Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cookies that melt in the mouth !!

Recipe : Mexican wedding cake/Russian tea cake/Snowball

Hostel life,though had its sour and bitter sides , has been one of the best days of my life. I am sure everybody who has lived in a hostel for at least a short span will surely agree to this.

I know, hostel means, living out of suitcases for may be 4-5 years, using common and not so clean baths, sleeping on empty or half filled tummies and worst, eating stuffs that you would never have had otherwise, petty fights and misunderstandings with buddies and roomies and yes, the awkward patch ups.

But, the day you walk out of that untidy, messy veranda and realise that you can never come back, an unexplainable heaviness sinks in and a lump starts forming in your throat and then before you know, you are locked in your friends arms, with uncontainable tears flowing out like a breached dam :) .
Well, though it feels quite funny now, then, it was a heartbreaking experience. I remember going through the exact feelings when I had to leave my parents on the day of my wedding ;)
It is at the hostel that you get introduced to and learn to eat lot of new things. For me, it was the time when I ate a lot of bakery stuffs (stuffs that my dad would never have bought for me on grounds of  being unhygienic and unhealthy :) )and used to savour them like they were the best things that I have ever had. Snowball cookies were one  those. They were a favourite in my friends circle and we used to stack up bags of these for midnight snacking.

But after leaving hostel, and returning home to the luxury of mom-made food, these buttery, melt-in- the- mouth cookies were long forgotten.
In fact, it was just lately, precisely speaking, after coming into the blog world, that I began seeing oodles of recipes for snowball cookies and also learnt that they are quite a popular bite all across the globe with some lots of other interesting names as well.... Russian tea cake, Mexican wedding cake etc.
These cookies are quite simple to make and has very little ingredients. Well, though the measurements below give quite a number of cookies, no worries, you will find them flying off your larder in no time..... Mine didn't last 3 days. I kept finding my little one sneak off now and then to stuff her mouth with an entire cookie :) ..... She loved its melt-in-the-mouth feel and so did all of us.
MEXICAN WEDDING CAKES/SNOWBALL/RUSSIAN TEA CAKE

Ingredients

Nuts (walnuts/pecans/hazelnuts), I used almonds - 2/3 cup
All purpose flour - 2 cups
Icing/ confectioners sugar - 1/4 cup
Salt -  1-4 tsp
Butter - 1 cup at room temp
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Topping:
Icing sugar - 1 cup sifted
Preparation
First of all, we have to toast and powder the nuts. To toast the nuts, preheat oven to 180 degree C and place your nuts on a cookie sheet. Pop the nuts into the oven and bake for 8-10 mins or till the nuts turn light brown and fragrant. Now remove the nuts from oven and let cool completely.
Finally place the cooled nuts along with 2 tbsp of flour ,from the measured quantity, in a food processor and grind to fine powder. Take care not to make a paste of it.
Using your stand/hand mixer cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
Beat in the vanilla extract.
Tip in the remaining flour and salt and again beat till combined.
Finally, stir in the nuts using a spatula.
Refrigerate the dough for an hour or until firm.
Preheat oven to 180 degree C and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Using your hands roll out the dough into 1 inch balls and place them on the prepared sheet, nearly 2 inches apart.
Bake for 10-15 mins or till the cookies start slightly browning near the edges.
Remove from oven and let cool for 2-3 mins.
Then immediately dust the cookies liberally with icing sugar using a sieve. You will have to do this when the cookies are still hot.

Alternatively, you may also roll the warm cookies in a bowl of icing sugar, but I think dusting the cookies using a sieve is a lot more easier. 
Once, cooled completely you may store them in an air tight container for several weeks.

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