Happy Christmas Week! Let the countdown begin to the most glorious day of the year. Usually I begin baking cookies earlier in the month so that I can share them with friends and we can enjoy them throughout December, however this year my family has had an ongoing cold and I've been preoccupied with caring for a sick husband and toddler. I've been making more chicken soup and smoothies than cookies. Until now. I poured through several magazines and cookbooks to round up this year's selection and am ready to bake. In retrospect I actually think beginning the baking the week of makes the holiday feel a little more special, as there's something delicious and new to enjoy each day before Christmas day.
First up are Ann Mann's Mexican Christmas cookies. Who's Ann Mann?! Good question. When I was 14 years old and a freshmen in high school my mom gave me a small cookbook called Cookies For Christmas written by Maria Robbins. In the book there is a recipe for Ann Mann's Mexican Christmas Cookies who was the neighbor of the author's sister. Ann Mann grew up in Mazatlan, Mexico where her mother cooked these cookies by the thousands and sold them to put her children through school. Isn't that lovely? It makes the recipe even more extraordinary. I LOOOOVE these cookies. They are basically a Mexican Wedding Cookie and are absolutely delicious! Luke has decided they are his favorite, second to chocolate chip. Yesterday after I baked them I delivered a batch to our building staff and they gobbled them right up. I hope you find them as wonderful as I do and add them to your holiday cookie baking traditions. Enjoy!
Baby it's cold outside (I baked these while Vivi was napping and needed to bake them on the balcony to prevent her from waking while I used the beaters. It was cooooold!)
2 sticks sweet butter
2 sticks margarine*
1/2 c sugar
3 ts vanilla
4 c flour
2 c finely chopped pecans
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-In a large bowl, with an electric mixer at medium speed, cream together butter, margarine, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy
-Measure out 2 2/3 c of flour and dump it all at once into the creamed mixture. Blend with an electric mixer, at low speed, for 5 seconds until barely blended
-Sprinkle the nuts over the dough and sprinkle the additional flour over the dough. Use a large wooden spoon or spatula to mix the dough lightly until incorporated
-Pinch off bits of dough and form 1 1/2 inch balls
-Bake 15-20 minutes
-Remove from oven and place cookie sheets on wire racks to cool. While cookies are still warm, roll them in confectioners sugar. Let cool and store in an airtight container
*I used to use margarine but now use all butter.