I remember being horribly disappointed by these cookies as a kid because they aren't overly sweet. Now I appreciate that subtle sweetness and complex nutty flavor!
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- Grab a wooden spoon, and mix together in a large bowl:
2 sticks soft (room-temperature) butter
4 Tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt (a big pinch)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Then add:
2 cups chopped nuts (pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, macadamias walnuts, etc; I'm using pecans)
2 cups flour
- Stir until everything is combined.
The dough will be loose and crumbly, but buttery enough to pack together in your hands - kind of like good snowball-making snow.
- Scoop up the dough and form into balls.
A heaping tablespoon will make a traditional-sized roughly 1-inch diameter ball. I prefer my cookies a bit smaller, so use a flat tablespoon and about 2/3-3/4-inch diameter balls. Place them on a cookie sheet. These cookies won't really spread, so you can pack them reasonably close but not touching.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes.
Time depends on the size of the cookies - 1" balls go for 30, smaller ones cook faster. When the cookies are done they'll just be starting to turn a light golden color on top - you don't want to burn them.
- Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar to coat the outside, then sit them on a plate.
Be careful: the cookies are a bit fragile until they cool, so scoop them up with a spoon instead of squeezing them between your fingers.
- When cool, cover in another layer of powdered sugar.
This will cover most of the finger marks left during the previous handling. They're now ready to serve!
- Store in an air-tight container at room temperature, if you have any left!
Vanilla extract -> different flavored extracts. Substitute or add on top - it won't upset the liquid balance much.
Nuts -> use your favorite type. I've had good results with pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, and walnuts. This example uses pecans.
Spices -> add your favorite spices to the dough, and/or mix them in with the powdered sugar for coating at the end. Good matches: cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom - anything good in desserts.