Ever since I was little, my extended family gets together for a day of cooking/baking on three occasions:
- Christmas cookies
- Paczki (pronounced punch-key)
Yep, I may not look it, but I’m half Polish. My 98-year-old grandfather — birth name: Boleslaw — is about as Polish as they come. And just like my Italian heritage, the Polish like to eat.
For the second occasion named above, we make these delicious Almond Snowball Cookies. Always a crowd favorite, and we don’t just make a few.
Have I mentioned we’re competitive cookie makers?
With each batch we make, we tally exactly how many cookies we produce. When I was little, it would be 1,000+ of each batch. What the heck did we do with all those?!
What makes these cookies so special, you ask? Other than the fact that it’s a family recipe, perfected over my lifetime, they’re utterly delicious. The not-to-sweet cookies are just a tad crumbly thanks to the absence of eggs, and the almonds add the perfect texture. I mean — who doesn’t like almonds? (Unless you’re allergic — sorry.)
But warning: these are addicting. It’s reaaaaally hard to eat just one. So why try?
Almond Snowball Cookies
For the Cookies:
8 oz. whole almonds
1 lb. butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 cups flour
3 tsp. vanilla extract
For the Coating:
1/8 tsp. salt
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Skin almonds by soaking in warm water. The nuts should easily pop out of their skins. Lay nuts flat to dry out.
Once almonds are fully dry, grind almonds very finely. (This step is important, otherwise the cookies fall apart!) We typically use a Magic Bullet.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix ground almonds with remaining ingredients.
Using a melon baller, scoop and roll dough into small little balls. Place on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until bottoms are very light brown.
Prep your coating: sift powdered sugar and vanilla and place in a brown paper lunch bag (or 2-3 bags depending on how many batches you’re making). Set aside.
Let cookies cool just slightly. While they’re still a bit warm, place 5-6 cookies into the brown paper bag filled with your powdered sugar mix. Toss gently. Remove cookies and let cool before packing.
Note: If your cookies are too hot when you place them in the sugar, the sugar will melt. If they’re too cold, it won’t stick. They truly need to be just right…Goldilocks style.