Walnut Snowball CookiesDecember 13, 2016 By Cathy — 18 Comments
Your holiday cookie table is just not complete without these nutty, buttery snowball cookies.
Here I go again. I’m getting all sentimental about the holidays. But I swear it’s not my fault this time. I’m typing this while my house is quiet…all three boys are safely tucked in bed. I’m nestled under a cozy blanket on the sofa, sipping a glass of red wine with only the glow of the Christmas tree illuminating the room. I’m also knee-deep into season three of Friday Night Lights which, by the way, is only making me more sappy.
For all of you Friday Night Lights fans, I know, I know, I’m ten years late to the party. And as a bit of a pop culture whore, it’s frankly unacceptable that it’s taken me this long to dive into the show that literally (yes literally) everyone I know has been telling me to watch for years. So, you know what I did? I resisted watching a show that of course I knew I would love. Just because too many people told me I would love it. I never claimed to be reasonable. Stubborn yes, reasonable, eh.
So, yep, they were right. Not only do I love this show, but some might say I’m borderline-addicted. The highs! The lows! The highly flawed, yet lovable characters! Binge watching this series is quite frankly the enemy of a proper night’s sleep, not that I’ve ever been very good at that.
So here I sit, nursing a glass of red, admiring our well-lit tree and feeling all the feelings. As I watch this show that focuses on family dynamics, rebellious teens and dysfunction, of course it makes me think about my own family. The good, the bad, the real.
I’m reflecting on my childhood, all of the Christmas memories and how they’ve shaped the way I think about the holidays. How I want my children to perceive and experience the holidays. Christmas was about family and friends when I was a kid, not just presents tucked under the tree. It was about baking and cooking and decorating and welcoming people into our home. It was about too much food and always enough drink.
It was quite simply, the happiest we all were. Problems evaporated, teenager-itis was temporarily put on hold and we enjoyed each other. I’m sure it wasn’t perfect, but that’s the beauty of memories, they’re selective. I remember those large multi-colored bulbs on the tree, the paper-mache angel I made always perched upon the mantel, the smell of my dad’s onion pizza baking.
I remember pressing my thumb into cookies for jam, drizzling glaze over Italian cookies and rolling warm nut cookies into powdered sugar. These snowball cookies are those memories. This recipe (with some minor tweaking) is the recipe I baked with my mom every Christmas. It’s not fussy and it’s not fancy, but it’s tasty and it’s buttery and it’s sweet.
I popped one into my son’s mouth tonight and his eyes lit up. He chewed, swallowed and smiled. And then he said thank you to me for making the holidays so special. Hopefully his memory will always stay so selective. Clear eyes, full hearts can’t lose.
- 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup confectioners sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup ground walnuts (or very finely chopped)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup confectioners sugar for topping
- Cream together the butter and the sugar.
- Mix in the flour, salt, ground walnuts and vanilla and blend until just incorporated.
- Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Portion the dough into 30 level tablespoons and then roll each into a ball.
- Place the balls on a parchment lined sheet pan, about an inch apart. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 mins before baking.
- Bake until golden, about 20 mins, rotating the pan once.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pan for about 5 mins.
- Place the confectioners sugar in a bowl and toss the warm cookies into the sugar a few at a time until coated.
- After all the cookies are sugared, toss them a second time in the confectioners sugar.
- Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.