Monday, November 28, 2011

Can I Have This Recipe?

Those are the nicest words I can hear when someone is dining at my table! It means that they are really enjoying what I have taken great pleasure in preparing for them. I remember as a teen asking one of my aunts for a cookie recipe and having her refuse. "I don't give out my recipes," she told me. I remember wondering where SHE got the recipe from? Someone she knew was kind enough to give it to her, but she was unwilling to do the same. I always thought that was very strange. After all, we (cooks) are all in this together. I always give detailed recipes cheerfully when asked (I keep a stack of blank index cards in my recipe box just for that purpose). Unless you are a multinational corporation protecting your patented secret recipe, it's nice to share! Years later I found the recipe for my aunt's cookies in a newspaper or magazine, and have been making them as one of my Christmas cookies ever since.

So here is the recipe that my aunt refused to give me: Nut Butter Balls. If you are asked for the recipe, be kind and pay it forward!

Nut Butter Balls

Makes 3-1/2 dozen
Oven Temperature: 375°

2 sticks butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. almond extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup finely ground nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts or even a combination)

Cream butter with sugar. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Chill dough until easy to handle (about an hour). Scoop (with a tiny ice cream scoop) or roll dough into 1” balls and place onto ungreased cookie sheets a few inches apart. Bake cookies at 375° for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned. As soon as they come out of oven, gently roll them in powdered sugar until they are completely coated. Set on parchment lined tray to cool.

Notes & Pointers:
These are kind of delicate especially when warm, so be careful when you roll them in the powdered sugar. You can also just sift a layer of  powdered sugar onto the parchment lined tray, place the cookies on the sugar when they come out of the oven, then sift additional sugar over the tops of the cookies. For a variation, you can use vanilla extract instead of the almond.

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