by Anne Paddock
Every December, I make my family’s favorite holiday treat: Snowball Cookies, a buttery pecan cookie that melts in your mouth. The recipe came from my grandmother who was born in 1910 whose mother (my great-grandmother) came from Switzerland. I don’t know if the original recipe came from my great-grandmother (who was an amazing bread maker according to family lore) or if my grandmother started the tradition of passing down favorite holiday cookie recipes. No matter as the snowball cookie is one of those small delights that we all look forward to every December and one I’m sure my daughter will make for her own family one day.
The Snowball Cookie is not one of those beautiful holiday cookies that look too good to eat or that looks better than it tastes. In fact, the cookie looks rather plain covered in white confectionary sugar but the taste will knock your socks off – they’re that good. How could a cookie not be amazing with sweet creamy butter and pecans? The recipe is simple with only seven ingredients: butter, pecans, flour, confectionary sugar, vanilla, salt, and evaporated milk. Blended together these ingredients make approximately 60 of the most delicious “snowballs” you will ever taste.
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks or 12 oz) of unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup of confectionary sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) of evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
3-1/2 cups of all purpose flour
2 cups of pecans
- Put the pecans on a cookie sheet and bake in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove and allow to cool.
- Break the pecans into pieces and set aside.
- Increase the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
- Cream the butter, salt and confectionary sugar with a mixer for about 2 minutes.
- Add the evaporated milk and blend with the mixer for about 1 minute.
- Add the vanilla and blend.
- Add the flour one cup at a time and mix until the dough starts to come together, about 3-4 minutes.
- Sprinkle the pecans over the dough and use a large mixing spoon to blend. The dough will be firm so put some muscle into distributing the pecans evenly into the dough.
- Using your hands, roll the dough into 1-inch balls. The dough is firm (not sticky) and will be easy to use. Place the balls 1 inch apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Bake at 325 degrees for 15-16 minutes. The cookies will not brown but the bottoms will be a light brown color.
- Allow the cookies to cool and then roll the cookies in confectionary sugar.
- Always use unsalted butter.
- Toasting the pecans before adding to the batter makes for a richer nutty flavor.
- The cookies keep their shape during baking and will not spread.
- King Arthur Flour makes a product called “Snow White Non-Melting Sugar” which is a confectionary type of sugar that is excellent for the topping of desserts. The sugar won’t melt or disappear even if the dessert is warm when the sugar is applied. The sugar also won’t melt under plastic wrapped desserts. To order, go to: www.kingarthurflour.com