Cherry Snowball Cookies for Santa

Snow Ball Cookie

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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 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.

Luxardo CherriesIn 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.

Presenting the 2014 Royal Christmas Cake

Royal Christmas Cake

I would like to present the 2014 Royal Christmas Cake. While it is true that I mock this culinary relic of the British empire, some people feel the need for nostalgia and a sugar lift at this time of year. If so, please indulge.

For those who can’t find a Waitrose or Harrod’s nearby, you may find the recipe for this dessert heavyweight by CLICKING HERE. If you are considering baking it now, FORGET IT!: You need to start after Halloween. Perhaps, you could ask Mrs. Padmore to cook it for you next year.

Royal Christmas Cake 2014

As Anglophiles and wannabe pastry chefs are aware, preparation for the Royal Christmas Cake begins on Guy Fawkes Day.   Once they have burnt the effigy of “the Guido,” the Brits do their level best to set back culinary artistry several decades with the “Royal Christmas Cake.”   I have written often about this British assault on the palate, but sadly my wife doesn’t agree.  As a minor concession, she has agreed to soak the currants in whiskey rather than my fine brandy, but now that the marzipan has been hand-delivered by a recent courier from London this exercise in culinary futility is in full-flow.


Now, I don’t plan to bite the hand that feeds me, but I do intend to read what appears to be a fascinating book that was brought to my attention recently by Lord Cheseline of Maiden Lot: The Men Who Lost America, written by Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy. Sadly, I missed his talk in Chestertown, Maryland, but like most “folks” today, I relish true stories of gross incompetence rather than inspired leadership. Found below is an excerpt from The Men Who Lost America:


The loss of America was a stunning and unexpected defeat for the powerful British Empire. Common wisdom has held that incompetent military commanders and political leaders in Britain must have been to blame, but were they? This intriguing book makes a different argument. Weaving together the personal stories of ten prominent men who directed the British dimension of the war, historian Andrew O’Shaughnessy dispels the incompetence myth and uncovers the real reasons that rebellious colonials were able to achieve their surprising victory.


While I will no doubt be reading O’Shaughnessy’s ode to failure this Christmas while others wax poetic about the virtues of the Royal Christmas cake, I do hope that parents will avoid feeding this sugar-laden creation to young children before their naps. It is wise to avoid sugar highs!