growing up, december was a magical month filled with preparation and anticipation for christmas. once the tree was decorated, the house was decked out in pine boughs and christmas lights, and the carols were playing on the radio, we could turn our attention to the food. more specifically, the cookies. standard on the list were decorated gingerbread and sugar cookies, gingersnaps, kourabiedes, and walnut wimpy balls. but while these are all delicious, wimpy balls hold a special place in our hearts.
these cookies, inspired by a recipe found in yankee magazine years ago, and tinkered with for years after that, will melt in your mouth. the icing, straight from my great-grandmother’s kitchen, is a burst of deep, thick chocolate. when smooshed together, these sandwiches will have you hooked at the first bite. just don’t forget to handle the cookies gently while you are assembling the finished product. they can crumble if pressed too hard, and then you’ll have to eat the ones you break!
walnut wimpy balls
(makes 50 bite-sized cookies)
2 cups whole walnuts
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. preheat oven to 350°f.
2. in a food processor, grind walnuts with 2 tbsp of confectioner’s sugar until finely ground. set aside.
3. in an electric mixer, cream butter and remaining sugar until pale and fluffy. beat in the vanilla. then add flour and 3/4 cup of the ground walnuts and mix well.
4. roll balls of dough, about the diameter of a nickel, and bake on cookie sheets covered with non-greased parchment paper at 350°F for 10-12 minutes, until just barely golden. cool on a rack.
5. while the cookies are baking and cooling, prepare the chocolate icing. first add all ingredients together in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. then stir until chocolate is melted and all ingredients are fully combined. set aside.
6. when the cookies are cool, sandwich the flat sides together using 1/2 teaspoon chocolate icing. roll the sides in the remaining ground walnuts.
what’s your favorite holiday cookie? and do you want some new ideas?…
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