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Walnut-Currant Shortbreads

Walnut-Currant Shortbreads
Set out these tender, buttery cookies with a bowl of fresh berries for a compatible pairing. Topping the cooled cookies with a light dusting of confectioners' sugar is another nice serving option. Use pecans instead of the walnuts for an equally delicious variation.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup dried currants
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tsp. for topping
  • 2 1/2 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup walnuts

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

In a small heatproof bowl, combine the currants with boiling water to cover. Let soak for 10 minutes. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.

In a food processor, combine the flour, the 1/3 cup sugar, the cornstarch and salt. Process briefly until well mixed. Add the butter and vanilla and pulse until the mixture resembles fine meal. Add the walnuts and process until finely chopped. Add the currants and process just until mixed.

Transfer the mixture to a large sheet of waxed paper and, using your hands, gather together into a flat disk. Top with a second sheet of waxed paper. Roll out the dough about 1/4 inch thick. Remove the top sheet of waxed paper. Using a round cookie cutter 2 1/2 inches in diameter, cut out cookies. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet, spacing the rounds about 1/2 inch apart. Gather up the scraps, pat into a disk, and roll out again. Cut out additional cookies. Sprinkle the cookies evenly with the 2 tsp. sugar.

Bake until just beginning to brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Makes about 16 cookies.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, After Dinner, by Kristine Kidd (Time-Life Books, 1998).