My cousin's grandmother made a black walnut cake with brown sugar icing that appeared during family gatherings, and I thought how amazing they were.
So, based on her creation, I set out to create a Black Walnut Maple Cookie with Brown Sugar Icing. Black walnuts have a unique taste, they do not taste like regular walnuts. I find that chopping them into small pieces is much better for spreading the taste throughout the whole cookie.
Table of contents
IngredientsJump to Recipe for Amounts
- All-purpose flour
- Butter unsalted
- Kosher Salt
- Vanilla Extract
- Black walnuts
- Pure maple syrup
- Light brown sugar
- Butter unsalted
- Powdered sugar sifted
Pure Maple Syrup - The brand I use is Escuminac Great Harvest (Amazon link). You do not have to use this brand but you want to pick a premium flavored maple syrup. Here is a guide to The Four Grades of Maple Syrup. It is all about the color and what part of the season the maple was collected. Mine is a Dark Robust color harvested in the middle of the season. The golden is too subtle for this cookie and harvested at the beginning of the season.
There are two reasons I use this brand with this cookie. First, I do not use sugar in the cookie because the brown sugar icing is very sweet. But you need some sweetness, so I add maple syrup, but the maple syrup has to have flavor. Second I love this brand! If you like, here is a link to Escuminac Candian Website if you would like to purchase the gift set and try all three of their favorite grades.
The first time I used Escuminac Great Harvest maple syrup was on my Iced Maple Oatmeal Cookies. This started my love affair with this syrup.
Black Walnuts - I do not have a black walnut tree in my backyard, so I have to buy my black walnuts. Diamond is the only brand I can find in the stores here in Lancaster, but I would love feedback if you have a favorite other than Diamond. You do want to chop them into smaller pieces.
Making Black Walnut Maple Cookies
Weigh or measure the flour and add the salt, whisking to blend, then set aside.
Take a sharp knife and add the black walnuts to the cutting board. This is the size of the black walnut pieces right out of the Diamond ½ cup bag,
This is how much you get from a ½ cup bag of black walnut from Diamonds after chopping them into smaller pieces.
In a mixer bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Next, scrape down the bowl, add the vanilla extract and maple syrup, and blend through the butter. Finally, add the flour and mix for a minute until the flour is incorporated into the butter.
Scrape down the sides and add the chopped black walnuts. Mix for another minute.
Add 12 cookie dough mounds to a parchment-lined cookie sheet pan using a medium cookie scooper.
So the round shape from the cookie scooper is hard to put the icing on, so we need to flatten the mounds. You can use a water glass or a glass jar. I get a wet paper towel to wipe off the bottom of the glass between pressing down cookies. I press it twice, the first time about halfway and then a second time a little harder until the cookies are about ½ inch thick.
If you try to press it the whole way with the first pressing, it sticks and is hard to come off the bottom of the glass. One thing I did not try but should work is by holding a piece of wax paper between the glass and the cookie mound and pressing down. I find it might be harder to see how thick I made the cookie.
Bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes. Let them on the sheet pan for a minute after pulling the cookies from the oven before moving them to a cooling rack.
Make sure the cookies have completely cooled before starting the brown sugar icing.
Making the Brown Sugar Icing
In a saucepan over medium heat, add the milk and brown sugar. Stir until brown sugar is dissolved and the mixture has come to a boil.
You want to keep this to a low boil and constantly stir for 3 minutes. During this time, you will get a light-colored film on the top.
Keep stirring until it thickens.
Take the pan off the heat and add the butter to the pan and stir until melted.
Sift 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar into the mixer bowl and pour the brown sugar from the saucepan on top of the powdered sugar. Start the mixer on a low speed until the powdered sugar is incorporated, then turn it to a medium speed to get out any lumps.
Add the other half of a cup of powdered sugar if it is thin. It should stay on your knife and not drip at all. Next, spread the brown sugar icing on top of each cooled cookie. The icing will harden quickly after being spread on the cookies.
I hope you enjoy these cookies!
These cookies are great for storing. Just stack them in an air-tight container, and they will keep for 7-9 days.
Other Cookies To Try
Black Walnut Maple Cookies with Brown Sugar IcingBarbara Hall
- 2 cups (250 g) All-purpose flour
- 1 cup (227 g) Butter unsalted
- ¼ teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) Kosher Salt
- 2 teaspoon (2 teaspoon) Vanilla Extract
- ½ cup (62.5 g) Black walnuts finely chopped
- 3 Tablespoon (3 Tablespoon) Pure maple syrup
- 1 cup (220 g) packed Light brown sugar
- ½ cup (122 g) Milk just not fat-free
- 1 Tablespoon (1 Tablespoon) Butter unsalted
- 2 cup (240 g) Powdered sugar sifted
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Weigh the flour and set it aside. In a stand or handheld mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the salt, vanilla extract, and pure maple, mixing through. Slowly add the flour and mix until all the flour is incorporated. Finally, add the chopped black walnuts.
- I take a medium cookie scooper and add 12 scoops to the parchment-lined cookie sheet pan. I take a water glass with a flat bottom and gently press it on the top of each cookie dough scoop. Press a second time a little harder. If the cookie dough sticks to the glass, wipe it with a wet paper towel. You want the cookies to be about ½ inch thick. I do this to make it easier to put on the icing. These do not spread much, so I got 12 on my pan.
- Bake for 11-13 minutes. When there is a little brown around the bottom fringe, take them out of the oven. Leave them on the pan for about 1 minute, then move them to a cooling rack. Let them cool completely before starting the brown sugar icing.
- In a small saucepan, combine the milk and the light brown sugar (I weighed out), stirring over medium heat. I stir this almost constantly. You want to bring this to a boil. Turn the stove heat down just a little; you want to low boil for 3 minutes. You want the sugar and milk to thicken. Remove from the heat and add the butter, stirring until it melts.
- Add 1 ½ cups of the sifted powdered sugar to a stand mixer or stir by hand with the brown sugar mixture. I like to do this in the stand mixer to get out all lumps. Blend till smooth. I mix the icing in the bowl for a couple of minutes to see how thick the icing gets. If the icing is thin, add a little of the ½ cup of powdered sugar you have left over from the 2 cups. Using a knife, add the icing to the top of each cookie. The icing hardens pretty fast.
Can you make these cookies without the walnuts or any nuts at all? Thank you so much.
The black walnuts are what give this cookie its unique taste. But you can certainly leave them out!