I absolutely do not have space in my kitchen for specialty kitchen gadgets. And still I buy them. After Christmas, I scored a sweet mold for walnut-shaped cookies. The deep discount served as my justification (for this mold as well as one for shortbreads. . . ) But, if I am going to be honest, I was really just smitten with how clever the final results would look.
Walnut cookies cross cultural barriers. Mexico has polvorones. Delicious and powdered sugar covered, these delicate wedding cookies are associated with our southern neighbor, but originated in the Arab world and traveled to the Western Hemisphere via Spain. Eastern Europe—I am thinking Poland and Czech Republic here, but I suspect they are widely Slavic—trot out the walnut-shaped cookies at Christmas.
Walnut cookies are as versatile as they are delicious. They can be rolled in balls or flattened like a traditional cookie. Or they can be cooked in molds, made fancy when the two halves are cemented together with icing or melted jam . . . or, when in my hands, with chocolate ganache.