My dad loves these, and I made them for him for Christmas. I didn’t have 3 hours to chill the dough, so I froze it, put it in the fridge, then let it thaw a bit on the counter. Worked perfectly.
Also toasted the nuts before adding them in and rolled the cookies in a mixture of powdered sugar and cinnamon. Might experiment with some of the variations in the comments, like adding a mix of almond and vanilla extract and adding some spices directly to the dough.
Update: Toasting the nuts ahead of time didn’t make much of a difference. The oven does that job pretty well haha. This time I replaced the water and vanilla extract with bourbon and added a little cinnamon to the dough. Kept the powdered sugar plain with no spices. These turned out better than last time. I can’t taste the bourbon outright, but there is some depth of flavor that wasn’t there before. Yum!
Also, these seem to spread out more than I remember. When you roll them in sugar while they are still a little warm (per the comments), handle with care. They are still a little soft. But they will cool down.