Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Not your average Walnuts

walnuts

It was impossible to resist these wonderfully fresh walnuts - the story behind them, a tale of a labour of love.

These come from Waterwood Farm in the Yarra Valley, Launching Place to be exact. It's a small walnut and chestnut orchard of approximately 200 walnut and 200 chestnut trees. These nuts are the "Franquette" variety.

Harvesting is done according to natures cycle - they wait until the nuts fall to the ground and then are hand collected each morning. They are brushed clean by hand and then air dried on wire trays.

The cracked nuts are all done by hand, which shows in the fact that they come as beautifully complete nuts. Tastewise, they are sweet and crispy - which isn't usually the case when it comes to buying them in a commercial situation. They are prone to quickly becoming rancid.

These nuts are more than delicious enough to eat as they are but I thought should do something that would place these perfect walnuts, front and centre. So I scavenged my memory banks and came up with a cookie - a simple butter cookie studded with walnuts.

walnut cookies

Walnut Butter Cookies

120 grams unsalted butter, softened
150 grams caster sugar
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
200 grams self-raising flour, sifted
whole walnuts

Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and the sugar has dissolved. Add the egg & vanilla, mixing well until amalgamated.

Stir in the sifted flour until fully combined.

Roll spoonfuls of the mixture into small balls and place on a lined tray - leaving room for the cookie to spread. Press a walnut into the centre of each ball

cookies

Bake in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven for 10 minutes or until golden.

Cool on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container.

cookies

Crisp and buttery with a wonderful crunch of walnut, a perfect match for tea or coffee or just if you are feeling a little peckish. Double the mix as they won't last long!

For locals
You can find these walnuts from May to October at the Yarra Valley Farmers'' Market at Yering Station on the 3rd Sunday of each month.

Waterwood Farm
Ken & Elizabeth Jacka
1600 Don Road, Launching Place


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9 comments:

  1. Those are some mouth-wateringly good cookies! I love walnuts but have never had fresh ones, always purchasing them from the supermarket or health food stores. I'll have to try and make it to this market one day!

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  2. Thanks Ellie - they do have a much nicer taste - I did the taste comparison when I got home, compared to market nuts I get these were crisper and had a lot more flavour. They are quite a bit more expensive but considering the labour involved it's understandable.

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  3. Hi HAALO,
    yummy cookies .THANKS for sharing.
    Vineela

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  4. How do you get the cookies so round and perfect looking?

    Paz

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  5. I love fresh walnuts and have found an excellent source of Tasmanian walnuts at the Victoria market. There is a particular stall that I normally visit. I have a bowl of walnuts sitting on my bench with a nutcracker sitting beside. I'm not sure how these airdried ones would taste in comparison but hopefully I'll get a chance to find out.

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  6. Hi Paz - The shape is basically taken from the initial ball that is rolled, when you press the walnut into the centre that kinda flattens the ball out. When they cook, the cookies tend to evenly spread giving you a circular shape. This is the reason it's very important to leave enough room around each cookie - if you don't then they will spread into each other and will lose that circular shape.

    Hi Cin - walnuts are quite tasty and when you have access to good walnuts you can really appreciate them - cracking them yourself is probably the freshest method of getting them.
    What stall at the vic market do you get your tasmanian walnuts from?

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  7. Hmmm... Okay... I plan on making these cookies when I find some walnuts. Somehow, I have a feeling that my cookie shapes will not look as nice and perfect as yours. You make it sound too easy and I know it's not. Well, I'll see what happens. Thanks!

    Paz

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  8. Paz - you'll be surprised but it does work and they naturally take on a round shape. Do give it a go! You could do this with pecans as well.

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