Almond Snowball Cookies

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Before I got married, my mom, sister and I had a great tradition. We would set alot of time in December and compile different cookie recipes and split the cookie baking amongst ourselves. Along with some cookie recipes, my mom would make some fabulous cheese balls. Some of the cookies we would make would be Snickerdoodles, Pecan Sandies, Brandy balls, Double-chocolate chip cookies, and of course a variety of Biscotti. Then we would pack these up and give them to our pastor, friends and of course keep some for ourselves.

Well, of course now that I am married I wondered what traditions I would start. Even though I do not have kids yet, I figure it would be great starting a tradition before hand so that it could be instilled in my life before the kids start coming. Last year was our first Christmas as a married couple and I decided to try new recipes. Last year I made 3 kinds of peanut brittle: Chipotle brittle, Peanut butter brittle, and Chocolate brittle. I sent those to family and thought that was a great new change. This year is definitely quite different. Being married to a conductor promises to be a very busy season for a musician. Our schedules have been packed with concerts and rehearsals and road trips that prevent from baking as I had planned. Despite the fact, I knew we would be staying with friends this weekend and I knew I had my chance to make my first set of cookies for the Christmas season.

Inspired by another fellow blogger friend from Iowa, I decided to try my hand at veganizing (changing a recipe edible for a vegan) her recipe for “Polvorones.” I think many people know these cookies as Mexican Wedding cookies or Pecan sandies, etc. Like you read earlier, we used to make them with ground pecans and it gave the cookies a nutty taste. This particular recipe uses almonds, a nut I really enjoy baking with. I think it makes a recipe come out very elegant and light. The results were fantastic!

The original recipe called for pork lard but I decided to use Spectrum’s all-vegetable shortening instead. Changing a recipe is truly challenging. Your gut instincts tell you what you should use and in this case my gut instincts worked. The dough was not coming along and sticking, so I decided to add almond milk. It worked! The dough came together and made for a wonderful result. The cookies were baked, sprinkled with powdered sugar and placed in a fun holiday gift bag ready to be delivered to our hosts. Who said vegans can’t eat cookies? For that matter, who said non-vegans can’t enjoy cookies free of animal products? They melt in your mouth like yummy goodness.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Almond Snowball Cookies
Adapted from A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
makes 15 cookies
1 1/3 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup organic Spectrum All-Vegetable Shortening
1/3 cup organic powdered sugar
1/4 cup gound toasted almonds
3 Tbsp almond milk
1 Tbsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F and place parchment paper on cookie sheet.

On medium heat, place almonds on a saucepan and toast until lightly browned.

Remove from heat and cool. Once cooled, place almonds in a coffee grinder and grind almonds to a fine powder.

Place flour, almond powder, powdered sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and mix.

Add shortening to dry ingredient and mix all ingredients with your hand. Once the shortening has been dispersed, add the almond milk and mix until becomes like a dough.

Take a tablespoon of cookie dough and roll in hand in an oblong shape and slightly flatten. Place cookies on cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool cookies on pan. When cooled, roll each cookie in powder sugar and shake off excess sugar. The cookies are then ready to pack or eat. Enjoy!

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

This post made Top 9 on on December 13, 2009. :)

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  • Diana Bauman

    Noelle, they look great! You inspired me to try and alter my own recipe using a whole grain and a natural sweetener, like raw honey! Can’t wait to try!


    I was thinking of using Whole Wheat or Spelt and Agave syrup but I wanted to get these babies baked to give away. Let me know how your taste testing comes along! :)

  • MaryMoh

    Wow…they really look like snowballs…so white and pretty. Thanks for sharing your family story. I should do that….share out the job of baking :)

  • Feeding North Texas

    Yum, these look so good!

  • Simply Life

    oh my, these are adorable! they look great!!!

  • Scott K

    Looks great! I’m sure not using lard lightens them up significantly too.

  • pegasuslegend

    very festive and love the cinnamon!

  • TeenieCakes

    What a lovely tradition you have with your Mom and sister.

    These Almond Snowballs look festive and delicious…I look forward to giving ’em a try!


    @MaryMoh-It really cuts time and makes baking go so much quicker!

    @Feeding North texas-Thanks!

    @Simply Life-Thanks! They were delicious!

    @Scott K-They melted in my mouth.

    @Pegasuslegend-The cinammon really does it, although our friends thought there was some nutmeg in the cookies too!

    @Teenie Cakes-Traditions are really great! I miss them already.

  • Shirley

    Yes tradition makes good memories. Good to pass it on.

  • Megan

    First – I love your new blog design! It looks so fabulous.

    And those cookies look great too!

  • Mr. P

    Loving the new design too!

    They look great btw. I love Christmas cookies.

  • Lady Mystery

    The sugar really give the cookie a real snow ball look. My favorite nut is almond, so naturally anything with almond Im tempted to try. This one I really must try. When lots of love is put into any recipe it always come out looking and tasting good. Thanks for sharing Diva.

  • Kim (@ Paper Apron)

    Wow. I could eat the whole plate! These look fantastic. Congratulations on making the Top 9. I sure see why you did!

  • abraham

    congrats on making it to the top 9. great achievement.


  • Jessie

    wonderful cookies, they definitely look like they have come from outside in the snow :)



    @Megan- Thanks! thought it was time to do an upgrade!


    @Lady Mystery-Your welcome! I hope you like them!

    @Kim-HaHa thanks! I like sharing!


    @Jessie-Right! Thanks!

  • Shelly

    Looks great! I always shake with trepidation whenever I alter a dessert recipe, because it just takes that ONE wrong proportion to make it all wrong! But you did a great job and these look amazing!


    @Shelly-Thank you so much! Sometimes it is good to put a confident foot forward!

  • My Little Space

    Noelle, I’m about to make this! I’ve never try it before. But yours look so tempting…. Gosh, I wish I can have them now.