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Choco-Nut Cookies

Choco-Nut Cookies
Susan Russo for NPR /

If you want to give chocolate lovers on your Christmas list a special treat, make them a batch (or two) of my mom's choco-nut cookies. They're like a sophisticated version of a chocolate chip cookie. Crisp walnut- and chocolate-studded cookies are dipped first in thick, creamy chocolate, then in chocolate sprinkles or chopped nuts. Whether ball- or log-shaped, they are a beautiful addition to any Christmas cookie tray.

Makes about 45 cookies


3/4 cup softened unsalted butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

2 cups finely chopped walnuts

Chocolate Coating

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (any size)

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/4 cups chocolate sprinkles or chopped nuts such as pecans or walnuts (or as much as needed to coat all of the cookies)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and position a rack in the center of the oven. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat well with an electric hand mixer. Add egg, salt, flour, mini chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.

Using your hands, shape 1 tablespoon of dough into a 2-inch-long log or into a 1-inch round ball. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Place on a rack to cool completely before frosting.

For the chocolate coating, melt the chocolate chips and the butter in a double boiler. If you don't have a double boiler, fill a small, deep pan with water and bring to a low boil. Place a glass bowl over the simmering water, but not touching it. Place the chocolate and butter in the bowl. As soon as the chocolate begins to melt, remove the pan from the heat and stir with a spoon until it becomes smooth and silky. (If the heat is too high or you leave the chocolate on the heat too long, it will become thick like frosting.)

Meanwhile, place chocolate sprinkles or chopped nuts in a small bowl. For easy cleanup, place a sheet of parchment paper under a cookie rack before dipping the cookies in the chocolate. Dip the top of the cookie in the chocolate, then dip it in the chocolate sprinkles or chopped nuts until completely covered. Place on a rack and dry completely before storing in an airtight tin or plastic container. Place waxed paper or parchment paper between layers to protect the chocolate and sprinkles. Properly stored, cookies should last seven to 10 days.

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