using the same method as my mazarins, these were originally "walnut cups" or "walnut petites." this is the one husband's co-workers look for when he brings the tin of cookies from home. this year i could only send one type and i bucked my own tradition by using cashews instead of walnuts, just because i like them.
Cashew Petites? based on a recipe from Gourmet magazine, Dec. 1993
1 stick (1/2 cup)unsalted butter, room temperature
3 ozs. cream cheese, room temp.
1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 tbsp. melted & cooled butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped cashews, roasted unsalted
In the bowl of an electric mixer cream 1 stick of butter with the cream cheese until the mixture is light and fluffy, add the flour and the salt, and beat the mixture until it forms a dough. Form the dough into 2 logs and chill it, wrapped in plastic wrap, for 30 minutes. Slice into disks and press into 36 1/8 cup muffin tins and work the dough evenly onto the bottoms and up the sides of the tins to form 1/8-in. shells.
Preheat the oven to 375F. In a bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, melted butter, and vanilla until the mixture is combined well. Divide the filling among the shells, sprinkle it with the cashews, and bake the cashew cups in the middle of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crusts are golden. Let the cookies cool in the tins on racks for 10 minutes, remove them from the tins carefully (using the sharp tip of a knife), and let them cool completely in the racks. The cashew cups may be made 2 months in advance and kept frozen in airtight containers.
Makes 36 cookies. Easily doubled.