Happy holiday baking season! As of Sunday, it’s officially less than two weeks until Christmas, which means it’s absolutely time to start baking all the fun things that come with the Christmas season. I may even be a tad late on that one…

Anyway, my sister and I have started a bit of a tradition where we make plans to get together to do some holiday baking, but it often turns into me baking in her kitchen (she has a way better kitchen than mine), her playing with the cats, and us chatting the whole afternoon. The end result is usually 2-3 batches of cookies over a 6-7 hour period…not quite “productive”, but I enjoy the time with her and her feline family anyway. My sister is a nurse and lives an hour away from me so we often have opposite schedules, and it’s difficult to put aside the time to visit. She does annual cookie swaps with some of the girls she works with and other friends so I like to take part in it when I can. She has at least three types of cookies she always does-special secret Hungarian cookies that I may or may not be able to share the recipe for, thumbprints, and butterballs without nuts (she’s allergic).

Butterballs are small cookies traditionally made with finely crushed walnuts, almonds, or pecans and rolled in confectioner’s sugar. The cookie itself is not very sweet so the extra sugar-coating makes them irresistibly comforting. The version below is adapted from a recipe we found on food.com, and our version was made with additional extract and no nuts (other than a hint of almond extract).

Stuff You’ll Need

Makes approximately 6 dozen cookies

  • 1 lb (or 4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but not melted
  • 8 Tbsp (or 1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 4 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar
  • 2-3 cookie ungreased non-stick cookie sheets or cookie sheets lined with parchment paper

How to Do It

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Cream together the butter and granulated sugar in a stand-mixer or electric hand-mixer until they’re light and fluffy.
  3. Add the extracts, and mix until blended.
  4. Gradually add the flour, and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Be careful not to over-mix the dough as it will become flaky quickly. At this point, stop mixing, and kneed the dough with your hands until it’s soft and uniform.
  5. Break off small pieces, and roll them into balls that are approximately the size of a quarter. You can place them close together on an ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheet because they spread very little when baking. I fit 30 on a standard-sized Wilton cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the edges have just browned. Remove from the oven, and immediately move to a wire cooling rack.
  7. While the cookies are still warm, but not hot, roll them in powdered sugar.

Enjoy! Expect more holiday goodies from now until Christmas 🙂



  1. I cannot wait to try this recipe during the holidays, This sounds like the perfect recipe for a holiday gathering.
    I wonder how this would taste deep fried instead of baked hmm 🙂

  2. those look delicious!


  1. […] of flavor combinations. My sister and I included these on our list of holiday baking (see Butterballs for more on that) and thought that we would be able to bake them without the jam, freeze them until […]

Comment on these yummies

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: