I want to make these cookies (http://www.nytimes.com...) but the recipe says to combine the dough in a food processor and I don't own one. Any suggestions?
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If you use ground walnuts, you could then mix the walnuts with the sugar and the flour, and chop the butter into small pieces (make sure it is cold). Rub the butter into the flour/walnut mix with your fingers until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. I would add the flavorings at this point. It should then come together in a ball of dough, that you can take teaspoons of and roll in crescents.
I think that it would be pretty labor intensive. You would need to chop the walnuts very fine first. Do you have a hand chopper? Maybe you could pulse them in a blender. If you pulse them in the blender, add the sugar to keep it from turning into walnut butter. In a separate bowl, cut the chilled butter into the flour with a pastry cutter until it resembles cornmeal. You want to start with very cold butter and chilled flour. Put the flour and butter cubes in the freezer for an hour first to get it really cold. Work with it in a large bowl. Use a pastry cutter, or two knives, or you can get in there and crumble it with your hands, just work kind of fast. If you have to work the butter into the flour, and it gets to warm or gummy, then it will affect the texture. You can buy vanilla sugar, or just make it in a jar. Scrape the inside of the bean out, add it to a jar of sugar and shake. I would bake one or two test cookies first to see if you like the results. Even if the cookie doesn't exactly give the same results as the recipe intends, I think that it will still make a great cookie, just because the flavors, butter, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla. Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.
I just found my "deluxe chopper" that has a blade a the bottom like a food processor. The markings say it holds 3 cups, I wonder if cutting the recipe in half would make it right sized for my appliance. What's the standard size for a food processor?
I'm not sure about the deluxe chopper. There are so many products out there. I would need to see it.
Photo of my chopper
It looks like it would work. Because the bowl is small, you may want to pulse the walnuts and sugar and vanilla together separately, then pulse the flour, butter, salt, spices together. In a big bowl, use a spatula to fold them together. Or like you said, divide everything in 1/2 and process in two batches. Let me know how they turn out. I may end up making these now. It just sounds like a great recipe.
Hey, check it out. Here is a very similar recipe on epicurious, they use lemon instead of orange and it looks like they doubled the recipe. But if you read the reader's reviews, they offer a lot of good tips.
Thanks for all your help, will bake these tomorrow. I'll let you know how it went.
Yes, please report back. My mother was just begging me for a cardamom cookie, and she adores walnuts.. If they work for you, I'll probably make them this week, too. :)
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We made cookies like this for years before food processors were invented. You get a hand nut chopper (which work very efficiently) and see if you can recruit a helper. Kids, by the way, love doing this task because it's actually sort of fun. And the conventional non-electric nut chopper is very safe. You end up with slightly chunkier pieces of walnuts, but that's okay. Incidentally, I make a nut crescent that is very similar to this, but I use pecans. You might want to try toasting the nuts before chopping them. With pecans at least, it elevates the cookie well above the ordinary. I am certain it would be the same for walnuts. Also, I would make these with room temperature butter. I suspect that they have you chill it because it works into the flour in the food processor better. This is not a pie crust. These cookies will taste just as good if you cream the butter and sugar together. Add the flavorings and stir to combine. Sift together the flour and salt into the creamed mixture. I would sift it, to make the flour a bit lighter, but that's just my preference. It's not mandatory. Stir in the chopped nuts. Bake as directed, but your dough might not be quite as cool, so check them a minute or two sooner. ;o)