Dec 16, 2007

Cashew Snowballs

These cookies have all the things I love about shortbread, the crumbly, sandy texture, and the not-too-sweetness, with the additional underlying golden luxuriousness of ground cashews and just a touch of salt to round them out. There's not much sugar in the dough itself, leaving room for the powdered sugar coating that makes them fun for the holidays. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

2 sticks + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar (for dough)
2 cups powdered sugar (for coating after baking)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2 1/4 cups (11 oz.) unsalted, roasted cashews
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pulse cashews in food processor until mostly ground with a few larger bits for texture. Set aside.

Cream butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla in mixer until well combined. Mix in flour, then ground cashews and salt until completely combined.

Put half of the dough on a piece of plastic wrap and form into one-inch thick logs. Enclose in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Repeat with second half of dough. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut each log into half-inch pieces and form into balls in your hand. Bake for 20 minutes.

Fill small bowl or mini loaf pan with the powdered sugar for coating. As soon as you take the cookies from the oven, two at a time, roll them in the powdered sugar completely coating them. Set on plate or sheet pan to cool. Repeat with the rest of the cookies. When completely cool, roll again in the powdered sugar. The heat from the first rolling will melt the sugar onto the cookies creating a very sticky coating. The second coat will stick to the first, creating a more powdery layer.

Be careful or these will end up all over the front of your shirt. I like to make them fairly small, so that they can be eaten in one bite.

Adapted from a Food and Wine recipe.

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