Walnut Shortbread




Now is the time of year to get your hands on fresh, locally grown walnuts in the shell. If you think you hate walnuts, you can’t have eaten these babies. Anti-walnut sentiments are more likely the result of the fat most of what you buy in the shops, shelled and in bulk or packaged up, is imported and long gone rancid by the time it touches your lips. Fresh walnuts, on the other hand, are an utter delight. I picked some up the other day and found this recipe for Walnut Shortbread in the excellent Popina Book of Baking. I’ve simply adapted the method a bit – I used a small mortar and pestle to break up the nuts (hate dragging out the processor unless I absolutely have to), plus I found the dough was just too dry to roll into a log as her method suggests, so rather than risk adding extra butter at that late stage, I just skipped the log step and formed the dough into balls before baking. Made for less perfectly shaped biscuits, but they were pretty nonetheless and tasted amazing! There’s not much butter in this, as shortbread goes, but the oil in the walnuts must make up the difference, and give these biscuits a wonderful nutty, earthy flavour with a silky texture.


Walnut Shortbread

Adapted from Popina Book of Baking, Isidora Popovic, Ryland Peters & Small, 2010.

100g shelled, roasted fresh walnuts –  half finely crushed and half in larger chunks

90g unsalted butter, softened

60g golden caster sugar

A few drops vanilla extract (I use Heilala)

125g plain flour

Icing sugar, to dust


Preheat oven to 130 degrees Celcius.

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla in mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in walnuts, then gently fold in flour until well mixed.

Roll dough into ping-pong sized balls and arrange on a baking tray.

Bake for about 30 minutes – they should still be slightly soft in the middle.  Remove from the oven and dust with icing sugar. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.



3 thoughts on “Walnut Shortbread

  1. Hey Anna, those biscuits look amazing! Rich and delish. Where do you get your walnuts from? I grew up eating fresh walnuts with my grandmother but these days I use the “plastic” supermarket ones, so any tips would be great!:-)

    1. Gina, are you in Auckland? Most decent gourmet food stores such as Nosh and Farro should have them when in season. And Huckleberry Farms in Royal Oak, or Harvest in Grey Lynn. I found these ones just down the road from me at the otherwise rather awful Green Fresh on Dominion Rd. Known to me as “The Survival Store’ for its sheer lack of anything fresh or tempting, but if even they source fresh NZ walnuts, things must be looking up round here!

      1. Heehee, I hear ya sister! Brill, thanks for that. Yes I am in Auckland so I’ll go foraging ASAP :-). I’m dying to try those cookies now!!

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