Walnut Cookies Recipe

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Easy walnut cookies recipe from scratch made with only a handful of simple ingredients. Walnuts, brown sugar, jam, just a touch of nut flour and vanilla then rolled in powdered sugar like a snowball before being baked into nutty perfection. A favorite Easter and Christmas treat loved by all! (Watch the Video tutorial below).

walnut cookies

Walnut Cookies Recipe

It’s like Italian snowball cookies and European nut horn cookies got married. Perfectly crispy bottoms but with a divinely soft and chewy nutty center. An Easter and Christmas classic treat that is naturally gluten free, better for you and way easier to make than a nut roll.

A really simple tea cookie made without any eggs, no butter or dairy, oil free and no baking powder needed either.

walnut cookies from scratch

Recipe Tips

  • About the Walnuts – Make sure to use raw pieces, not toasted or candied as we are going to chop them all up before baking.
  • Swaps – If need be pecans can be used instead of walnuts here and the apricot jam can be swapped for your favorite kind.
  • Variation – For a more festive flavor replace the water with equal parts of your favorite rum.
  • The Sugar – I used light brown sugar for its caramel like flavor but regular granulated sugar can be used in a pinch.
  • Add Ins – Dried cranberries or cherries and a sprinkling mini chocolate chips would make nice additions. You can also opt for equal parts walnuts + pistachios reminiscent of baklava filling.
  • Storage – The cookies can be stored uncovered at room temperature for a couple of days or in a lidded container / cookie jar for up to two weeks. Truth be told these never made it in our home past day 2 so please report back if yours make it for longer.
  • Crispy bottoms – After turning off the heat allow the cookies to sit in the oven for an extra 2 minutes with the oven door slightly open.

walnut cookies in process image

how to make walnut cookies from scratch

  1. Process the walnuts with the brown sugar and lemon zest until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the jam with the water (or rum) and vanilla extract. Add the walnut mixture and mix until a dough is formed. Chill for 20 minutes or make ahead and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Shape your cookies and toss in powdered sugar.
  4. Arrange on a cookie sheet and bake @375 until toasty. (See exact measurements and times in the recipe card below).

walnut cookies from scratch

 

walnut cookies
5 from 5 votes

Walnut Cookies

These easy walnut cookies from scratch are made with only a handful of simple ingredients: walnuts, brown sugar, jam, just a touch of nut flour and vanilla then rolled in powdered sugar before baking into perfection. It’s like Italian snowball cookies and European horn cookies got married.
Print Recipe
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:15 minutes
Total Time:30 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  • To the bowl of a food processor add the walnut pieces together with the brown sugar, lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Use the pulse button and process until the mixture resembles wet sand.
    3 cups walnut pieces, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 1 tsp lemon zest, 1 pinch sea salt
  • In a medium mixing bowl combine the apricot jelly with the water and vanilla extract. Add the walnut mixture. Use a spatula and combine everything until a dough is formed. Sprinkle in the walnut or almond flour and combine again until incorporated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the cookie dough for 20 minutes.
    2 Tbsp apricot jam, 3 Tbsp water or rum, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 4 Tbsp walnut or almond flour
  • Preheat your oven to 375”F.
  • Prepare a small bowl with powder sugar and have a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper ready.
    powder sugar for coating
  • Use a tablespoon and scoop out the cookie dough, shape into a round ball. Alternatively use your finger to help push the dough out of the spoon straight into the powder sugar bowl. Toss to coat lightly then transfer to the cookie sheet. (The powder sugar coating is optional but yields nice crinkle snowball cookies). Repeat with the remaining cookie dough and make sure to leave plenty of space between the cookies.
  • Bake the cookies for 13 minutes, turn off the heat and allow cookies to sit in the oven for 2 extra minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool off completely.

