Thursday, December 23, 2004

And now for something completely different

Because of the holiday season I thought I'd get away from the usual garden blog and share a favorite Christmas cookie recipe. This is a very easy cookie to make and I'm constantly amazed that many people seem not to have had it before or maybe what they had was made with Crisco or margarine making it a very ordinary cookie. They really rave about this cookie recipe. It's a variation on the Russian tea cookie (tea ball) or also sometimes called Mexican wedding cake. Please use real butter. Do not substitute the butter with shortening or magarine. I've had it both ways and believe me it's a whole "nudder" cookie.

1 cup butter (2 sticks)room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 t. vanilla (please use real vanilla)
pinch of salt
2 1/4 cups all purpose unbleached flour (packed)
1/2 t. baking soda
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
powdered sugar for sprinkling

Beat the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt until well mixed and fluffy. Using a Kitchen Aid mixer saves a lot of time and sore arms because the dough is fairly stiff.

Add flour and baking soda and mix well.

Form into 3/4 inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheet. You can place the cookies fairly closely because they don't flatten and expand very much.

Bake in a 350 degree oven, middle rack for 13-15 minutes. The cooking time is approximate. The cookies should have a light tan color. The color is a better indicator for doness.

Cool completely on racks. This is important. Many recipes tell you to sprinkle with powdered sugar while the cookies are warm. If you do this you'll end up with a mungy mess. When the cookies have cooled completely, place in a large ziploc bag along with a good amount of powdered sugar and shake gently.

You'll be rewarded with a crisp yet melt in your mouth ball of goodness with the taste of butter and vanilla predominating.

I don't know why people eat store bought crappy cookies when these are so good and easy to make.

Bon appetite.


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