Recipe: Our Favorite Snowball Cookies!

It may be living in Florida.

It may be the five years I spent in snowy, picturesque New England.

It may be childhood memories of winter days with drifts that piled up past our doorway … snow days with no school … building snowmen in the front yard with my little sister.

Whatever the cause, I love snow!

And when this time of year rolls around, the very first batch of official “Christmas cookies” is inevitably these–Snowballs!

Having used several recipes over the years, I’ve discovered there’s a definite variety of results possible! Some come out too dry, others too bland. I’ve done lots of hunting and a little tweaking and now I’ve got my favorite to share with you! It’s buttery and sweet and just the perfect cookie to have with a pot of tea … or hot chocolate.

Family Favorite Snowball Cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups finely chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp maple flavoring
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add flour, maple, vanilla and nuts and stir or beat to combine well.

Scoop teaspoonfuls and use your fingers to press together and shape into a ball … it’s just like making a real snowball, right? Note: unlike other cookies, where in most cases bigger is better, snowballs are perfect when just about bite-sized. In fact, if you do try to bite *into* one, you’ll find yourself dusted in powdered sugar so … I suggest little snowballs rather than giant ones!

Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes or until just barely golden. Let cool about 5 minutes, then roll gently in powdered sugar while warm. Then, allow to cool completely–perhaps 20 minutes more–and roll in powdered sugar a second time for a perfect finish!

 

 

Thanksgiving Recipe: Celebration Turkey

Wonderful and wonderfully simple; family favorite Thanksgiving turkey recipe that bastes itself and makes marvelous gravy!

One of my favorite things about blogging is interacting with so many sweet mamas round the world. Last year I had a few ladies write and let me know they were making my recipe for potatoes, or muffins, or whatever and it just made me smile big to think of all of us sharing a bit of family even long distance! So here’s our family’s favorite turkey recipe. This year our Thanksgiving table will be blessed with 12 visitors, most friends of our second son, fellow students at Youth With a Mission Denver. So I will be making TWO turkeys! Hope yours turns out just fabulous–let me know here or on Facebook! :-)

Celebration Turkey

  • 1 16 pound whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
  • 3/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 apples, cored and halved
  • one or two whole sprigs of rosemary and thyme
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle champagne
  • 1 turkey bag
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    2. Rinse turkey, and pat dry. Gently loosen turkey breast skin, and insert pieces of butter between the skin and breast. Place apples and herbs inside the turkey’s cavity. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Place turkey in a roasting bag, and pour champagne over the inside and outside of the bird. Close bag, and place turkey in a roasting pan.
    3. Bake turkey 31/2 to 4 hours in the preheated oven, or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees F (85 degrees C) when measured in the meatiest part of the thigh. Remove turkey from bag, and let stand for at least 20 minutes before carving.

 

Recipe originally adapted (barely!) from this one: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/the-worlds-best-turkey/

I’ve used this recipe with larger turkeys–up to 24 lbs since we generally have guests, and it’s always wonderful–just add a touch more of everything! Your measurements needn’t be exact. This is quite easily the simplest turkey recipe I’ve ever used. The gravy is absolutely divine. I didn’t get a great picture, but here’s Nicholas eating his Thanksgiving meal a long, long time ago … sniff … note how happy he looks about the wonderful turkey … he’s soooo much bigger now!

The Best Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins Ever

pumpkinmuffinbreakfast

 So recently I’ve decided that one of the best things on earth is to wake up in the morning and already have breakfast prepared.

And I’m not talking about a box of Cheerios. Though those do come in handy sometimes.

When my littles come racing into the living room asking the inevitable … WHAT’S FOR BREAKFAST??? I so, so love to have an answer–and it’s best of all when the answer is all ready for us to eat as soon as possible!

Here’s a major family favorite, destined to make you feel like Betty Crocker and Suzy Homemaker all in one tomorrow morning. Or sometime, anyway. I’ve made these every first day of fall *and* Thanksgiving Day  for the past twelve years. My kids *love* them!   Spicy and sweet, they’re great with a steaming cup of coffee or a glass of cold milk.  And since they taste best a day or two after you make them, they’re perfect for Thanksgiving morning, when you’ve got lunch on the brain rather than breakfast!  Try them–I hope they’ll become a fall-time tradition for your family, too!

 Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

*best made a day ahead*

  • 1/2 cp (1 1/4oz) sliced unblanched almonds *you can omit these–or use raw walnuts!*
  • 1 2/3 cp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 lg eggs
  • 1 cp plain pumpkin (1/2 of a 1 lb can)
  • 1/2 cp butter, melted
  • 1 cp chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

If using almonds, place on a baking sheet and bake around 5 mins, just until lightly browned. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Slide almonds off baking sheet so they’ll cool quickly.

Grease muffin cups or use foil/paper baking cups.
Thoroughly mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Break eggs into another bowl, add pumpkin and butter, and whisk until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips and almonds. Pour over dry ingredients and fold in with a rubber spatula just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Scoop batter evenly into muffin cups. Bake 20-25 mins or until puffed and springy to the touch in the center. Turn onto a rack to cool. Wrap in a plastic bag and keep for one or two days. *Reheat before serving for best flavor!*

These would be great “favors” to send home with your Thanksgiving guests!