Appalachia Appalachian Food

Black Walnut Cookies

Black Walnuts like them or not

I love black walnuts do you? There are very few things The Deer Hunter doesn’t like to eat. Along the short list of items he doesn’t like-you’ll find black walnuts.

I grew up eating black walnuts as a snack and if Granny had any on hand she always added them between the layers of her coconut cakes and sprinkled them on top as well. And Arsh Potato Cake is among my all time favorite desserts-there are black walnuts in it too.

I don’t think I had ever eaten a black walnut cookie until I was grown. Miss Cindy’s grandmother, Dollie Sharp, was famous for her Black Walnut Cookies-and lucky for me-Miss Cindy passed Dollie’s hand written recipe along to me.

Black Walnut Cookies from appalachia


To make Dollie’s Black Walnut Cookies you need:

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs-beaten
  • 1 cup black walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cup pastry flour (I use all purpose flour and it works fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Old recipe black walnut cookies

Cream shortening and sugar; add eggs and mix well. Mix in black walnuts and vanilla.

Grandmothers blackwalnut cookies

Sift flour, salt, and soda together and set aside. Alternately-add flour mixture and evaporated milk to sugar mixture. Dollie’s directions say to beat mixture vigorously-so I did.

Black walnut cookies from western nc

Once the cookie dough is mixed it can be kept in the refrigerator and used as needed.

Old fashioned blackwalnut cookies

Drop teaspoon size portions of dough onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes or until the cookie is light golden brown.

Easy to make blackwalnut cookies

These cookies are really good-the taste is perfect and the cookies have a chewy texture which is especially nice. The first time I baked them-I didn’t tell The Deer Hunter they had black walnuts in them. He said “Those cookies are really good.” I said “Hmmm.” After about 3 cookies he realized they had black walnuts in them-and then refused to eat anymore. Silly man-but that only means there are more for me right?


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  • Reply
    Barbara Parker
    November 23, 2020 at 10:23 pm

    I love black walnuts. I remember my precious Grandma cracking walnuts. I make a black walnut cake for Thanksgiving and for Christmas. It’s a family tradition that I love. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  • Reply
    Auther Ray
    February 19, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    I love Black Walnuts. Sweet Potato bread with black walnuts & raisins is good too!

  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    November 22, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    My mother made black walnut cookies when I was a kid, I love them. I have her recipe in her handwriting. I am saving this recipe too, the more the merrier, right?
    We used to gather the black walnuts when I was a kid. I bought some a few years ago when I was in Tennessee. Since I no longer live in southern Ohio black walnuts are hard to come by. I still love them though!

  • Reply
    Patti Tappel
    January 21, 2015 at 9:07 am

    I have made your recipe several times and the blacksmith loves them. I should do that again today, I have plenty of black walnuts in the freezer!
    Thanks for the reminder.

  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    February 23, 2014 at 4:54 am

    I grew up with black walnut cookies. I loved them so much that I gave one to my teacher. My mother was upset that I gave the teacher such a “plain” cookie. Mommy thought she should make fancy cookies if I was going to share with the teacher.
    I got some black walnuts on sale after Christmas. I have mommy’s cookie recipe too. I have been wanting to make those cookies for a while now!
    BTW, I do not understand people who just won’t eat something, especially nuts and coconut!

    • Reply
      Melinda R. G. Kessler
      November 24, 2020 at 5:26 am

      Hi, Eldonna! I think we are both McClain grads? Even tho we are from the same area I’m afraid I prefer the light English walnuts. My IL husband’s mom made a delicious white sour cream cake w/ black walnuts that I made my husband for birthday cake.

  • Reply
    Patti Tappel
    February 18, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    I have 2 gallons of Black Walnuts in the freezer, that we picked out. the blacksmith would love your cookies! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Earlene Burton Rogers
    February 18, 2014 at 9:20 am

    I’ve been cracking black walnuts for a month, vacuum seal & freeze. Have about 50 1 cup bags so far & more to crack. Use in fudge. If you like pecan pie, try using black walnuts instead. Best pie you ever ate.

