Sunday, December 22, 2013

Maraschino Snowball Cookies

They say it is all about quality ingredients.  When I think of all the different things I have bought and ordered for the sake of creating something in the kitchen, there is a lot of unique as well as imported ingredients I can recall.  There is probably a blogger in another country that has the same situation.  The grass is always greener so we find ourselves coveting ingredients from another country who regards that ingredient as commonplace.

This particular recipe requires maraschino cherries which are imported from Italy.  I have made cookies before with maraschino cherries, called Cherry Bon Bon Cookies.  Between the two, I prefer this recipe over that.  This recipe has the added flavor of almond but the vast difference in the maraschino cherries is what won me over. The cherries in the US are more of a neon color and are stored in a watery liquid.  The Luxardo ones are black and packed in a syrup. The cherries taste much sweeter and stronger, which melds nicely with almond flavor of the cookie. I am hooked, so there are no plans to go back the red neon maraschinos that are so easy to find in the states.

I am adding this one to my holiday cookie recipes. Below you will find the original recipe as well as the tips and notes.  This recipe makes 2-2 1/2 dozen.

Maraschino Snowballs
adapted from Elizabeth Morris via Saveur Magazine

1 egg 
1 cup or 2 sticks of butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup or about 30 pitted Luxardo cherries, drained
1/2 cup almond paste
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups white sparkling sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and powdered sugar.  Add the almond paste, vanilla extract and egg.  Beat until all is blended and batter is fluffy.  Set aside.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder in another bowl.  Add 1/3 of sifted ingredients to butter mixture and mix in with wooden spoon.  Repeat the process two more times until all the dry ingredients are mixed into the batter.  The end result is cookie dough that should easily clump together with your hand.

Separate the dough into 30 pieces.  Center one cherry inside each piece of dough and form into a ball. Roll each cookie in the sparkling sugar and place 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  Cookies will toast on the bottom and the edges will turn golden when done.

Remove and let cool on pan for 2 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to completely cool.

Notes and Tips:
1.  For less leftover ingredients, I doubled the recipe so my can of almond paste would be used as well as the complete jar of Luxardo cherries.
2. The amount of decorative sugar used application is based on preference and method.  In doubling the recipe and keeping about 3 tbs or less in a shallow bowl at any time for rolling only required 1 cup of sparkling sugar.  However, more of the sugar will increase the crunch and sparkle to your cookies.
3. These are a crumbly cookie so they should be bite sized.  They are best eaten by popping a whole one into your mouth.
4. For more color to your cookies, try colored sugar or drops of food coloring to the batter.
5. was the resource for the Luxardo Cherries
                                 **2 YEARS AGO: Hendrix Pie**