Use up leftover walnuts after Christmas by making cookies, pesto or a tasty salad

Melanie says: ‘I always have a large bowl of walnuts in the drawing room over Christmas—we nibble on them in the evenings with a glass of wine, but there are invariably too many, which leaves me wondering how to use them up.

If the same thing happens in your house, you might find these recipes helpful.’

Walnut-and-coffee cookies
Serves 4
Ingredientswalnut and coffee cookies

200g walnuts, processed until ground
150g plain flour
1tspn baking powder
125g butter, cubed and just cooler than room temperature
100g icing sugar
1 egg yolk
1tspn vanilla-bean paste
1tbspn super-strong coffee dissolved in boiling water
20 cloves

Method
Preheat your oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3 and line three baking trays with baking parchment. Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until they resemble fine breadcrumbs, then pour them into a large bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, cubes of butter, icing sugar, egg yolk, vanilla-bean paste and coffee and mix well. Spoon the mixture onto the baking tray and fashion the blobs into pear shapes, then add a clove to the top of each before baking for 10–12 minutes.

Remove from the oven, dust immediately and generously with icing sugar and allow to cool before handling. Serve with a cup of coffee on a chilly January morning.

More recipes with walnuts

Fig tart with walnut frangipane and maple-syrup mascarpone

Line a tart tin with a sheet of prerolled shortcrust pastry and refrigerate for half an hour, before blind baking with beans for 15 minutes at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Fill the tart case with walnut frangipane—made by combining 175g ground walnuts, 175g butter, 175g sugar and 4 eggs—arrange fig halves over the top and bake for a further 15 minutes, before serving with mascarpone with a little maple syrup stirred through it.

Apple, bacon and honeyed-walnut salad

To make this delicious salad for two, fry 2 finely smoked rashers of bacon and combine them in a bowl with an apple, cut into matchsticks, and 2 sliced celery stalks. While the pan is still hot, add a couple of tablespoons of runny honey and a handful of walnut halves and cook them until well coated with honey. Add them to the other ingredients. Mix everything well with a few generous handfuls of fresh baby spinach leaves. For the dressing, combine a whisked egg yolk with a teaspoon each of Dijon mustard, sugar and Worcestershire sauce, then slowly add 150ml olive oil followed by 75ml white-wine vinegar, a scattering of oregano and parsley and seasoning.

Mix well, pour it over the salad, then divide between plates and serve with rye bread.

Walnut pesto

Process 75ml olive oil, 40g grated Parmesan, 2 cloves peeled garlic, 2 generous handfuls fresh basil leaves, 45g walnuts, a good squeeze of lemon and seasoning into a coarse paste and serve stirred through cooked pasta or as a dip.

It’s always good to have a freshly-made batch of homemade pesto in the fridge.

** Read more seasonal recipes from Country Life