I began last year’s #12DaysofChristmas with a Meyer lemon snowball cookie, and this year it’s going back to the original, plus pecans. These things go by so many names it’s hard to keep up. I’ve called them tea cookies, Mexican wedding cookies, pecan meltaways, etc. What more do you need to know other than they’re delicious? Melt-in-your-mouth, crumbly shortbread, studded with pecans and dusted with powdered sugar. It’s impossible to eat just one.
The dough needs a quick chill in the fridge before you shape it into balls and bake, so plan accordingly. It will be far too sticky to work with without an hour to rest in the refrigerator. Happy cookie baking, and come back tomorrow for whatever 2nd day of Christmas goodie we have for you!
Melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies studded with pecans and dusted with powdered sugar.
1 1/2cupsall purpose flour
1cupunsalted butterroom temperature
1teaspoonpure vanilla extract
1 cupchopped, toasted pecans
In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
Beat in the vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Add chopped pecans and stir until evenly distributed. Add chopped pecans and mix until distributed.
Form a ball of dough.
Turn dough out onto a piece of wax/parchment paper.
Wrap paper around the dough and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
When dough is firm, form into 1 inch balls and place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets spacing about 1 inch apart.
Bake for about 12 - 14 minutes or until the cookies start to firm up.
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, line another baking sheet or tray with parchment or wax paper.
Lay the cookies out on the sheet.
Sift the sugar over the cookies, rolling the side in the sugar to completely coat.
“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon will be there.”
This is truly my favorite time of year. I love the warmth of this season–which may sound strange given the outside temperature–but it’s a warmth of giving, of goodness, and light, that ignites in me as soon as we pack up the Thanksgiving leftovers (who am I kidding–I start getting giddy after Halloween). As I looked back at #12DaysofChristmas last year, I noticed I didn’t have a roundup of all of the 2016 recipes in one spot. Here they are below for your gifting/eating/drinking pleasure. Stay tuned next week for 2017’s 12 Days of Christmas (culminating in another awesome giveaway), but in the meantime, enjoy these 11 fantastic holiday recipes!
A version of this article was originally published in Best Version Media’s Spring Hill Living and Historic Midtown Living October 2017 magazines.
One of my favorite things to do with my kids (5 and 2) is bake. I’m a sucker for any sort of dessert, and my children, unfortunately, have inherited my sweet tooth. On the plus side, they’re always willing to help out in the kitchen, as long as they get to “sample” the finished product. Because Halloween is almost upon us, I thought it would be a great time to share a favorite spooky treat of ours. Yes, including children in a project involving sprinkles and frosting is most likely to end up in a mess (and the end result might not be stunning) but the smiles on their sticky faces are totally worth it.
As you may have heard, king cake is king around these parts this time of year. I hope none of you are king caked out yet, because this weekend, Mardi Gras kicks into high gear as we approach a five-day celebration from today until Tuesday. A few weeks ago, I posted a guide to king cakes around the Mobile and Eastern Shore area. It’s in no way exhaustive, as I’m pretty sure my guests and I would’ve succumbed to a sugar coma before tasting every single king cake available in the area. But we tried, and I’ve gotten some great feedback on some we’ve missed. Read on to discover those and for a recipe for a king cake you can make right in your own kitchen. Continue Reading
Growing up, my family treated Valentine’s Day a little differently than the romantic, red rose holiday it is to most. For us, it wasn’t so much a couples-only holiday as it was a day to let those you love know how much they mean to you. My maternal grandmother was the queen of homemade Valentines, and my mother has taken up that torch with pride. Every year, she crafts adorable homemade Valentines for her grandchildren to distribute to their friends.
When everyone else is packing up their Christmas decorations in early January and succumbing to a slight post-holiday funk, revelers all around the Gulf Coast (and in Europe and South America, too) are gearing up for another major holiday season: Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras or Carnival, as it’s known in other parts of the world, is a weeks-long celebration of Catholic origins between Twelfth Night/Epiphany (the celebration of the three wise men’s visit to the baby Jesus) and culminating on “Fat Tuesday” (named for the tradition of feasting on meat, milk, cheese, butter, and everything else that tastes good). Today’s celebrations involve parades, balls, beads, luscious and decadent food, and plenty of booze. It’s your one last chance to party until midnight on Ash Wednesday, when everyone goes home to fast and repent for the forty days of Lent. New Orleans is, by far, the most famous North American city to revel; however, 14 years before New Orleans was founded, the fair port city of Mobile, Alabama, held the very first Mardi Gras in 1704.
