Cookie Calendar: Almond Snowball Cookies

We're back from our vacation, and Advent is just beginning -- it's time to start the Cookie Countdown to Christmas!

I'll kick off this year with one of my favorite holiday cookies. Like many of my favored cookie recipes, it is heavy on nuts. Nuts (but especially almonds, which I also enjoy as marzipan) add a great richness and special holiday flavor to cookies.

I apologize in advance to everyone with nut allergies, and I will try to feature nut-free cookies as well.

Almond Snowballs came to me via the Food Network's 12 Days of Cookies Newsletter. I believe it was the inaugural newsletter that featured this recipe, as a matter of fact. (By the way, Food Network -- why won't you send me the newsletter this year? What gives?)

That year was also the first time I seriously got into holiday cookie baking. Since then, I've made it a holiday tradition to whip up as many varieties as I can each year to serve as our Christmas dessert (as well as filling out the platters on any holiday get-togethers before and after).

These cookies are intended to be made in the food processor, which is a necessity if you plan to make your own almond meal. However, if you buy almond meal (ground-up almonds) at the store or if you do the grinding in a mini-chopper, it's perfectly fine to do the rest with your mixer.

Cookie Tip #1: Don't overbake! Cookies (including Almond Snowballs) dry out if they spend too much time in the oven. Generally, pull them as soon as they turn lightly golden around the edges, and then let them rest for about a minute on the trays to firm up before removing them to wire cooling racks.

Almond Snowballs
Source: Food Network
Yield: 30 cookies

  • ¾ cup sliced almonds

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, sliced and softened (1 1/2 sticks)

  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ⅛ teaspoon almond extract

  • 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour

  • ½ teaspoon fine salt

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

Pulse the almonds and sugar in a food processor until very finely ground. Add the butter and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape the dough off the inside of the bowl, if needed. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and pulse to combine. Add the flour and salt and pulse to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of waxed paper and roll into a log about 15 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut the chilled dough into 1/2-inch pieces and roll by hand into balls. Space the cookies evenly on the prepared baking sheets and bake until slightly golden, rotating the sheets once, 15 to 20 minutes. Put the confectioners' sugar in a pie plate. Briefly cool the cookies on a rack, then gently toss in the confectioners' sugar until evenly coated. Return to rack, cool to room temperature, and then toss again in the confectioners' sugar.


Almond extract and finely ground almonds create a distinct flavor while confectioners' sugar adds a festive element.

Download Almond Snowball Cookies into MacGourmet.

No comments: