In Oaxaca, Mexico, these cookies are a traditional wedding favor for guests, where they are served in delicate pouches of ruffled white tissue paper. They are so delicious that many countries have their own variations. They are known as Russian Tea Cakes, Austrian Kipfel, Greek Kourambiethes, and in the U.S., Almond Butter Balls or Snowballs. The Mexican version is made with pecans, but pine nuts or slivered almonds are also very, very good. Use real butter for the full effect. The recipe below is from my mother, Barbara White, who has been baking them for over sixty years.
• 1 cup salted butter, very soft
• 3 Tbsp powdered sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1/8 tsp almond extract (if you use almonds)
• 2 cups flour
• 1 cup slivered almonds, roasted
• 2 cups powdered sugar to roll cookies in
Stir together the butter and sugar until thoroughly mixed. Add flavorings and stir, then stir in flour and nuts until well blended. Form into one-inch balls. Refrigerate them until firm – this helps keep their round shape during baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and when ready to bake, place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet, bake for 20 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown. While still hot, roll in powdered sugar.