Heather Chittum's Wedding Cookies
Makes 48 cookies
NOTE: This is a particularly refined rendition of the cookies some people call snowballs or Mexican wedding cookies. The secret is in the beating of the butter and confectioners' sugar — a full 7 minutes is required. The dough must be refrigerated for at least 30 minutes or overnight. The sugared cookies can be stored in an airtight container (preferably with a cup or so of confectioners' sugar inside) for up to 1 week.
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3½ cups confectioners' sugar, divided use
2¼ cups flour
¾ cup finely chopped walnuts (almost ground)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon honey
1. Combine the butter and ½ cup of the confectioners' sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed for 7 minutes, until the mixture is pale white and fluffy. (Do not underbeat — this is an important step to ensure the texture of the final cookie.)
2. Meanwhile, combine the flour, nuts and salt on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.
3. After the 7 minutes is up, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then, with the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla and honey; beat to mix well. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour-nut mixture and beat until just combined. Transfer the dough to a container with a tightfitting lid. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees (300 degrees for a convection oven). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Use a melon baller to make walnut-size pieces of dough, then roll them into balls and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.
5. Bake one sheet at a time for 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are just pale golden. The cookies will be light.
While the cookies are in the oven, place the remaining confectioners' sugar in a large, wide bowl.
6. Begin the coating process as soon as the cookies are out of the oven. Working with no more than 6 at a time, gently roll the cookies in the confectioners' sugar until evenly coated and set each one on a bed of sugar. As you work, you may need to redust or sprinkle the cookies that were the warmest, as some of the sugar may have slightly melted. Let cool completely before storing; the cookies should remain in the sugar as you work. For best results, store in an airtight container that has confectioners' sugar scattered on the bottom.
Per cookie: 74 calories, 1 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 24 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber
— Heather Chittum, Hook Restaurant, Washington, D.C.