In Part Two of my 2017 Christmas Cookie Extravaganza, I’ve got a recipe that is seasonal for the entire winter, not just Christmas, and, under other names, can be made all year long: Snowball Cookies! I’m posting this one today for two reasons. One, it seemed particularly fitting to post about snowballs when I’ve spent the past couple of days in Wyoming doing snow-related activities (largely cross country skiing). Two, as I hit “post”, I’m hanging out with my best friend from college, Cate, who was the first person to make me a variation of these back in college, though if I remember correctly she used pine nuts, not walnuts.
Regardless, they are a good, not-too-sweet, probably-should-be-served-with-tea cookie that looks pretty piled up in a bowl rather than stacked on a platter. And they take minimal effort for an impressive-looking result. All qualities that belong firmly in the “pro” category. Only con? There is no way to avoid having fingers coated in confectioners sugar. Though, there are worse things to make a mess with. Even your kitchen can look like a snow storm!
First, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Next, beat in the vanilla extract and salt. Beat in the flour in two additions, scraping down the bowl after each. Stir in the chopped walnuts with a wooden spoon to incorporate. Divide the dough into two equal balls, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 45 minutes. When ready to bake, roll dough into balls by the tablespoon and place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes, until just beginning to brown and not yet cracked on the top. Cool cookies for 2 minutes on the baking sheet before rolling each in confectioners sugar and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cookies are cool, roll them a second time in confectioners sugar, and place back on the wire rack. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. Feel free to just throw them all in – no parchment paper necessary.
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups walnuts, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, for dusting
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Beat in vanilla extract and salt to incorporate.
- Beat in flour in two additions, scraping down the sides after each addition.
- Stir in the walnuts with a wooden spoon.
- Divide dough into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
- Roll dough by the tablespoon into balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes, until just starting to brown, and before cracks appear on the surface. Allow to cool two minutes on baking sheet before rolling each cookie in confectioners sugar for the first time. Place on wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cookies are cool, roll them in confectioners sugar for the second time to coat.