In the Winter 2010 issue of culture, our recipe for NOCINO MASCARPONE CHEESECAKE uses this cookie recipe to create the shortbread-like crust for the bottom of the dessert. The cookies, adapted from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert, (Artisan, 2007,) echo the flavor of the nocino (walnut liquor) while adding a little zip of coffee. They’re great all by themselves too.
► In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, walnuts, sugar, coffee, and salt. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the butter, pulsing to produce a well-mixed but crumbly dough. Add the brandy and vanilla extract. Pulse until the dough just clumps together. Remove from the food processor, lightly knead, and shape into a 2½-inch-diameter log. Wrap in wax or parchment paper and chill for several hours (or up to 3 days). When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice the log crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place the rounds on two ungreased baking sheets (with or without parchment paper linings). Bake until the centers of the cookies are set and the edges lightly browned, about 12–15 minutes.