Italian Nut Ball Cookies

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This recipe has been in my family almost as long as I’ve been alive. My mom started making them at Christmas when I was a little kid. ¬†It’s a drop cookie that is rolled in nuts with a little depression, made at the center with a finger or the back of a wooden spoon, and then filled with jam. ¬†Raspberry and blackberry are my favorites. ¬†Originally mom rolled them in walnuts but somewhere through the years it changed to pistachios. ¬†Both options are good – it really just comes down to taste preference and price as walnuts around here, in the Midwest at least, are a bit cheaper than pistachios. ¬†Although the little specs of green with the pistachios are kind of cute if you don’t mind eating green food.¬†¬†😄

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 2 egg yolks (reserve whites)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of nuts (chopped walnuts or pistachios)
  • Jam — any flavor (more intense flavors seem best)
Instructions
  1. Combine sugar, salt, spices, butter and eggs (everything except the flour) and mix well for about 1 minute with an electric hand mixer.
  2. Gradually add flour blending on low speed or mixing by hand until fully incorporated.
  3. Portion dough into 1″ balls.
  4. Beat the reserved egg whites slightly to give them a little volume.
  5. Roll the dough balls in the egg whites then roll them in the chopped nuts.
  6. Make a small depression in the middle of each dough ball before baking.
  7. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes until firm and light brown.
  8. Immediately remove cookies from cookie sheet and fill the center depressions with a small amount of jam.
  9. Allow jam to set before storing.

 

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