mocha drizzle
These walnut shortbread cookies are toasty, nutty, buttery and crumbly. They’re filled with bittersweet chocolate, toasted walnuts and drizzled with melted mocha chocolate.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: about 40 cookies
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate chips (about 2/3 cup), chopped
- 1 tbsp finely ground instant espresso powder (see note below)
walnut shortbread cookies
- 1 cup walnut halves
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, finely chopped (Ghirardelli is my favorite)
- 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- mocha drizzle (recipe above)
- flaky salt, for sprinkling
walnut shortbread cookies
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread walnuts out on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes, or until fragrant and just beginning to darken. Set aside to cool, then roughly chop to pea sized pieces.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, salt and vanilla on medium high speed until smooth but not fluffy, about 1 minute. Add walnuts, chocolate and flour and mix slowly just until a crumbly dough forms.
For slice and bake cookies:
3. Shape the dough into a smooth 2-inch log and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until very firm, at least 2 hours.
4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
5. Use a sharp knife to slice cookies into 1/4-inch thick slices. Arrange cookies at least 1/2- inch apart on prepared pans. Bake for 13- 15 minutes, or until golden on the edges. Let cookies rest a few minutes on the sheet pan, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle with melted mocha chocolate and sprinkle with flaky salt.
For perfectly round roll out cookies:
3. Turn out dough to a lightly floured work surface, divide in half, and shape into two 1-inch thick disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until very firm, at least 2 hours.
4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F.
5. Place one disk between two pieces of parchment paper and roll out to 1/4-inch thick. Repeat with remaining dough. Stack slabs of dough on top of each other and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.
6. Cut out rounds with a 2-inch cookie cutter and transfer to a muffin tin (no need to grease the cups). Re-roll and chill scraps as needed. Store unbaked cookies on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan in the refrigerator.
7. Bake for 13- 15 minutes, or until cookies are firm to the touch and edges are just beginning to brown.
8. Let cool in the muffin tin for a few minutes, then use a knife or small offset spatula to carefully transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Repeat baking remaining cookies.
9. When cookies are cool, drizzle with melted mocha chocolate and sprinkle with flaky salt.
- If you only have instant coffee granules, grind them to a fine powder with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Otherwise, the granules won’t dissolve in the chocolate and will leave a gritty texture.
- Serving Size: 1 cookie
- Calories: 132
- Sugar: 3.9g
- Sodium: 67mg
- Fat: 8.9g
- Saturated Fat: 4.4g
- Unsaturated Fat: 4.1g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 12g
- Fiber: 1.1g
- Protein: 1.8g
- Cholesterol: 12mg
Keywords: walnut shortbread cookies