Snowball Cookies

 I am sure many of you remember the popular snowball cookie growing up and your family’s special twist on it. I like to add mixed nuts and ground cardamom to mine but that is a new practice that I have started myself. I just love the taste of cardamom in things both sweet and savory. It seems that regardless of where I go or how many years pass I enjoy keeping the traditions that I was brought up with alive through my own family as well. These cookies are a lot like the popular Mexican wedding cake and Russian Tea Cakes which was another favorite in my home growing up; tea cakes have been around for centuries. Regardless of the variations snowball cookies are a great treat.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups ground mixed nuts
2-3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 pound butter (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Powdered sugar, to coat (about 1 cup)

1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add sugar, cardamom and the vanilla and beat until well blended. Beat in the flour, then nuts. Wrap separately in cling film and chill until cold, about 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add the powdered sugar in a shallow bowl. Set the sugar aside.

3. Working with the chilled dough, roll 1 scant tablespoon of dough between your palms into balls. Arrange the balls on a large baking sheet, spacing them 1/2 inch apart. Bake for about 18 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom and just pale golden on top.

4. Cool the cookies for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then gently toss or roll the warm cookies in sugar to coat them completely. Transfer the coated cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Sift any remaining cinnamon sugar over the cookies and serve.

Yields: 20