These cookies go by many names: Sand Tarts, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Butternut, Snowflake, Russian Tea Cake, Viennese Snowball. No matter the name, these cookies are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. They are a mainstay on the traditional Catholic offering to St. Joseph each spring. Cocoons can be found on St. Joseph's altars along with Fig and Italian Seed Cookies. We love this generations-old recipe. Your grandmother would call this one "a keeper!"
Makes 3 dozen cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 Tbl powdered sugar, plus morefor dredging
2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1.5 cups finely ground pecans
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and pecans. Slowly beat in the flour just until incorporated. Form into balls about two inches in diameter. Place on a baking sheet and bake until firm and lightly browned on the bottom--about 15-20 minutes. Be careful not to overbrown.
Allow to cool for about five minutes on the cookie sheet. While still warm, dredge in confectioners sugar and set aside. The sugar will melt on the cookies. After all the cookies have been dredged, start again and re-dredge. This second coating will create the snowball effect.