I call these dainty cookies Snow Balls because they look exactly like little balls of snow. Not too sweet, they are still rich and delicious treats for special occasions or just any time really. Snow Ball cookies are wonderful little treasures quickly and easily made. The last couple of times I made them after the guests had already arrived - in fact I had the guests roll them into balls. The cookies baked while we had our dinner and were offered as part of the the dessert menu with steamy cups of Masala Chai.
Snow Ball cookies can be made with your favorite nuts; almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, or peanuts. Use vanilla essence with pecans, hazelnuts, and peanuts. I have used butter; but one could use a good quality margarine to make this a vegan treat.
1 cup Almonds
2 to 4 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Almond extract
3 or 4 pods Cardamom
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter (1 stick)
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 cup Whole Wheat flour
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar (for coating)
Preheat the oven to 300 F.
Crush the cardamom pods lightly and take out the seeds; discard the shells.
Place the cardamom seeds and the sugar (the first two ingredients) in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and whirl until cardamom seeds are ground.
Add the nuts to the processor bowl and whirl until they are coarsely ground.
Add butter, salt, the vanilla or almond extract and the flour and process just until the dough comes together.
If the dough is too soft, gather it up on a sheet of plastic wrap and chill for about 20 to 30 minutes. Chilling firms up the dough and makes it easier to handle.
Form the dough into small balls (about 1/2" in diameter) and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes; the bottoms of the cookies should be lightly browned.
Cool well and roll in the powdered sugar to coat.
Any leftovers (I have not had to deal with that yet ;-P) may be stored in an airtight container for a few days.