I have been told by a precocious elf that Santa likes a whiskey (single malt please!) and a plate of “Cherry Snowball Cookies” after travelling all night downwind behind a team of reindeer. While a malt whiskey has always been served to Santa at our house, the Cherry Snowball Cookie is a relatively new addition.
The photo to the left from Food.com hardly does the snowball cookie justice since it features that overly-sugary commercial grade maraschino cherry typically used to adorn Manhattan cocktails served in Chestertown, Maryland. While there is much to be said for the cuisine of Chestertown – particularly if you like the Canada Goose in a slow cooker – the bar scene has succumbed to commercialized food for patrons that need a buzz while watching the Republican Presidential debates. Mind you, I feel their pain.
In snobby Greenwich, educated chefs tend to opt for Luxardo cherries, which are actually the “original” Italian maraschino cherry before some mad scientist decided to add more sugar and artificial coloring. Sadly, Luxardo cherries are often difficult to find in most supermarkets so we now buy ours on Amazon.
In any event, the recipe below uses Luxardo cherries and we strongly recommend that you incorporate them into your Snowball Cookie so Santa won’t be disappointed. Without further ado, the recipe for Cherry Snowball Cookies from Elizabeth Morris (Toronto) that was published in a recent Penzey’s Catalogue
Cherry Snowball Cookies
Ingredients (Makes 2 1/2 dozen)
- 2 cups Flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 16 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup almond paste
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 cup (about 30) pitted Luxardo cherries, drained
- 2 cups coarse decorating sugar (also purchased on Amazon)
Heat the oven to 350º. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Using a hand mixer, beat butter and confectioners sugar in another bowl until fluffy. Mix in almond paste, vanilla and egg. Slowly add dry ingredients until dough forms.
Roll dough into thirty 1-oz balls. Working with 1 ball at a time, press thumb into dough and place a cherry in the center. Roll dough into a ball encasing the cherry.
Roll cookies in decorating sugar and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Let cookies cool completely.
Santa will thank you as he loosens another button in his red outfit.