It's time to bake Christmas cookies. I started with these little goodies that I made for the first time last Christmas. The recipe is from allrecipes.com, and it was submitted by Michele O'Sullvain. It was rated 4 out of 5 by 10 members. Although the chopped nuts are optional, I think they really add a lot. When making any of these butter balls, you must shake them in powdered sugar when they come out of the oven, and then again after they have cooled completely. If you wait till the cookies are cool to shake them in the sugar, it won't stick. If you only coat them once, the first coat will disappear. I freeze my cookies and then take them out when I want them. They thaw quickly, and they stay fresher in the freezer. The only thing I added to this recipe was 1/2 tsp. almond extract to accentuate the almond flavors. These are easy and pretty fast. The cookie itself is not sweet, but when you add the two coats of powdered sugar, it's just right. They're very tender because of the butter and the nuts, so handle carefully.
Amaretto Butter Balls
INGREDIENTS: 3/4 cup finely chopped almonds (optional)
1 cup butter
1/2 cup 10 X sugar
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, lightly spooned and swept
1/2 tsp. salt (I used sea salt -- it has minerals)
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/4 cup amaretto liqueur (I used Bols Creme de Noyaux -- probably about
20 years old)
1/2 cup - 1 cup 10X sugar for rolling
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Have all ingredients at room temperature before starting. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar until smooth. Stir in the flour and salt and blend well, then mix in the liqueur and extract. Fold in the chopped almonds if desired. Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls. (I used a rounded measuring teaspoon.) Place the cookies 2 inches apart on the parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or till cookies are set and begin to crack. (Mine took 12 minutes, and I tested them with a toothpick in the center, just like for a cake.) Remove cookies from oven and let them cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack. Before setting them on the wire rack, carefully roll them in powdered sugar. (They are tender and can break easily.) After cookies are completely cool, roll them again in powdered sugar.