Especially here at The Back Burner where we’re featuring a few holiday treats this week of the sweet variety. While it’s true that there are plenty of sweet cocktails I could bring you this time of year. Brandy laced nogs or something tinged with vanilla. Maybe even something that’s all “cinnamon and spice and everything nice”. Because I realize that you could probably use something warm, snuggly and boozy enough to cheer you through the madness that has become Christmas. But I’ll be honest. When I think about the holidays and sweet “tidings”, well– “visions of sugar plums dance in my head”. Cookies too. I mean what’s Christmas without cookies. I don’t know what Santa eats 364 days a year, but I do know that on Christmas Eve Santa eats cookies, and lots of them. I don’t want to be left out of the cookie exchange this year. So I’m baking cookies for you (and Santa) today.
I have sweet memories of these Christmas cookies too. They’re an absolute holiday classic. Some people know them as Russian Tea Cakes. Here in California people call them Mexican Wedding Cakes. But my mom called them Snowballs.
My mom’s version was sweet and lemony. They were pleasantly rich too, with a melt on the tongue quality that I just loved as a kid. I know now that special texture came from using only real butter. Even in the 1970s, when “oleo” was all the rage, my mom insisted on real butter.
The version you see here is less sweet than my mom’s. I also gave mine a tropical flair she would never have dreamed of. But I live in California and these sweet memories of Christmas’ long past are as close to a real snowball as I care to get these days.
P.S. Yes Santa, there’s booze in these cookies. GREG