Otherwise known as Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes, snowballs, or nutty butter cookies blanketed with copious amounts of powdered sugar. Oftentimes they're shaped as crescent moons or meatballs and then rolled in sugar; but, since I was baking with Tor, we made them in the style of a similar-tasting Greek cookie, pressing them into thumbprints and dusting them with the powdered sugar instead. The recipe comes from a neat book on Texas-style cooking that Jimmy brought for me during crew preseason, from which I'll also definitely be making Puerco en Salsa de Comino (Pork in Cumin Sauce) at some point because it sounds super yummy.
Tor and I made a big batch of these in early January when Chicago was hit by the Polar Vortex that transformed the city into an icy Chiberian wind tunnel. We had a cold day off from class that Monday, so naturally we watched the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy in extended edition, ate lots of dessert, and serenaded each other with verses from Let It Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman? off the Frozen soundtrack. Because what else do nerds do on an unexpected day off from school?
Speaking of days off from school, I played hooky on Friday (mwahaha) and made an extra-long weekend for myself (taking advantage of MLK Day on Monday) to visit Jimmy in DC. It was amazing and lovely and eeeep I'm so happy. SparkNotes version of our adventures, since I don't want to make y'all too jealous of our little vacation: wanderings through downtown DC (featuring Embassy Row and the Lincoln Memorial), the Inter-American Development Bank, the West Wing (!!!), Georgetown's campus, and Takoma Park; lots of yummy food (read: lots of yummy bacon, and delicious French food); and some shenanigans with two of his adorable little cousins. Of course, the precious days rushed by us, no matter how thoughtfully we cherished them, and were gone again; but they were wonderful, and so worth it.
Mexican Wedding Cookies
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus ~1/2 c for dusting on the baked cookies
1 c all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 c walnuts or pecans
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cream together the butter and 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Sift the flour into the butter mixture, stir to combine, then add in the vanilla. Pulse the nuts in a food processor until ground but granular, being sure to stop before creating nut butter. Fold the nuts into the mixture. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls, then place on the prepared baking sheet and press with your thumb to create an indentation. Bake 25-30 minutes until set and slightly golden brown.
Dust a clean surface with a layer of powdered sugar (I just laid out some tinfoil on the counter for easy cleanup). Just when the cookies have come out of the oven, place them onto the layer of powdered sugar and dust plenty more sugar over the top with a sifter. I dare you to try to eat these without getting powdered sugar all over your shirt and/or face.
Protip: you can't. Just embrace it.