Life is Sweet |

Life is Sweet

Vera Dawson

Living in Summit County is pure joy. Baking in it isn’t. High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out the same as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips to make baking in the High Country successful. Each recipe has been tested numerous times in my home kitchen in Frisco and, whenever necessary, altered until it works. This cookie recipe is a classic. Almost every cookie cookbook I’ve seen has a rendition of it. Some are called Mexican Wedding Cookies, others Butter Balls, Pecan Balls or Snowballs. They are all very good and easy to prepare. I usually include them on holiday dessert trays. In fact, I recently took a bunch to the Bill’s Ranch holiday party, hosted by Frank and Barb Hofmeister, and came home empty-handed. They aren’t just Christmas cookies, however. I make them throughout the year. They are lovely with fruit or sorbet as a dessert in the summer. This version of the cookie comes from a recipe of my mother’s that is so old she wrote it with a typewriter! I’ve often doubled it and frozen half of the cookies for later use. They can stay in the freezer for at least a month if well wrapped.

Snowballs Makes 2 dozen one-inch cookies1/2 cup of pecans, toasted and cooled (take the time to toast the nuts, it really makes a difference.) Chop them fine if using the traditional method to make this cookie. There is no need to chop them if you use the food processor method. 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, room temperature for traditional method; cold for processor method.1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar; you’ll need another cup or so for coating the finished cookies1/2 teaspoon vanilla2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons flour (gently spoon into cup and level; don’t dip measuring cup into flour or you’ll get too much and the cookie will be tough)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. This will help prevent overbaking, particularly if your cookie sheets are anything other than shiny aluminum. It also makes cleanup easier. Don’t grease the foil or the cookies may spread.There are two ways to make this cookie:Food Processor MethodStep One: Put nuts, flour and sugar in work bowl and process until mixed.Step Two: Add the butter in about six pieces and pulse until partially mixed with dry ingredients. Step Three: Mix cream and vanilla together in a small bowl and add to the dough with the machine off. Process until the dough just comes together, don’t let it form a ball.

Step four: Roll dough into balls one inch in diameter and place on the cookie sheet, spacing them about one inch apart. If the dough is soft, flour your hands, Step Five: Refrigerate the cookie sheet, with the dough balls on it, for about 20 minutes or until the balls are quite firm to the touch. This will prevent them from spreading.Traditional Method:Step One: Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until it is creamy and light in color.Step Two: Add the cream and vanilla and mix until well combined.Step Three: By hand, stir in the flour and pecans with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the dough comes together.Step Four: Roll the dough into one inch balls and place on the cookie sheet, spacing them about one inch apart. If the dough is so soft it is hard to handle, flour your hands.

Step Five: Refrigerate until dough balls are quite firm to the touch. This will prevent them from spreading.Both Methods:Step Six: Bake in the center of the oven for about 15 minutes or until they are just firm and starting to color. The bottom should be lightly colored, firm and fully cooked (check one cookie).Step Seven: Remove from oven, wait about 2-3 minutes, and carefully slide each cookie to a cooling rack.Step Eight: When cool, put confectioner’s sugar in small bowl and roll each cookie in it until well coated.Store these pretty things between sheets of waxed paper in a plastic container at room temperature or freeze them. If you don’t serve them immediately, they benefit from another coating of powdered sugar before being presented.If your business or organization would like to sample and review a baked good for the Life Is Sweet column, contact Vera Dawson at

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