On the 12th day of Christmas, there was an awesome giveaway! This lovely set of Williams Sonoma* citrus-themed plates will be my present to one of you. Glazed earthenware with a hand-painted green rim, these salad plates will brighten up your winter table, for sure. It’s a set of four, one of each design of grapefruit, lemon, orange, and lime.
All you need to do to have a chance to win is write a comment on this post answering the following question:
“What’s on your wish list this year?”
*Williams-Sonoma is in no way affiliated with Lemon Baby or this giveaway. No purchase necessary to enter. Sweepstakes will run from 12/21/2016 6:00 PM EST and close at 6:00PM on 12/25/2016. Winner will be chosen at random and notified via email. Prize is valid only to US residents and will be shipped only to an address in the 48 contiguous states.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, there were oysters swimming in butter and cream. “Oh, that sounds good,” you say? You bet your Hatchimal it’s good. Good enough for Christmas Eve (or even the first course that is the marathon Christmas Day meal).
On the tenth day of Christmas, there were nuts. No, I’m not talking about Great Aunt Bethany with the jello mold that may or may not contain cat food (if you don’t get that reference you need to watch more Christmas movies). I’m referring to the nuts of the pecan variety, lightly coated in a shiny glaze and spiced to perfection with paprika, cumin, cayenne, sugar, and ginger.
On the ninth day of Christmas, mama needed a hot toddy. For those of you not familiar with this libation, it’s a warm cocktail of whiskey, hot water, lemon and honey, usually reserved for medicinal purposes. Like the Thai chicken soup I posted for the third day of Christmas, it’s my go-to when I’m suffering from a cold, but on a chilly, rainy night like tonight, it’s perfect, too.
On the eighth day of Christmas, there were still lemons in my kitchen. That’s right, I have not somehow figured out how to use 200 lemons in one week. But lucky for me, I’m not sick of them yet, despite drinking them in my water, and cocktails, and adding them into any recipe I can think of. So that’s why I bring you lemon curd tonight, and even better, a recipe that takes fewer than 30 minutes from start to finish.
On the 7th day of Christmas, there was more peppermint and chocolate. In case you didn’t believe me when I said this is one of my favorite combinations, here’s more proof. Peppermint patties are one of those things I never thought about making myself, but along came Gourmet magazine’s December 2007 issue, and my Christmas treat-making has never been the same. Continue Reading
On the sixth day of Christmas, there was caramel. Gooey, soft, sweet, buttery caramel, dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with tiny grains of sea salt. I’m a huge fan of caramel, in any form. Dulce de leche, caramel sauce, and caramel truffles are all good in my book. I’ve never been much into making candy (I’m pretty sure it’s because of the time I burned myself with sugar syrup in high school cooking class), but as long as you pay attention during the last stage, you don’t even need a candy thermometer for these.
On the fifth day of Christmas, there was Champagne. There’s nothing like bubbly to toast the holiday season (and keep on toasting ’til the New Year). Last night was our annual gift exchange, hosted by Allison, party thrower extraordinaire. In characteristic fashion, the bubbly was flowing. Champagne is nice, but champagne cocktails are the bomb. For our holiday shindig, Elizabeth brought a grapefruit syrup she made with fruit from her own tree. Paired with bubbly, it was light, refreshing, and the perfect libation to sip while enjoying friends and laughter.
On the fourth day of Christmas, there was peppermint + chocolate, a match made in the North Pole. When I say I love chocolate and peppermint together, that means that I can easily eat an entire tin of Williams-Sonoma peppermint bark by myself. That’s $40 well spent, my friend. Now, I’m pretty sure at one point you’d have never been able to convince me that there was anything better than that combination. Once Bon Appetit added shortbread to the equation, however, I was hooked. I say the word “shortbread” the way Garfield says “lasagna.”
On the third day of Christmas, there was cold and flu season. Yes, while this seems odd to include in a Christmas countdown,no one is immune to the common cold. What’s more, it tends to strike around the least opportune times (i.e., during the holidays, when we have better stuff to do than being stuffed up.) Clear your sinuses with my favorite remedy, this Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup.
On the second day of Christmas, there were cocktails. Because of crowds at the mall, the fact that your kid told you he wanted the impossible-to-find Nintendo NES from Santa (I said “Santa doesn’t bring presents for grown-ups, and we both know that’s really for your daddy”,) and perhaps you (with the help of your husband and two friends) just harvested over 200 lemons from your backyard tree.
For the next twelve days, Lemon Baby is bringing you twelve mini-posts of our holiday favorites. Cookies, cakes, side dishes for the holiday meal, candies, soups, and even some edible gift ideas. Starting #12DaysofChristmas off right is a recipe for one of my absolute favorite cookies. They go by several different names (Snowballs, Meltaways, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Tea Cakes) but they all translate to a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookie dusted with powdered sugar.