Wild Hickory Nut Shortbread Cookies

Crisp short bread cookies made with wild foraged hickory nuts. [Photograph: Yossy Arefi]

Wildly nutty and buttery but not overly sweet tasting, these shortbread cookies are based on a recipe from Yossy Arefi.

Note: Pecans can be used in place of the wild hickory nuts.

About the Author: Tama Matsuoka Wong is corporate lawyer turned professional forager who supplies wild plants to chefs in the New York City area and leads events across the country about the deliciousness of wild ingredients.

Every recipe we publish is tested, tasted, and Serious Eats-approved by our staff. Never miss a recipe again by following @SeriousRecipes on Twitter!

Wild Hickory Nut Shortbread Cookies

About This Recipe

Yield:makes about 3 dozen cookies
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:2 1/2 hours
This recipe appears in: Foraged Flavor: Wild Hickory Nuts


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon zest from 1 orange (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (about 10 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup roughly and finely chopped wild hickory nuts (see note above)


  1. 1

    Cream butter in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment at medium-low speed. Alternatively, beat with a wooden spoon in a bowl until creamy and aerated. Add the orange zest and salt. Next add sugar and flour, stirring until just combined. Finally, stir in the nuts. The dough should hold together but still be dry. Form the cookie dough into 2- by 12-inch log and wrap tightly in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

  2. 2

    When ready to bake, adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions and preheat oven to 325ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice the cookie dough into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange on cookie sheets leaving 1-inch between cookies. Bake until the edges are light golden brown, rotating the pans front to back and top to bottom halfway through, 10 to 12 minutes total. Let cool slightly and serve. Fully cooled cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

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