Pecan Snowballs

It’s winter/holiday time, so everything gets a holiday spin!  These are called snowballs, not because they are covered in cocaine (they most certainly are NOT), but because they are covered in powdered sugar.  If you make them in say, April, just call them Danish Wedding Cookies and be done with it.  But, since it’s December already (yikes), let’s go with Snowballs.  They’re super easy to make and really tasty – honestly, they taste like you put a lot more time in them than you will, which totally works for me.

Ingredients

·        18 T butter (you know they’re going to be good with that much butter!)

·        2 T water

·        2 cups chopped pecans (meaning you’ll need more than 2 cups of pecan halves)

·        2 2/3 cups powdered sugar (divided)

·        2 t salt

·        2 cups flour

Directions

We’re going to do a couple fancy things with this recipe, but it’ll be fun.  First we’re going to brown the butter.

Whaaaa??

Don’t worry – it’s simple.  Take a small skillet and melt the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

IMG_8615After it melts it will splatter and then it will start to foam and the butter will turn from yellow to golden to a brown color.  Don’t let it burn, but let it get to brown.

Immediately pour it into a large heatproof bowl.  Then take the 2 tablespoons of water and pour that into the hot skillet and scrape up any remaining browned butter bits with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon and add that to the butter in the bowl.

Take the bowl and refrigerate it until it’s solid but not hard as a rock – basically until it’s the consistency it is when it’s “softened to room temperature”.  Alternately, you can actually leave it in overnight and then actually take it out and let it soften to room temperature.  Your call.

While that’s happening you’re going to toast the pecans.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread the pecans out flat.  Bake at 350 for about 8 to 10 minutes, until they are completely browned.  An added bonus of this is that your kitchen is going to smell amazing.  Watch these, though, you don’t want them to burn.

When the pecans are done, take them out of the oven and let them cool completely.  Pour yourself a glass of wine because you’re cooking for people and you deserve it.

Once the pecans are totally cooled, chop them into fine pieces.  Really small.  This may take a bit, but you don’t want anything too big.

Take the bowl of browned butter out of the fridge and add 2/3 cup of powdered sugar and the salt.  Mix with a wooden spoon until completely blended.  Then, add in the tiny pecan pieces and stir them in until completely blended.  Finally, take the flour, add that in and completely blend that.

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The dough should be fairly firm.  If it’s soft, put it in the fridge for 15 or so minutes just so it’s easier to handle.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and roll the dough into tablespoon-sized balls.  Then, they’re going back in the oven!  Cook at 350 for about 15 minutes until they’re a dark golden brown and take them out.  Let them cool on the cookie sheet for at least 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

IMG_8636It’s important to let them cool on the sheet for a while – they need to harden otherwise they’ll break apart when you try to transfer them.

Once the cookies are cool, fill a small bowl with about 2 cups powdered sugar.  Don’t worry about an exact measurement here – you’re just going to roll the balls in the sugar until they’re covered in powdered sugar.

 

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And you.  Are.  Done!

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