February 18, 2013: I am beginning my Snowball Cookie Journey. Sometime last week, a container of Big Island Delights Snowball Cookies appeared on the kitchen counter in the office. By the time I saw it there, only a few cookies were left. Given the fact that there are some rather lepo (Hawaiian word for dirty or filthy) people in my office, I decided to pass on the free cookies. Unfortunately, the picture of the snowball cookies was imprinted on my mind, and no matter what I did, I knew I had to address my snowball cookie yearning.
While I spent a lot of time baking cookies, I never made snowball cookies. I'm not sure why I never made them, but there was always something better to make or the season demanded I make something else. I did an internet search, and the 1st recipe I saw was the Land O' Lakes recipe. I figured these people make butter, so they should know what they are doing. I decided to try the Land O' Lakes recipe.
Just so we are on the same page here, what I'm calling "snowball cookie" has a number of aliases: Russian Tea Cookie, Mexican Wedding Cookie, Melting Moments (in a few cookbooks). The nut-flecked cookie is usually rolled twice in powdered sugar, once when warm and again when cool. The double powdered sugaring process results in a thick layer which quickly turns gooey upon contact with fingers.
Before I could actually try the recipe, I made the mistake of pausing to think about how neat it would be if the powdered sugar could be colored to match the seasons. I read somewhere that its easy to color powdered sugar. . .just put some in a blender and drop in some food coloring. Whirrrrrr it up, and its all good. Wrong. The color was barely discernible. The Help told me that I didn't use enough powdered sugar, so he proceeded to show me how it was done. Epic fail...he used nearly a whole bag of powdered sugar, but we still ended up with sugar which was barely colored.
I proceeded with the Land O' Lakes recipe. Things seemed fine right up until the rolling in powdered sugar while warm. Upon contacting the warm cookie, the food coloring flecks seemed to separate from the powdered sugar, turning the cookies the color of mold (I used green food coloring). The second roll (cool) did nothing to help; in fact, it exacerbated the mold look. With the exception of the color, the cookies were fine (fine=okay/edible), but judging from the looks of the cookie (the inside, not the coating), there was no way the Ds would go for it. Even for my taste, they were a bit too nutty.
I spent over an hour this afternoon going through my cookbook collection for variations on the snowball cookie recipe. I have decided on the next recipe to try, once I finish eating all the "mold" cookies.
March 17, 2013: The search for the best snowball cookie recipe continues. . .
If its not the over-abundance of nuts, I don't like the "raw" taste some of the cookies have. The latest recipe I tried calls for a fast bake. A fast bake is good for conserving electricity, but its not worth saving a few $ on electricity if the cookies aren't cooked right.
December 2013: These are the cookies I will be giving out as coworker gifts. I love these cookies. They are not too nutty. . .they are just right. I bake them longer than most recipes because I detest the thought and mouth-feel of underbaked cookies. And with the colored powdered sugar fiasco behind me, the cookies will be snowy white.
click on recipe title for printable recipe
1 c butter, softened
1/2 c powdered sugar
2 1/2 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c nuts, chopped
Cream butter and powdered sugar. Add flour and salt and stir well. Add vanilla and nuts. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a #50 disher, scoop portions of dough. Roll into balls and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet (regular, not AirBake). Because this dough does not spread, it may be possible to fit the entire recipe on a single sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove to cooling rack and let cool 10 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar. When completely cool roll in powdered sugar again. Makes 33 cookies.
He received an inquiry for a food photography shoot (didn't I say he was a FOOD photographer?) from a local business. He was stoked. I'm hoping it will work out. Just on the heels of that, the HuffPost's Taste section featured one of his pics. The Char Siu Bao pic is his. Of course they didn't give any credit to the person who actually made those bao! And sadly, my kids are familiar with many of those customs!
|my favorite pic from the season|