These are one of my favorite shortbread cookies; they are just pure-simple-beautiful-melt-in-your-mouth bites of holiday goodness. The best thing about these cookies is that the dough can be shaped into logs and frozen for up to two weeks ahead of time, so when you’re ready to make them you just have to slice and bake…and be open to the warm praise and love that will be showered upon you from family and friends when they try these lovelies.
This shortbread is unique in that the walnuts add a hint of delicate flavor and crunch, and the cream cheese adds a layer of richness that is different than just traditional butter based shortbread cookies. And once the cookies bake and the outer layer of chopped walnuts and coconuts get slightly toasted….they not only look more beautiful, but they taste amazing.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1¼ teaspoons coarse salt
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 6 ounces cream cheese (not whipped), room temperature
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2½ cups walnut halves (1½ cups toasted and coarsely chopped and 1 cup finely chopped)
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Put butter and cream cheese and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in sugar and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and mix until just combined (do not overmix). Mix in 1½ cups toasted walnuts.
- Transfer dough to a work surface. Divide in half; shape each half into an 8½-inch long log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in parchment paper; freeze until firm, about 30 minutes or up to 2 weeks.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Unwrap 1 log, and roll in a mixture of ½ cup chopped walnuts and ½ cup coconut flakes, coating completely. Cut into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Bake cookies, rotating halfway through, until golden around edges, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Repeat with remaining log and remaining ½ cup chopped walnuts and ½ cup coconut flakes.
Gluten Free Notes: Replace flour with 2 cups Oat Flour + 2 cups Four Bean Flour Mix