Friday, December 14, 2012

Foodie Fridays: Snowballs

From Land O'Lakes

Way back when I was a freshman in college, I lived in a dorm with a small kitchen available for residents.  This kitchen was not used very often, as most of the students rarely had time to cook.  At the end of the semester, after finals, I found myself with time on my hands before I would be able to head home for Christmas.  This was the first time I had been away for so long, and needless to say I was quite homesick.  I decided that I would do something special for my family, and what I chose to do was bake.  At the time I had done very little baking, so I pulled out one of my few cookbooks (by Betty Crocker, which I still own to this day) and searched for a recipe that was both simple and appropriate for the holidays.  The recipe I selected was for these Snowballs (called Russian Teacakes in my book, but also known as Mexican Wedding Cakes, Swedish Tea Cakes, Italian Butter Nuts, Southern Pecan Butterballs, Sand Tarts, Viennese Sugar Balls, and goodness knows what else!).  Fortunately, they proved to be easy to make and quite delicious.  They were a big hit with my family, and for the rest of my college years these cookies were always part of my ever-expanding repertoire of baked goods for Christmas at home.  Snowballs are the perfect holiday treat, and may just become a tradition for your family as well.  After all, with so many different names from so many different regions, it is obvious that these sweet treats have universal appeal!


1 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. confectioner's sugar (plus extra for rolling)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 C. finely chopped nuts (I prefer pecans)

Thoroughly combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl.  Stir together the flour and salt, then work into the first mixture with the nuts until the dough holds together.  Cover the bowl and chill for about an hour.  Shape the dough into one-inch balls.  Place on ungreased baking sheets about one inch apart.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until set but not brown.  Remove from the oven and cool slightly on wire racks.  Place confectioner's sugar in a shallow bowl and roll the warm cookies in the sugar.  Cool completely, then roll in the sugar once again.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes 4 dozen cookies.

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