Somewhere between now and last summer, fall flew by, and snowballed right on into winter.
Fall is always a flurry for us. There are all these close family birthdays - practically all the girls, big and small - boom, boom, boom -- from the beginning of fall, on past Thanksgiving...Either we're celebrating with the ones here or we're visiting the farther ones for a couple of weeks; then they visit here, for a week or two...Everyone picks up the first colds/flu of the year while traveling to and fro, then passes it around, which tags on extra down time to travel time. And next thing I know, time has flown. Fall is gone. Winter is here. Funny how that happens. Every. Dang. Time...and yet, every year, it still, comes as a huge surprise to me. December, the what...?? Winter? Christmas? You mean, like, Now? RIGHT Now?!
Which leaves me doing things like making 5 or 6 dozen snowball cookies in the middle of the night.
Similar to what some people call wedding cookies and others call Russian tea cakes, a friend sent a recipe to me, long ago. I don't think it was her own, but one that someone else had passed on to her - I'm not sure where she got it (and she's now beyond asking). I've tweaked it a bit, here and there, over the years - you know, like when I wake up to reality, that is, sometime around bedtime, a few nights before Christmas and realize that K's office Christmas party is perhaps <ahem> the Very Next Day and decide it's high time to get baking.
Last minute is not when I'd advise anyone else making these, as they do take some time...Unless you really, Really want a cookie that practically melts in your mouth like butter (which should come as no surprise with these butter babies - a whole pound, worth). In which case, then go ahead - because even leaving them to the last minute, I always think when I taste the first snowball cookie of the season, they are worth all the time and effort (and all that butter).
If you try them, let me know how you liked them. I hope you love them as much as we do.
I hope you all have a merry Christmas, happy New Year and jolly holidays, whatever you celebrate.
White Chocolate Snowball Cookies
(makes approx. 4 - 5 dozen, depending upon snowball size)
1 lb softened butter (I use salted)
1 c. regular sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 c. sifted flour
2 c. finely chopped pecans or walnuts
A handful or two of white chocolate chips or white chocolate kisses (remove foil/paper)
1 c. (or so) powdered sugar for rolling
Preheat oven to 375 F. Place pecans/nuts in ziplock bag & smash them with a rolling pin, till most of them are nearly as finely ground as the flour. In a large bowl, cream the butter, regular sugar & vanilla till fluffy. Add the flour and nuts, a little at a time, till well blended.
Cover the bowl and chill (for 10 - 20 minutes). Spoon up enough of the dough (about a tsp or two), to shape into a ball around 2 white chocolate chips or 1 unwrapped kiss. Roll lightly between your palms to round the snowball. Don't overwork the dough but be sure to cover the kisses or chips thoroughly. Place on a plate and refrigerate the first batch for about 5 -10 minutes (leave the rest covered in the fridge, till you're ready to bake them).
After chilling, place on a cool baking sheet, covered with parchment paper (or an ungreased cookie sheet, if you don't have any parchment paper, because say, you waited to the last minute for shopping too and the store was all out...You know, theoretically speaking. Using parchment is optimal, but doing without it still works. They'll just be a little browner on the bottom, than a snowball technically should be). (For the record, I actually Did have parchment paper. This year. Yay me!)
Bake at 375 F. for 12 min or until set, but not brown (watch carefully - they can go from snowball to brownie, very quickly - and you really want to keep that mostly white, snowball look). Set aside to cool for a minute, then dust with powdered sugar while still slightly warm.
Happy New Year!