Wholesome walnut raisin cookies
If I close my eyes, I can conjure up memories of childhood visits to my grandmother’s house at Christmas time, where I would always expect to see a large bowl of nuts on the dining-room table. Although there were other things I could have done to occupy myself while at grandma’s house (tea time, doll house, grandma’s jewellery), for some reason I really enjoyed practising my nut-cracking skills.
There were a large assortment of nuts in that bowl, but walnuts were by far my favourite. Their size alone required much focus and a steady hand in order to position the nut correctly in the nut cracker, so that when you pressed down you could watch the layers of the shell crack in misguided directions. The broken shell revealed a golden seed with two bumpy lobes that looked like abstract butterflies, and I loved that.
This memory is tied to nothing specific, really. It is made up of many visits, and the countless times I snacked on the nutritious nut. And it is the reason I still prefer unshelled nuts as a snack—because it takes me back to those times long ago, if only for a moment.
When it comes to baking though, shelled, raw walnuts are the way to go. Lately, I’ve been having fun playing with nut flours in my cookies, muffins and pie dough. Walnut flour, in which I buy shelled walnut halves and grind them into a soft nut meal, produces a moist, nutty flavour like no other. For gluten-free and wheat-free baking, it’s a godsend. Not only are nut flours a flavourful flour alternative, but they also add a boost of protein, heart-healthy fat, and they require less additional fat to moisten the final product.
My latest walnut raisin cookie recipe has become a new favourite. Chewy, nutty and unapologetically old-fashioned, these cookies are what baking dreams are made of. Combining one full cup each of walnuts, rolled oats and spelt flour along with a handful of raisins, more chopped walnuts and a touch of cinnamon, this is the kind of cookie that will satisfy anyone looking for a sweet but heart-healthy snack. Enjoy!
Wholesome walnut raisin cookies
Yield: one dozen
- 1 cup California walnuts
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 3/4 cup Sucanat (or brown sugar)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup nondairy milk
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
- Using a food processor, process the walnuts and rolled oats to a coarse meal. Add the spelt flour, Sucanat, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and pulse to combine.
- In a small bowl whisk together the nondairy milk, coconut oil and vanilla. Pour the mixture into the food processor with the flour mixture and pulse to combine. Finally, add the raisins and walnuts and pulse to combine.
- Portion dough using a cookie scoop onto the prepared cookie sheets and use the bottom of a wet glass to flatten each cookie. Bake the cookies at 350F for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cookie rack to cool completely.
This recipe was submitted to the California Walnut Commission for its California Walnuts Holiday Blogger Challenge.