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On the third day of Christmas cookies: Pistachio & Cherry Snowballs

Pistachio and Cherry Mexican Wedding Cakes
Pistachio and Cherry Mexican Wedding Cakes
Published Dec. 5, 2014

At Christmas, you'll often see the nutty Snowball cookie, which also goes by the name Mexican Wedding Cakes or Russian Tea Cakes.

Pistachio & Cherry Snowballs are a variation on this theme. This is a buttery cookie studded with dried cherries and chopped pistachios. Instead of the typical round shape, they are formed almost like tiny footballs.

The baked cookies are tossed in confectioners' sugar while they are warm and the sweetness is absorbed into the cookie. They might need another dusting before serving to maintain their snowy look.

Do not overmix the dough. This is a tender cookie and the more stirring you do, the more you'll allow the flour to develop its gluten. This can make for a tougher cookie.

Like most cookies, it's best to cool them on wire racks. A solid surface underneath can trap moisture or allow them to cook even more and get hard.

Pistachio & Cherry Snowballs

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for coating

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup shelled, unsalted natural pistachios, coarsely chopped

1 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)

3 1/3 cups sifted cake flour

1 2/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease large baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

Beat butter and confectioners' sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and salt, then pistachios and cherries. Using spatula, mix in both flours; do not overmix. Shape dough by generous tablespoons into football-shaped ovals. Place on prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake cookies until bottoms just begin to brown, about 12 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes.

Pour generous amount of confectioners' sugar into a bowl. Add a few warm cookies at a time and gently turn to coat thickly. Transfer to cooling rack or waxed paper. Repeat to coat cookies with sugar again. Cool completely.

Submitted by Kathy Hocker, Spring Hill

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