MAKES 4 DOZEN
Dredging these melt-in-your-mouth cookies twice—first while still warm and again after they've cooled—insures a generous covering of powdery sugar.
1 cup finely ground walnuts
2 1⁄4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1⁄2 lb. unsalted butter, softened
1⁄2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus 2 cups
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Combine walnuts, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside. Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed. Gradually add 1⁄4 cup sugar and beat until mixture is fluffy. Beat in vanilla, then reduce speed and add flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
2. Using your hands, shape dough, 1 tbsp. at a time, into small balls, then place about 1" apart on buttered nonstick baking sheets. Bake until cookies are slightly golden, about 10 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool for 5–10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, place remaining 1–2 cups sugar on a large plate. Roll cookies, while still warm, in sugar, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once cookies are completely cool, roll them again in sugar.