‘Tis the season of painfully cliché Hallmark movies: the constant reworking of the same plot line tinted with near-overwhelming Christmas cheer. The holiday finds the return of an independent working girl to her small, gossiping hometown to coincidentally reconnect with a high-school not-so-sweetheart. Christmas carols and gift wrapping turn into an irritating almost-kiss under the mistletoe. The directors test our patience, leaving us waiting until the last two minutes of the movie to see their lips finally collide under the first fall of snow.
Everything in these movies approaches a sense of being extraordinarily overdone, but nevertheless, they perfect the feeling of home. Each film bestows the warm, cozy, holiday atmosphere complemented by the recurrent scene of Christmas cookies by the fire light. Every time I switch the channel to Hallmark, there is an incessant desire to have cookies on standby and to fantasize about awakening to Boston beautifully frosted the next morning.
As temperatures are quickly dropping, I am longing to see the first fall of snow to remind me why the exchange of a light jacket for my bulky puffer coat, that still fails to keep me warm, is worth it. Images of how nice it ought to be to attend college in Florida run through my mind, but the magnificent glisten of snow in Boston calls me to be thankful for the unwanted chill. Hopefully, we will be seeing snow sooner rather than later, but until then, these snowball cookies guarantee to satisfy our winter appetites and give us something to reach for when our televisions tease us with the perfect holiday setting. And even better, they will promise to leave us merry as exam season rolls around.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for rolling/dusting the cookies
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
½ to 2 cups ground pecans
In a large bowl, cut the butter into 1-inch cubes and lightly warm in the microwave or, preferably, remove the butter from the refrigerator, allowing it to soften for 10 minutes at room temperature. If you choose to microwave the butter, be careful not to heat it for too long; you are looking for a soft but not melted consistency. Next, cream the butter with an electric mixer on its lowest speed setting or whisk by hand until you see the fluffy texture that is desired.
Add in the remaining ingredients—the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, flour, and ground nuts. I typically use pecans, however, you can adjust the choice of nuts to your preference. Ground walnuts and almonds are also commonly used with this recipe. Mix the ingredients well and then chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 325℉. Roll out the dough into 1-inch balls and place evenly on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. While the cookies are still warm, roll them in confectioners’ sugar to give them that dusty, snow-ball appearance. Let the cookies cool, and then roll them in the sugar once again to make sure they are evenly coated. Enjoy!
Cover photo courtesy of Delish