My name is Donna and I have a fear of baking. There. I said it. It feels good to get it off my chest.
Before having a family I'd have these dreamy visions of baking Christmas cookies with my children. We'd all be laughing and listening to Christmas songs while we created little gingerbread cookies and sipped hot cocoa...cue the record player scratch!!!! Now that I've had children and we've actually baked Christmas cookies, the reality of it all is quite different. My kids usually fight over who is going to roll out the dough or scoop out the ingredients and I usually screw up by forgetting an ingredient or measuring incorrectly. All of that sends one of my kids into hysterics and makes my shoulders and back so tense I need a week of chiropractic therapy afterwards!
Baking is so precise. I've never liked it. Cooking is so much more natural for me. I can add stuff in, take stuff out and it'll generally turns out to be ok. Not the case with baking, so I've learned.
As a child, I absolutely adored snowball cookies. To this day, they are still my favorite. So, this year I took a leap of faith. I wanted to put my own twist on the cookie...sort of make it my own (Hanging Spoon style.) I switched the recipe to white whole wheat flour and added in some cranberries and orange zest to give it a nice citrus kick and tiny specks of color. I wasn't so sure if it would work, but I wanted to try. Whole wheat flour has most of the same health benefits of regular whole wheat flour (it's 100% whole grain wheat), but it's white and has a slightly less earthy flavor and texture that I thought would work nicely.
I tried out my new and improved snowball cookie recipe while the kids were in school, so that if they turned out ok, we could try baking them together and I'd have a better handle on the situation. I'm so glad I did because they turned out spectacular on the first shot, AND they were so easy to make! Granted, I was covered from head to toe in powdered sugar, but that happens to everyone...right??
Moral of the story, I won't give up on my Christmas cookie baking or baking in general, and I'm certainly not giving up on baking with my kids. Even though it's not exactly how I'd always imagined, I wouldn't trade that time with them for the entire world. The best part is, how happy you can make someone with something so little from your own home. Isn't that what Christmas is all about? I thought so.
Cranberry & Orange Scented Almond Snowball Cookies
- ¾ cup sliced almonds
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup unsalted butter room temp and sliced
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- zest from one orange
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp almond extract
- 1 ⅔ cup white whole wheat flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- Pulse almonds, sugar, cranberries and zest in processor until finely ground.
- Add in butter and pulse until blended together and smooth.
- Add in vanilla and almond extract and pulse to combine.
- Add in the flour, salt, and pulse to create a dough consistency.
- Empty dough onto wax paper and form into a log about 15 inches long and 1 ½ inches wide.
- Refrigerate for 15-30 min.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Cut the dough into 1 inch pieces and roll by hand into balls.
- Place cookies on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.
- Cool cookies slightly.
- Put confectioners' sugar in a pie plate or bowl.
- Roll the cookies into confectioners' sugar while still warm but not hot.
- Place cookies on plate and dust again with sugar if desired.