We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cookie Recipe #15 - Snowballs

I'm a little late getting a new recipe up today because we decided to take a ride out by the coast. Today is the beginning of 7-8 days of rain storms and wind arriving which usually makes the waves on the ocean something to observe. Mother Nature puts on quite a show. Our friends, Anand and Sharon, live in Aptos in a house overlooking the ocean. The waves weren't overly powerful, but are still fun to watch. So, I started this recipe before we left, stuck it in the refrigerator, then took off. All I had to do when I got home was bake them.
Snowballs are known by other names: Mexican Wedding Cookies, Walnut Balls, etc. They consist of walnut-filled dough rolled in powdered sugar. There are also variations of recipes for this cookie, but the following is the one I have found most tasty and retains its shape better than others.
Ingredients: 3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 t. cinnamon, 1 1/2 cup (3 sticks)butter, softened, 3/4 cup light corn syrup, 1/2 tablespoon vanilla, 1/2 tablespoon almond extract, 1 cup or more of powdered sugar, 2 cups ground walnuts.
Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Measure out the powdered sugar and place in small bowl; set aside. In large mixing bowl, cream butter; add corn syrup, vanilla and almond extract; mix well. Sift flour and cinnamon over dough, then blend completely. Stir in walnuts. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (good time to go look at the waves or enjoy some other form of nature!).
Using floured fingers and spoon, form dough into 2 inch balls and roll in a bowl of powdered sugar until completely covered. Place on ungreased baking sheets about 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 13-15 minutes. Cookies should crackle a little on top, but should retain their shape and upon lifting have a lightly browned bottom. Allow to cool on baking sheet for a minute, then, if desired, you may roll them a second time in the powdered sugar before placing them on cooling racks.
Makes about 5 dozen balls. Have a napkin ready for the powdered sugar spillings if you don't pop them in your mouth quick enough!
Cookies Rule!!!