- 1Â˝ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup confectionersâ€™ sugar, plus an additional Â˝ cup forÂ rolling the cookies, and more for rolling just beforeÂ serving
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon brandy or anise liqueur
- 1 cup (5 ounces) finely chopped walnuts or almonds
- About 30 whole cloves (optional)
The cookies can be baked up to 1 weekÂ ahead.
- Position racks in the center and top third of the ovenÂ and preheat to 350Â°F.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, andÂ salt together. In another large bowl, using a handheldÂ electric mixer set at high speed, beat the butter until light inÂ color and texture, about 2 minutes. Beat in the 1/3 cupÂ confectionersâ€™ sugar, then the egg yolk and brandy, just untilÂ combined. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture,Â then the walnuts, mixing just until smooth.
- Using a level tablespoon for each, roll the dough intoÂ 1-inch balls. Place the balls 1 inch apart on a nonstickÂ cookie sheet. Stud each cookie in the center with a wholeÂ clove, if using.
- Bake, switching the position of the cookie sheets fromÂ top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, untilÂ the cookies are firm to the touch and lightly browned aroundÂ the edges, about 20 minutes. Let the cookies cool on theÂ sheets for 5 minutes. Roll the cookies in the remaining Â˝Â cup confectionersâ€™ sugar, then transfer to wire racks to coolÂ completely. Before serving, roll the cookies again in moreÂ confectionersâ€™ sugar to freshen their coating.