Thursday, February 11, 2010
In honor of the official New York City Public Schools Snow Day (and my office closing early at 2:00 pm!) I had to make snowball cookies. I remember having snow days when I was growing up so was totally jealous of all of the school closings this morning. Sleeping in...watching daytime TV...pelting your brother with snowballs...drinking hot cocoa...Some years were better than others. The superintendent from California? Score! Two inches of snow would yield an immediate school closing. The superintendent from Minnesota? Not so much. What's a snow day? Two FEET of snow were meaningless.
To be honest this "blizzard" has been a bit of a dud. I expected at least a foot of snow by now. (Get a load of it here.) But I've learned to get used to disappointment when it comes to a NYC snowstorm (except for the occasional STORM OF THE CENTURY). What generally happens with a New York City "snow storm" is that transportation gets all effed up and then you're stuck dodging giant puddles surrounded by thick black slush for the next week. It looks pretty at first and then you just want it gone.
With snow on the brain I couldn't get home fast enough to make my snowball cookies (or Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies or whatever you call them) because I never got around to making my 85 batches of Christmas cookies this year. Annoyingly, I was out of powdered sugar. I quickly discovered on my trek back out into the snow that no grocery store in my hood keeps it in stock. The 24 hour corner bodega, however? Stockpiled. (I guess you never know when you might need it at 3:00 am.) What I should have done is made a bunch of actual snowballs to store in my freezer until July. But then again the snow hasn't melted...yet.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 sifted confectioners sugar, plus additional for rolling cookies
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1. Beat together the butter and 1/2 cup confectioners sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium high speed (or in the bowl of a stand mixer) until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the vanilla, flour, and salt and mix at low speed until combined. Add the nuts and mix until just combined. Chill, covered, at least 1 - 2 hours or overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Let the dough stand at room temperature until just pliable, about 15 minutes. Roll heaping teaspoons of dough into (1-inch) balls and arrange about 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake until set, but not brown, and the bottoms are pale golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Sift an additional 2 - 3 cups confectioners sugar into a large bowl. Immediately transfer the hot cookies to the confectioners sugar. Gently roll the cookies in the sugar to coat well, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Roll the cooled cookies in the confectioners sugar for a second time to coat completely. Makes about 36 cookies.