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To prepare cookies: In a large mixing bowl, beat 1/2 cup shortening and butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour and the 3/4 cup ground nuts. Divide dough in half.
On wax paper, shape each portion of dough into a 10-inch-long log. Lift and smooth the wax paper to help shape the logs. If desired, roll logs in the 2/3 cup finely chopped nuts. Wrap each log in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 4 hours or until firm enough to slice.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are firm. Transfer to a wire rack set over wax paper and let cool.
If desired, prepare chocolate drizzle: In a small saucepan, combine chocolate chips and shortening. Heat and stir over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly. Transfer to a small sealable plastic bag; seal bag. Snip off a tiny piece of one corner of the bag. Drizzle melted chocolate over cookies. Let stand until set.