Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas sno-ball cookies

12/12/07 Cook’s Corner
Betty Kaiser

Ladies and gentlemen, start your ovens! ‘Tis the season to baking! Now is the time to be sorting through your Christmas recipes and choosing the ones you will be preparing. December 25 is just around the corner.
I am always motivated to get organized early because we will soon host our annual neighborhood cookie party. Show time is coming up and I’d better be ready.
In many ways, the finding and sorting is as hard as the baking. During the holidays, my kitchen ghost seriously messes with my filing system (at least that’s my story). Otherwise, how can I explain that the cookie recipes I want are often found filed under ‘casseroles’ or even ‘fish’? It takes time to find these rascals, so do it now!
Once the recipes are found, I must narrow my choices. Realistically, too much sugar is not in our best interests. So I reluctantly limit myself to no more than a half-dozen variety of goodies to be served to company over the next few weeks.
Here’s this year’s plan:
a. Sugar cookies: cut out, iced and decorated
b. Bar cookies: Cranberry Macadamia Nut and Lemon
c. A fruitcake for Chuck
d. Something chocolate for me
e. Pecan pie on Christmas Day
f. Snowball cookies
I love this last category because they’re delicious, easy, showy and everyone’s favorite. The recipes come from different cultures but the base ingredients are all the same: butter, sugar, flour and nuts. Other ingredients are optional.
The following snowball recipes are simple enough for the kids to help you assemble but elegant enough to serve company with a dish of sherbet. Just remember to be creative with garnishes and hide them from men and teenagers until company arrives. Enjoy!

Cherry Hazelnut Snowballs

1-cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups sifted flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup red maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
½ cup roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
½ teaspoon vanilla
Additional sifted powder sugar

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add flour and salt; blend thoroughly. Stir in cherries, nuts, and vanilla extract. Chill overnight.

Shape chilled dough into small balls and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake in a 300° oven for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from sheets and cool. When cool, dust with extra powdered sugar.

Note: substituting green maraschino cherries or other candied fruit for the red cherries can change the appearance of these cookies. Don’t mix the colors or they will look muddy!

Lemon Snow Balls

¾ cup butter, room temperature
3 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1-teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 cups flour, sifted
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
Additional sifted powdered sugar

Cream together butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add one-cup sugar and beat well. Stir in vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add flour and mix well. Stir in nuts. Roll into small balls and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 300° for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pan and roll in extra powdered sugar while still hot. Roll again when cool.

Note: substituting orange juice and zest for the lemon can easily change the flavor of these cookies.

Mexican Wedding Cakes

1-cup soft butter
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sifted flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Sifted powdered sugar

Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add salt, vanilla, flour and nuts. Blend well. Refrigerate until easy to handle.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls or 2-inch crescents. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350°, 12-15 minutes or until very lightly browned. While still warm, roll cookies in powdered sugar. Roll again when cool.

Keep it simple and keep it seasonal! 
Betty Kaiser’s Cook’s Corner is dedicated to sharing a variety of recipes
that are delicious, family oriented and easy to prepare.

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