Video

Notes

  • About the Walnuts - Make sure to use raw pieces, not toasted or candied as we are going to chop them all up before baking. 
  • Swaps - If need be pecans can be used instead of walnuts here and the apricot jam can be swapped for your favorite kind.
  • Variation - For a more festive flavor replace the water with equal parts of your favorite rum.
  • The Sugar - I used light brown sugar for its caramel like flavor but regular granulated sugar can be used in a pinch.
  • Add Ins - Dried cranberries or cherries and a sprinkling mini chocolate chips would make nice additions. You can also opt for equal parts walnuts + pistachios reminiscent of baklava filling.
  • Storage - The cookies can be stored uncovered at room temperature for a couple of days or in a lidded container / cookie jar for up to two weeks. Truth be told these never made it in our home past day 2 so please report back if yours make it for longer.
  • Crispy bottoms - After turning off the heat allow the cookies to sit in the oven for an extra 2 minutes with the oven door slightly open.  

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 142kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 83mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 7IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: European, Italian
Keyword: snowball cookies, tea cookies, walnut cookies
Servings: 21 cookies
Calories: 142kcal

Italian Desserts:

Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Italian Lemon Cake
Ricciarelli Italian Almond Cookies
Ricciarelli Almond Cookies
Italian Tiramisu Cheesecake Recipe
Tiramisu

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16 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made these for the 2023 holidays and they were a hit as gifts! I used a cookie scoop so my cookies turned out normal cookie size instead of little balls, but they still tasted delicious.

    Definitely want to try some of your listed variations (such as rum or pistachios and walnuts together). Will be saving this recipe for future use, and will try to make smaller cookies next time!

    Can’t believe how easy these were. My only issue was my food processor died without me knowing, so when my tiny little grinder wouldn’t work I had to put my walnuts in a ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Ended up having some walnut chunks, so not sure if that’s how the recipe is supposed to be with the use of a food processor, but it added a nice crunch and texture to the cookies.

  2. Help! I made the dough last night and it’s separated this morning. I did have to substitute rice flour for the almond flour. What did I do wrong? Or more importantly, how can I fix it? More walnuts??

    1. Hi Chery, rice flour Is not recommended in this recipe. You could salvage the dough by adding almond flour or walnut flour until it all comes together into a nice thick dough. Worst case just keep adding more rice flour and see if that holds up. Let me know the end result 🙂 ~ Florentina

      1. 8 tablespoons of almond flour later and I had cookies! I overlooked the almond flour in my first read of the recipe and then had to find a substitute. These are delicious and I’m adding them to the holiday cookie baking list. Thank you

  3. Hello, I would like to make these but am curious as to where you get almond or walnut flour. Thank you!

    1. You should be able to find almond flour at your local grocery store next to all the other types of flour or maybe the gluten-free section.

    1. I think you are ok to use a strawberry jam, I probably wouldn’t use raspberry just because it has a stronger flavor, however it’s all trial and error and all that matters is that you like it. Enjoy and report back on the cookies 🙂

    1. You could chop the walnuts by hand on a large cutting board, you’ll need to go through them a few times and get that texture as small as you can but don’t worry if it isn’t perfect. Do your best and chop them well, they will taste delicious!

  4. Delicious! I halved the recipe and used orange marmalade for the jam. Rolled some in confectioners’ sugar, others not. Both were yummy! I like that the cookies are not too sweet. A simple tasty cookie that I will make again. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. 5 stars
    Wow! These are fabulous! Very hard to wrap my head around the fact that they do not contain any butter, eggs or wheat flour! The taste of the walnuts really shines and the slight tang from the apricot jam comes through beautifully. Mine were more flat and I lost any “crinkle” effect, but they are still beyond delicious! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe; it is a keeper!

    1. I am so happy you loved these cookies Karen! To get the crinkle it’s important to coat them really well in fine powdered sugar. Next time try adding a little more almond flour to get a firmer cookie which won’t flatten out that much. I love these so much, they really scream Christmas time and very nostalgic for me. Enjoy! ~ Florentina Xo’s

  6. 5 stars
    The perfect cookies! Wow! If you love walnuts you are going to love these cookies. Everything about them is perfect and bonus points for being the easiest cookies I’ve ever made and made without butter or fat or oil. Will be making these for Easter