Even though it’s easy for me to ask for the check and skip the dessert menu, I do have a twinge of nostalgia when it comes to the cookie jar. A kind, grandmotherly sort of woman who used to live across the street from me when I was but a grade-schooler would often indulge my precocious conversation and offer me my choice of vanilla or chocolate sandwich cookie from the container she kept on her kitchen counter. She also gave me a small china statue of the Virgin Mary which I still cherish well into adulthood and well past my Catholicism, but I have to say, I miss her cookie jar.

However, I’m reliving some of that related joy this week. A friend gifted me a nifty little recipe book that boasts 100 variations on a basic butter cookie dough, and I wanted to make a batch for her in appreciation of her thoughtfulness. Though I was initially attracted to some of the more complex examples, in the end I settled on this simpler cashew and poppy seed slice-and-bake treat, which turns out a cookie that I’d call “bonus shortbread.” Not too sweet, and a perfect partner for afternoon tea and conversation. I put some of them in a tin right beside my kettle where they look quite at home.

Cashew and Poppy Seed Cookies
from 1 Dough, 100 Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 sugar
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 cup cashews, chopped
3 T poppy seeds (or enough to coat outside edge of cookies)

Cashew and Poppy Seed Cookies: Process

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt, and nuts. Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg yolk and continue mixing until well combined. Add in flour/nut mixture in two batches. Dough should be stiff enough to form into a log (take care not to leave an air pocket in the middle as I did). Spread poppy seeds in a shallow dish and roll the log through them to coat. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for 60 minutes or until firm.

Preheat over to 375°F.

Remove chilled dough from plastic and slice into 1/2-inch rounds. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 12 minutes, until lightly golden at the edges (I did not get much color, so don’t wait on this). Allow to cool for 10 minutes on the sheets before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.