Snowball Cookies (pecan/almond shortbread)

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I have a funny story. My mom told me today that one of my dad’s patients once brought him these delicious cookies as a gift. My dad, who can rarely consume sweets due to a history of stomach cancer, LOVED them. After devouring all of these “nutty ball-shaped cookies”, my mom and dad asked the patient for the recipe. She refused. Either a family secret, a secret recipe, or maybe there were drugs inside of the cookies. That would be one way to describe how good they tasted. So, when I came home from school and an undeniable urge to bake struck me, I committed myself to finding and making these cookies. Once I discovered these “snowball” cookies, and found it matched the description of Ms. Secretive Patient’s, I got to work. The results were scrumptious. Currently, my mom and dad are finishing the last of the cookies I made about 30 minutes ago… And that’s proof enough to me! So enjoy this recipe, because sharing is caring! 🙂

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cups finely chopped pecans
1 cup almond meal
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar for rolling cookies (I omitted and it tasted great)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

2. Mix the flour, 1 cup of the chopped pecans, and the salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Stir 1 cup almond meal into the flour mixture and set aside.

4. Cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until the dough just begins to come together but still looks scrappy, about 15 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl again and continue beating at low speed until the dough is cohesive, about 10 more seconds.

5. Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough between the palms of your hands and place on the prepared baking sheets. The cookies will only spread a little bit, so you can place them fairly close together. Bake until the tops are pale golden and the bottoms are just beginning to brown, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time.

6. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer them to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

7.(I omitted this step) Place the powdered sugar in a large zip-top bag. Working with 3 or 4 cookies at a time, place them in the bag of sugar and gently toss to coat them thoroughly. Gently shake off any excess. Allow the cookies to sit for at least an hour, or up to overnight, and then repeat the process. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
(Recipe slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

Brown Eyed Baker: (Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated)

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Rocky Road Brownies

This one’s for you Leo.

For those of you who watched the Oscars last night, you all witnessed yet another episode of ‘Leonardo DiCaprio and

the Elusive Gold Man’. Poor Leo. For someone who has been in the industry for as long as he has and has been in so many iconic movies and roles, you would think he would have at least one of those little men under his wing. But sadly, that is not the case.

But don’t you fret Leo, I’ve got the perfect little pick-me-up to help you get through this difficult time. Rocky Road Brownies.

A classic ice cream flavor turned baked good that will serve as a perfect complement to your disappointed tears and piles of crumpled tissues. Whip up one of these babies, and eat it right out of the oven, piping hot. By slice, or by spoonful, the method doesn’t matter. As long as you get that warm brownie with crunchy pecans, topped with gooey marshmallow in your system, you’ll get through this. Personal experience. (just kidding….maybe….possibly.)IMG_1311

Okay, so maybe not all of us have to cope with losing yet another coveted award that we’ve been waiting for all our lives, but I’m there’s been some ups and downs. Maybe you got yet another bad grade on a chemistry test (how relevant!), or maybe it just one of ‘those’ days. Nevertheless, when you’re in a rut, a little sugar and butter never fails.

ROCKY ROAD BROWNIES

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as cashews, pecans, or walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper.

2. In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine butter and 1 cup chocolate chips. Heat, stirring occasionally, just until melted, 3 to 5 minute

3. Remove mixture from heat; stir in sugars and salt, then eggs, then flour, and finally the nuts, stirring just until combined. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes.

4. Then remove from oven and top with marshmallows. Bake until marshmallows are puffed and browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving. Using paper overhang, remove from pan and cut into pieces.

Adapted from: http://www.marthastewart.com/337331/rocky-road-brownies

NOTE:

– Feel free to add more nuts and marshmallows depending on personal preference

And that’s it! Hope you enjoy it and leave any comments, concerns, and questions below!