If you didn’t get your workout in today, try making these cookies. The dough has to be mixed by hand and one batch has 5 cups of flour in it. The first year I made these, I ignored the “with a heavy spoon” part of the directions and just put the batter into my mixer – which then broke as the motor struggled to stir the incredibly thick dough. Today I snapped a spatula in half stirring the dough because I didn’t look carefully when I picked it up off the counter, thought it was my wooden spoon and only realized it wasn’t when the handle cracked in half. Whoops. At least my arm muscles got some exercise today.
My family calls these cookies “dog biscuits” – which is a totally unappetizing name for a truly delicious cookie. They’re similar to biscotti, but much more flavorful and not nearly as hard. I always feel like I’m going to break a tooth when I eat biscotti. No so with these. This recipe makes about 12 dozen cookies, perfect for wrapping in some pretty cellophane (I’ve even dipped them in chocolate to make them a little more fancy) and giving away to friends. My mom’s original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of black walnut flavoring which, until a couple of years ago I could find at my local grocery store. However, nobody carries it anymore and it’s $20 for a teeny-tiny bottle online – which is really ridiculous in my opinion. So, this year I used an extra teaspoon of almond extract in its place. They are still awesome – I can hardly tell the difference, and I’ve been enjoying them for the past 20+ years the other way. If you happen to have the walnut flavoring in your cupboard, lucky you. If not, go for the almond extract.
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon anise
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract (or 1/2 teaspoon almond & 1 teaspoon walnut)
1 cup chopped (medium coarse) walnuts
5 cups all purpose flour
4 1/2 teaspoons (1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons) baking powder
1. Preheat oven to 325° and grease two large cookie sheets.
2. With a heavy spoon, beat the eggs and the sugar until well blended. Stir in the butter, vanilla, anise, almond extract and walnuts until just combined.
3. Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl then gradually add to the creamed mixture.
4. Blending well on a floured board, divide dough into 8 equal portions. And roll each into a 14 inch rope. Place 2 inches apart (I can fit 3 ropes per cookie sheet) on prepared cookie sheets.
5. Bake at 325° for about 20 minutes until bottoms of ropes are a pale gold. Remove from oven and increase temperature to 375°
6. Let cool about 2 minutes on pans, then cut each rope diagonally into 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick slices.
7. Tip slices onto cut sides, lay close together on cool pans and and bake at 375° for 15 minutes.
8. Store in airtight containers at room temp for up to 1 month.