Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why I Love the Holidays

There are so many things about the holiday season that make it fabulous. Some of my favorites are the decorations, seeing my family from the west coast, eating an absurd amount of food, watching "A Christmas Story" for 24 hours straight, and the many twelve days of cookies lists that arrive. I mean, it's just an excuse for me to look at the food porn on various websites for hours at a time.

These beauties are a result of one such twelve-day list. They came from and as soon as I saw the title I knew they had to have a spot on the Christmas table this year. Cashew Butter Balls. Does the name not make your mouth water? It should. Otherwise, there must be something wrong with you and a trip to the doctor may be in order.

My mommy makes two cookies similar to these every year: walnut puffs and pecan sandies. They're the same idea, but hers simply have finely chopped nuts in them. For these, the cashews morph into a fine powder in the food processor and then get mixed in with the flour and other ingredients.

They are delicious, melt-in-your-mouth delicacies that are sure to run out quick. The only problem I had was dipping the balls into the powdered sugar. The recipe asks you to dip them in sugar while still warm from the oven. I think I dipped too early though because the first few completely fell apart (not that this is a bad thing--perfect excuse for a little taste test). I'd say wait at least two to three minutes before the first dip.

Otherwise, these Cashew Butter Balls are perfect! Enjoy!

Cashew Butter Balls

1¼ cups raw cashews

1¾ cups all-purpose flour

Pinch ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter

⅓ cup granulated sugar

1½ cups confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the cashews on a sheet pan and place in the oven. Bake until the cashews are toasted and fragrant, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the cashews from the oven and set aside to cool completely. Once cool, place the cashews in a food processor and pulse until finely ground.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground cashews, flour, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

3. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and the granulated sugar until lightened and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the flour mixture and mix until a dough just begins to form. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

4. Preheat the oven to 300°. Using your hands, roll the chilled dough into 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet spaced about an inch apart. Place in the oven and bake until just firm to the touch, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and cool slightly.

5. In a medium bowl, add the confectioners' sugar; roll the warm cookies in the sugar mixture. Transfer the cookies back to the cooling rack and cool completely. Gently roll in the sugar mixture once more. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.


No comments:

Post a Comment