My favorite Christmas traditions go hand-in-hand: baking delicious treats and spending time with friends and family.
For years, we hosted a Christmas Cookie Open House at our home every December. I’d bake approximately 300 dozen cookies (yes, I did say 300 DOZEN – I usually made between 12 and 20 dozen each of at least 16 different varieties of cookie), and we’d invite all of our neighbors, co-workers, friends and acquaintances to come sample the sweetness of the season with us. Each year, I created at least one brand-new cookie recipe for the event, as well as bringing back the traditional favorites.
By far, my most popular cookie creation was the Lemon Snowball Cookie. And in preparation for the Ultimate Pitch Wars Snowball Fight, I thought I’d share them with you.
They taste like classic Lemon Bars, but with a melt-in-your mouth crunch instead of the sticky, gooey mess generally associated with the delectable treat. (And bonus! The recipe has no eggs or dairy, so it’s great for those on a vegan diet and my friends with allergies who are often left out of the goodie exchange because of dietary restrictions.)
1 c. margarine
1 c. powdered sugar (divided)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. lemon extract
2 1/4 c. flour (whole wheat gives the most full flavor, but all-purpose works almost as well)
Cream together margarine and 1/2 c. powdered sugar.
Add lemon flavoring and salt. Beat until light and fluffy.
Stir in flour.
Chill dough 3-4 hours. (If you skip this step, your cookies will not hold their shape.)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Roll into balls approximately 1″ in diameter (I use a mini cookie scoop, but you can use your hands, if you don’t have one.)
Place dough balls on an ungreased baking sheet. Cookies don’t spread when baked (unless you forgot to chill the dough), so you can place them close together, as long as they’re not touching. I can usually fit the entire batch of cookies onto one large baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are set, but not browned. Cool slightly on the baking sheet.
Put the remaining 1/2 c. of powdered sugar into a gallon-sized zip-top baggie. Place the cooled-but-still-slightly-warm cookies into the bag and zip closed. Shake the bag gently to coat each cookie in powdered sugar. I’ve found that 1/2 c. sugar is just about perfect for one batch of cookies, but you can use more or less, depending upon your personal taste preferences.
(recipe makes approximately 7 dozen cookies)
These delicious little bite-sized cookies are so good, you’ll probably need to make several batches, if you want enough to share!
Veronica writes children’s books, from picture books to YA novels. She’s represented by Jessica Sinsheimer (Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, LLC). Her debut YA Contemporary Romance novel, TWELVE STEPS, will be published by Swoon Romance in 2014.