For those that like the flavor of eggnog this cookie will be well received.

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Makes 30 cookies

Parchment paper

1 3/4 cups walnut halves

2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

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½ cup granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla

1-½ cups all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

Rum-flavored filling:

¼ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

½ teaspoon rum extract

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

About 1 teaspoon milk

Optional: freshly grated nutmeg

1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. To prepare the cookies: Grind walnuts finely in a food processor or blender and set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and nutmeg. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.

4. Combine flour and salt. Beat in as much flour as possible with the mixer. Use a wooden spoon or clean hands to work in remaining flour. Chill dough 15 minutes.

5. Spread walnuts on a plate. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg whites to break them up.

6. Shape dough into about 1-inch balls. Roll in egg whites, then in nuts. Place on the prepared baking sheets. Press your thumb or a small melon scoop into the center of each ball, making an indentation.

7. Bake on center rack of preheated oven 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Remove cookies from the oven. Lightly press the indentations in the cookies to reform. Transfer to racks to cool.

8. To prepare the filling: In a mixing bowl, beat together softened butter and powdered sugar with a spoon until light and fluffy. Beat in rum and vanilla extracts and milk. The filling should have a smooth consistency. Pipe or spoon about ½ teaspoon into the center of each cookie. Grate a little fresh nutmeg over the tops. Store in tins in the refrigerator.

From “Cookies for Christmas” by Jennifer D. Darling,

The Seattle Times file

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