Foodie Monday: Holiday Favorites

One of my favorite things about the holidays is baking! I enjoy baking more than cooking. And although I’m at the point where I need to start watching my carbs again, this is not preventing me from making Christmas cookies. Since Thursday, I’ve made three different kinds of cookies that we enjoy over the holidays. Peanut Blossoms, Chinese Marble cookies, and now, Snowballs, have all come out of the oven.

Unfortunately, I’m questioning the thermostat on my oven a bit but fixing that will have to wait. I’ve got cookies to bake!

My favorite holiday cookie would have to be the ones I just made – Snowballs. Our family called them snowballs because this is how they look – all powdery, round, and white. But, some might know them better as Mexican Wedding Cakes. At least that’s what the Pillsbury Holiday cookbook calls them. I follow their recipe from this issue in December of 1995. The page remains marked from year to year.

The snowballs are an easy cookie to make and would be fun to do with children, although I would suggest someone else chop the nuts and perhaps even stir them in. The dough is quite stiff. Speaking of nuts, I use pecans. The recipe calls for either those or almonds. No matter the nut you choose, the snowballs are great with a cup of hot tea.

I love these cookies and have since childhood. My mom used to make several batches of them each year at holiday time. I’m not as cookie crazy as she, but I still like to make a few different kinds. Soon, it will be time to make cutouts. I always look forward to that but seem to tire of it before they are all frosted. We’ve been known to leave a bunch of the cutouts unfrosted as a less-sweet treat with a glass of milk or cup of coffee.

My husband and I also have the perennial argument ( we don’t really argue but do disagree) on the flavoring that should go into both the cutout cookie and the frosting. I like anise in both. It is how my grandma made cutouts and how I learned to make them. The taste reminds me of home. My husband likes vanilla. I’m not a huge fan of vanilla flavoring or vanilla in general. Call me strange. Anyway, we usually make some with each type of flavor and differentiate them with the frosting color or container. I know which ones I’ll eat first! Anise all the way!

It is the holiday baking season and we are enjoying it in our house! Do you bake for the holidays? If so, what is your favorite thing to bake at holiday time? Feel free to leave a note in the comments!

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