Monday, October 19, 2009

Lime-Glazed Coconut Snowballs & Pecan Wedding Hearts

Both of these recipes are from America's Test Kitchen Cookbook (with only slight adaptations)

Lime-Glazed Coconut Snowballs
Makes about 40 cookies
Prep 55 minutes (including making the dough)
Total time 1 hour 40 min plus cooling time

Whisk together
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ¼ cup superfine sugar*
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • optional (but actually essential) 1 teaspoon lime zest
Then into the flour mixture, mix in one piece at a time
  • 16 Tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces and softened
using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, then continue to beat until the mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, 1 to 2 minutes.

Beat in
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

until the dough just begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds.

Knead dough in the bowl by hand a few times until it form a large, cohesive mass. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter, divide it in half, and pat into two 4-inch disks. Wrap the disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until they begin to firm up, 20 to 30 minutes (or freeze and then defrost in refrigerator).

While the cookie dough is chilling, whisk together in a large bowl
  • 2 Tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon of softened cream cheese
until smooth.

  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
and whisk until smooth, adding another Tablespoon of lime juice as needed until the glaze is thin enough to spread easily.

Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 375.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Place the balls on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 1½ inches apart. Bake until the cookies are light golden brown, about 12 minutes, rotating and switching the baking sheets halfway through baking.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 min. Dip the tops of the cookies into the glaze and scrape away any excess, then dip into the coconut. Set the cookies back on the wire rack and let stand until the glaze dries and sets, about 20 minutes.

Pecan Wedding Hearts
Makes about 4 dozen small cookies
Prep 5 minutes (including making the dough)
Total time 45 minutes plus cooling time
Process in food processor
  • 1 cup pecans
until the texture of coarse cornmeal.  Then chop another
  • 1 cup pecans
Mix nuts together and combine with
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¾  teaspoon salt
and set aside.

Cream together
  • 16 Tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup superfine sugar*  
until fluffy and then add
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
Combine nut-flour mixture and butter-sugar mixture.

Preheat oven to 325. 

Working with 1 Tablespoon of dough at a time, roll into 1-inch balls, slightly flattened into a fat disc.  Indent top of disk with the edge of a spoon to make heart-shape, pinching the bottom of disk with fingers.  Lay hearts on parchment-lined baking sheets, about 1-inch apart.  Bake until tops are a pale golden and bottoms just beginning to brown - about 18 minutes.  Rotate and switch baking sheets halfway through.

Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to rack.  Cool completely.  Roll cookies in
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
to coat.  Just before serving, re-roll cookies in additional powdered sugar. 

These can be (and were) made 3 days in advance, stored in airtight container, then re-rolled in powdered sugar before serving.

* to make superfine sugar:
Process ½ cup sugar  in a food processor 30 seconds and then measure out amount needed.