- 10 oz unsalted butter: melted, lightly browned, and cooled
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1.5 cups chocolate chips
- 3 cups walnuts: lightly toasted, cooled, and roughly chopped
- 1 cup rolled oats
Preheat oven to 350F. Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside. Beat the sugars into the butter on high for three minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat three more minutes. Stir in water, then flour. Stir in chips, walnuts, and oats.
I find this dough sometimes seems too runny at first. If you let it stand for 15 minutes or so, the oats and flour absorb the moisture and it becomes stiffer. Alternatively, you can add a quarter cup more flour, or until the dough can be formed into balls. I usually use a spatula and a butter knife to drop it onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet in ping-pong sized lumps. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
Some of you may know that I enjoy foraging–whether it’s for thimbleberries, dandelion roots, turning blanks, or plant starts. Recently I’ve been quite obsessive with black walnuts–one of the native walnuts of North America–ever since I stumbled across a mature tree dropping its fruit in Everett last fall.
If you ever see me wearing a splotchy brown shirt–it’s an early experiment in dying with black walnut husks (I’ve since improved). More recently I’ve been eating black walnuts. My wife made some cookies to share with you–they are over by my desk in front of the metrics computer. While I didn’t gather these nuts myself, they are wild foraged black walnuts because that’s the most economical way to collect them.
Fun facts about black walnuts:
- Black walnuts are among the hardest nuts to crack. You can do it with a hammer and some railroad tie or you need a dedicated black walnut nut cracker. Many people (my father included) remember the struggle of cracking black walnuts in their youth for their parents.
- Black walnut ice cream used to be a common flavor. Apparently it was one of my grandmother’s favorites.
- Black walnuts have more protein than any other nut.
- When first tasking black walnuts, some people exclaim, “Looks like a walnut, but tastes like a cherry!”
Presently most people eat very few wild foods, if any–most having being highly domesticated. If you try one, I hope you enjoy the novel flavor of these black walnut chocolate chunk cookies.