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    February 17, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Wife bakes blue ribbon winning chocolate brownies that have black walnuts in them. I would hate to have to shell enough walnuts by hand. Just glad that you can buy them already shelled.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    February 17, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    I’ve never tried Walnut Cookies but
    they look nice, I can almost smell ’em.
    When I make a Spice Cake, usually I
    crush a few and add them to the coconut
    I’m gonna copy this receipe down so I
    can make some of these cookies later

  • Reply
    Julie Hughes
    February 17, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    My Granny had black walnut trees. We used to run over them to take the hulls off. Granny used to dye her flour sacks with the hulls. Love them!!!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2014 at 11:24 am

    I’m not a fan of Black Walnuts or filberts either – both have a strong bitter taste to me – but then, I don’t like coffee either. However, tastes do change as we age and I will eat both if they are ground fine before they are added to something.
    My husband always said he wouldn’t eat coconut. When my youngest was in town last September he took on serving ice cream after supper. I noticed he served his Dad some hummingbird cake ice cream (basically, has hummingbird cake – lots of coconut – mixed in the ice cream). I started to say something but youngest gave me a look that said “shh!” and he and his Dad kept on with their conversation while Dad polished off the bowl of ice cream without a word. The same thing happened each night son was here. We never did tell his Dad what was going on and his Dad was oblivious to our secret looks. Son would also work coconut into the conversation randomly throughout his stay and and each time hubby would go into his exaggerated protest about how horrible coconut is.
    The other night, Hubby grabbed a valentine candy, took a bite – – when I saw that it was coconut inside I thought, as has happened throughout our marriage, I was going to get an extra candy that evening. But, no – he announced that he must be getting old because the coconut candy wasn’t half bad and he ate it right in front of me (Coconut is tops on my list!) At that point I broke down and told him about youngest’s and my secret from last fall. He just kind of wrinkled his face and said he’d have to dig the other coconuts out of the candy box.
    Anyway – the Black Walnut cookies look interesting and I’m going to have to try them. After all, I’m getting older all the time and my tastes are changing too – but not enough to like coffee!!!

  • Reply
    Alice Jones
    February 17, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Tipper,my family loves black walnuts my sister gave me a recipe for a black walnut bread and it is great my husband loves it I might just have to go make a few loaves right now power of suggestion I guess.Have a great day.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    February 17, 2014 at 11:09 am

    I’m writing this recipe down as I speak…LOL I inherited the love of Black Walnuts from my mother!
    After moving out of the mountains to the hills of East Tennessee, it was years before my Mother would put English Walnuts in cookies or cakes that called for walnuts. Black walnuts got so high in the store and her supply was out, that she finally gave in to English Walnuts. I love them as well. Our Black Walnut supply was null and void this past year. I was looking forward to using “Ken’s Handy Dandy Nut Cracker” we bought from him year before last, too!
    We do have some hickory nuts in the freezer, but I am especially “stingy” with those. They are harder to dig out than gold! LOL My old fingers get awfully tired pickin’ them out!
    I thought my Mother was weird or nuts when I would see her eating Black Walnuts and cornbread, together! About a week ago I was reading a book of Appalachian lore and found a statement about how this person loved eating Black Walnuts and cornbread together. Go Figure! It must have been a mountain thing for kids back then! Grab a piece of cold cornbread, head to the anvil to crack Black Walnuts, work cracking nuts, eat pieces of those black walnuts and a bite of cornbread! LOL
    Sorry Mom up there in heaven, hope you have all the Black Walnuts and cornbread you can founder yourself on!
    She told me one time that she cracked many a pan full of Black Walnuts when she was a child. She said her finger would be so stained she was ashamed to go to school!
    Walnuts are good for you, guess that helped her have a long 93 life!
    She said they didn’t have many cookies back then. Shame, she would have loved this recipe Tipper.
    Great post Tipper,
    PS…Hope “K-Rogers” (Kroger) has some frash black walnuts today!
    I’d trade’m a poke of hickory nuts for a poke of black walnuts!
    Can you believe that back in the old days, that type of tradin’ really took place!

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    February 17, 2014 at 11:08 am

    I will be trying this one out! I love black walnuts. I discovered Blue Bell Black Walnut flavor ice cream and it is insanely delicious! The stores don’t always have it, but when it shows up, I grab it up. Loads of walnuts in it and a great black walnut flavor. I just have to limit how much. Aging includes weight gain, unfortunately.

