Thursday, December 6, 2007

My favorite cookie for Christmas

Well actually they are my favorite anytime, but at Christmas this is just the first cookie we make.

Don't ask me why my momma called them rings, they aren't at all. I think some also call them Russian Tea Cakes and they are not a cake either

Not really a traditional cake, these are the snowy white cookies, the Pastelitas De Boda served at weddings, that nearly melt in your mouth. It is a familiar cookie also featured around the holidays and similar versions are found in other countries besides Mexico. Not exactly like the pfeffernusse, which has a bit more crunch and spice, these little nuggets hold up nicely in a cookie gift basket. Wrap in plastic and store in air tight containers to avoid getting powdered sugar all over the place.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

1 cup or two sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temp.
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup finely diced pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Place 1/2 cup powdered in the middle of a sheet of waxed paper. Place the flour in the middle of another sheet of waxed paper. In the mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment combine the butter and the two extracts. Slowly add 1/2 cup of the sugar, holding the waxed paper like a funnel, into the butter mixture. Then add the flour slowly in the same manner, and add the nuts. If you have one, it's a good time to use that splatter shield on your mixer. Scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula, mix to combine. Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into one-inch balls. Place on sheet pans giving about an inch or so of space inbetween. Place remaining powdered sugar on a large dinner plate. Bake one sheet pan at a time, about 12 to 15 minutes, rotating pan half way through baking. Cookies should be lightly browned, do not overbake. Remove pan from oven and let cookies cool about 5 minutes. Roll each little ball in the powdered sugar. Allow them to absorb the powdered sugar for about one minute, then place them on racks to cool completely. Store in airtight containers.

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