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December 16, 2010

Pecan Balls, wishing for a white Christmas

I have to admit that I am a little Christmas fanatic.  I collect old world European vintage ornaments, nativity sets around the world, Christmas villages, etc. I love to decorate my house for holiday, bake cookies and sweet breads, enjoying Christmas craft with my kids, entertain friends for a special meals, or bringing endless dishes to parties, and etc... I just love to feel the spirit of giving and share the love with people I adore or even ones whom I hesitate to adore.

Although I don't have access to those Christmas treasures of mine this year (all in the storage somewhere), it doesn't mean that I can't enjoy the spirit of Christmas. In fact I find myself focusing more on the true meaning of Christmas rather than all the bells and whistles that I often put more weight on. This is a season we celebrate, the joy and peace on earth, the spirit of giving.

Every year I bake cookies to give out as presents. I often look for new recipes for fancy holiday cookies. However there is one Christmas cookie that I always make. It is the pecan balls. It is an old classic, melt in you mouth cookies. My kids call them "snow ball cookies".

This buttery soft cookies with pecan bites will melt you like snow in the sun. They are easy to make and not overly sweet, which I like. The only weakness of this type of cookies is that you can't freeze them due to the powdered sugar coating. But who cares? They will be gone by the end of the day.

 Simple cookies, simple ingredients. I don't need to name them, do I?

First, you need to chop your pecans finely. I wouldn't use food processor for this job because it will ground them. You want tiny pieces to bite on. Set them aside.

Dump butter sticks (room temperature) and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a mixer.

 Beat them until creamy on medium speed.

Add vanilla and beat even more until real creamy.

 Sift flour and 1/4tsp baking powder together.

 Add flour into creamed butter mixture. Make sure your mixer speed is on low.

 Just mix until they get mingled each other. Do not over mix!

 Add the nut of your labor, the chopping job of the day. I mean the pecans.

 Stir them until all mixed. Done!

 Make 1" balls with the dough, put them on the parchment papered pan or greased pan, 1 1/2" apart.
 I can fit 30 ball on a half sheet pan as you see. Bake for 25 minutes on 300ºF preheated oven.

 They puffed just a little. Perfect! Let them sit in the pan for 1 minute.

 When the cookies are still warm, roll them in powdered sugar. Put the first ball in your mouth and savor. You deserve it.

Let them cool on a wired rack completely. I dusted with more sugar on top. You can keep them in an airtight container for a few days.

 "Oh, the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow..."

My kids haven't seen the snow for a few years,
Everyday they wish for it so they can build a snowman,
And I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.
Enjoy the cookies.

Pecan Balls
makes 4 dozens

1 cup (1/2 lb) butter at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla 
2 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup finely chopped pecan 
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar for coating

Preheat oven to 300ºF, place parchment paper or silicon mat on your baking sheet.
In an electric mixing bowl beat together butter, sugar and vanilla on medium speed until very creamy.
In a separate bowl sift flour and baking powder, add to the butter mixture on a low speed, mix until well incorporated. Stir in pecans.

Make 1" balls with the dough and place on a baking sheet, 1 1/2" apart from each other.
Bake for 25 minutes. Let them rest for 1 minutes in a sheet and roll in the powdered sugar when the cookies are still warm. Store the cookies in the airtight container for a few days.

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At December 17, 2010 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous Tofuturkey118 said...

I just made them tonight and they're fantastic! Very rich but soft and crumbly in a way - definitely melt in your mouth. The step by step pictures were very helpful since 2 cups of flour turned out to be more than I needed. I looked at your picture's consistency and decided to add more butter to moisten the batter. After that, it turned out perfect! I also added dried cranberries to them, it was a tasty addition.

At December 17, 2010 at 5:23 AM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Great! Love the idea of adding cranberry. I bet it looked very pretty with red cranberry pieces in white sugar coating.

At December 19, 2010 at 7:15 AM , Anonymous Slayergurl said...

Hi, thanks for sharing korean food's recipes! I'm into korean food recently, and was wondering if you mind sharing bibimbap's receipe? :)

At December 19, 2010 at 9:18 AM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Of course, I am planing on making Bibimbap soon. Hopefully not too long for you to wait.

At December 23, 2010 at 2:28 AM , Anonymous Slayergurl said...

Woah! Thanks in advance then! :D

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