There's one kind of Christmas cookie that I MUST have every year. One of those, "....it's not Christmas unless..." kind of cookies. You know what I mean. For me it's the snowball also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies and Russian Tea Cakes. My mom used to have this little hard plastic box filled with Betty Crocker Recipe cards. Anyone remember those? I can still see the card for the colored sugar coated Russian Tea Cakes...green, purple and red. Magical to my 8-year-old eyes. I'm not sure when my mom started making them covered in powdered sugar but that's what she's done for years and it's how I make them and they are my favorite and my best.
The recipe is pretty basic and you can find it all over the web and as a rule I prefer the original taste of the crumbly, buttery shortbread gems but this year, what with all the hullabaloo over all things red velvet, I decided to glam mine up a bit.
Here's what I used:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar plus extra for rolling
1 tsp almond extract
2 tbsps unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp red food coloring
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment. Cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Mix in the almond extract, food coloring and cocoa powder. Once incorporated, add the flour and pecans.
Roll into generous 1-inch balls and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for a couple of minutes and then, while still warm, roll into powdered sugar.
Personally, I like to roll mine twice because the first sugaring kind of melts around the warm cookie and the powdery look is lost. Watch out for little hands sneaking cookies when you're not looking (or when you're busy taking pictures for your blog).
And expect sprinkles of white all over your clothes - it's one of the perks! They also make it impossible for others not to know what you've been up to in the kitchen .
Aren't they pretty though? Love the dark red against the white and just a hint of chocolate in each gorgeous bite. They're perfect to give to your neighbors this Christmas.