  • Reply
    February 17, 2014 at 11:00 am

    My husband’s grandmother had a walnut tree in her yard. She’d gather the nuts, put them in her driveway and by driving over them, made easy work of cracking them!

  • Reply
    Pamela Moore
    February 17, 2014 at 10:46 am

    My family loved black walnuts. My great grandma would hull them by throwing them on her dirt driveway and let the cars break them open.
    Black walnut ice cream is the best, but I can’t find it anymore.

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    February 17, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Tipper. Miss Dollie’s B. walnut cookies reminds me of what Mama made and called tea cakes. Going try to make these cookies.
    Your hubby reminds me of my first hubby , he had one certain type and one day I found some other coffee on sales and he found out he wouldn’t drink it. So the next time I found a real bargain I put it in the bag which he liked and he saw this and he said now this is real coffee honey. thanks for sharing Dollie’s Walnut cookies receipt with us.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    February 17, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Love black walnuts! I’d be happy to eat The Deerhunters portion.

  • Reply
    February 17, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Love black walnuts! Thanks for sharing Dollie’s recipe, it’s going straight into our BP recipe folder! We’ll have to try this recipe soon, they look delicious.

  • Reply
    Marc Kruger
    February 17, 2014 at 9:12 am

    We had black walnut trees when I was growing up and in the summer our hands were stained from removing the husks. I now have three black walnut trees here in Wisconsin that I planted from seed. This past fall I gathered over 1,000 nuts. I like them out of the shell as a snack. Thank you for the recipe.

  • Reply
    February 17, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Black walnuts are my favorite. I use them in just about any recipe that calls for nuts, especially banana nut bread. My daughter said their strong flavor is overpowering in some of the candy recipes I make. You know I will be making those cookies soon. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Those cookies sure look good this morning! I like black walnuts. My grandmother used to make a cake with black walnuts. I also like black walnut ice cream.

  • Reply
    February 17, 2014 at 8:12 am

    I found a bag of black walnuts at a small business in town one day. They were already shelled, so I thought I would try them. I found that they were a nice nut, with a little differnt taste, but nothing objectionable. I also believe, if I am correct, the black walnut also products some sort of stain to use on wood, cloth, etc. I don’t know how it is done, but it serves another use. I like them.

  • Reply
    jane bolden
    February 17, 2014 at 8:02 am

    My mother made a wonderful black walnut cake at Christmas. My husband wouldn’t try it. He said, “I don’t like black walnuts.” I should trick him with these cookies. They sound really good.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 17, 2014 at 7:50 am

    I’m with the Deer Hunter on that. I don’t care for black walnuts. When I was little I would eat almost anything that had sugar in it but I wouldn’t eat those black walnut cookies my grandmother made.
    My grandpa loved those black walnut cookies so my grandmother made them for him often. As a child I can remember him on his knees in the cellar cracking walnuts for her to make his cookies. They had a walnut tree not far from the back door so the nuts were plentiful.
    She also made him a hot milk cake to snack on at night. He liked it but not quite as much as the black walnut cookies.

  • Reply
    February 17, 2014 at 7:43 am

    I grew up eating black walnuts and hickory nuts. My sister has a huge walnut tree in her yard and I still get a good supply each year.
    The problem with hickory nuts is you crack and eat them until you get hungry and have to go inside for a cold biscuit and peanut butter. They’re good but a lot of work for a small reward.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    February 17, 2014 at 7:21 am

    These cookies look delightful! Deer Hunter can keep on not liking them, more for you and the girls. LOL

  • Reply
    Judy Mincey
    February 17, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Sounds delicious, I can almost smell them baking. I wonder if there is a story behind The Deer Hunter’s aversion?

  • Reply
    February 17, 2014 at 7:12 am

    Black walnuts helped early Appalachian survival. I love to find trees growing near old homesteads.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    February 17, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Sounds good! I love black walnuts! I put them in anything that calls for nuts. Right now my favorite nut is the hickory nut, because we have about 9 quarts of them in the freezer.

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