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The Buttery, Boozy Treats That Are One of Martha Stewart's Favorite Holiday Desserts

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‘Tis the season for holiday sweet treats of all kinds—cookies, bark, fudge, candy and more. But whether I’m the baker or the eater I can’t help but crave cookies this time of year. While I have several family recipes I make on repeat, there’s something about the season of giving that compels me to seek out and bake new cookies each and every holiday. 

Being a fan of Martha Stewart, the culinary icon who takes cookie baking seriously (she has a cookbook devoted to the sweet), I instinctively turn to her time and again for inspiration.

I recently came across Stewart’s recipe for Noel Nut Balls, the same ones that Stewart’s mom, lovingly known as Big Martha, made yearly for her family. Martha herself included the recipe in the list of her 8 favorite Christmas cookies, so I knew immediately that I would be adding them to my cookie tray. Heck, if they are good enough for Big Martha’s family they most certainly are good enough for mine.

Get the recipe: Martha Stewart’s Noel Nut Balls

What are Martha Stewart’s Noel Nut Balls

Noel Nut Balls are the perfect cold-weather cookie. Made with pecans and flavored with soul-warming bourbon, the bite-sized treats are finished with a coating of confectioners’ sugar, which gives them their snow-dusted look. 

While these snowball-shaped treats resemble the iconic Mexican wedding cookies, they taste quite different.  Wedding cookies are traditionally made with lots of butter and flavored with vanilla and sometimes cinnamon. Noel Nut Balls relies on honey and bourbon for their flavor.

Theresa Greco

Ingredients for Martha Stewart’s Noel Nut Balls

If you’re a holiday baker, you will most likely have all the ingredients for these cookies in your pantry. If not, here’s what you’ll need to grab: whole pecans, flour, confectioners’ sugar, salt, honey and bourbon. Stewart’s recipe mentions you can substitute orange juice for the bourbon if you prefer a more family-friendly version. I trust this is a good exchange, though I haven’t tried it myself.

Ingredients Needed

Theresa Greco

How to Make Martha Stewart’s Noel Nut Balls

Start by finely chopping your pecans. I did this using a small food processor, although a heavy knife will also get the job done. You’ll mix the nuts with sifted flour, salt and confectioners’ sugar.

Next, mix together the butter, honey and bourbon until the mixture is light and fluffy. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture to form a sandy dough. Don’t let the texture concern you. The dough is wrapped in plastic  and allowed to chill for at least 3 hours. After chilling it will have a more cohesive texture.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°. Roll a small amount of dough, approximately 2 teaspoons, into a balls and on a parchment-lined baking sheet (you can also use a silicone baking mat, as I did). Repeat with the rest of the dough, placing the dough balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. 

Bake the cookies until the edges begin to brown, which takes about 12 minutes, depending on your oven. Let them cool completely on a wire rack before rolling them in powdered sugar to coat.

What I Thought of Stewart’s Noel Nut Balls

These cookies are very good, if not great! In an Instagram post, Stewart describes them as “crowd-pleasing” and I would have to agree with that.

View the original article to see embedded media.

The mix of nuts, honey and bourbon with the sweet powdered sugar coating is a delicious combination. They’re so good that I’d suggest making a double batch! These pecan-filled cookies were devoured so quickly that they never even made it to the holiday treat table. 

First Bite

Theresa Greco

 


‘Tis the season for holiday sweet treats of all kinds—cookies, bark, fudge, candy and more. But whether I’m the baker or the eater I can’t help but crave cookies this time of year. While I have several family recipes I make on repeat, there’s something about the season of giving that compels me to seek out and bake new cookies each and every holiday. 

Being a fan of Martha Stewart, the culinary icon who takes cookie baking seriously (she has a cookbook devoted to the sweet), I instinctively turn to her time and again for inspiration.

I recently came across Stewart’s recipe for Noel Nut Balls, the same ones that Stewart’s mom, lovingly known as Big Martha, made yearly for her family. Martha herself included the recipe in the list of her 8 favorite Christmas cookies, so I knew immediately that I would be adding them to my cookie tray. Heck, if they are good enough for Big Martha’s family they most certainly are good enough for mine.

Get the recipe: Martha Stewart’s Noel Nut Balls

What are Martha Stewart’s Noel Nut Balls

Noel Nut Balls are the perfect cold-weather cookie. Made with pecans and flavored with soul-warming bourbon, the bite-sized treats are finished with a coating of confectioners’ sugar, which gives them their snow-dusted look. 

While these snowball-shaped treats resemble the iconic Mexican wedding cookies, they taste quite different.  Wedding cookies are traditionally made with lots of butter and flavored with vanilla and sometimes cinnamon. Noel Nut Balls relies on honey and bourbon for their flavor.

Theresa Greco

Ingredients for Martha Stewart’s Noel Nut Balls

If you’re a holiday baker, you will most likely have all the ingredients for these cookies in your pantry. If not, here’s what you’ll need to grab: whole pecans, flour, confectioners’ sugar, salt, honey and bourbon. Stewart’s recipe mentions you can substitute orange juice for the bourbon if you prefer a more family-friendly version. I trust this is a good exchange, though I haven’t tried it myself.

Ingredients Needed

Theresa Greco

How to Make Martha Stewart’s Noel Nut Balls

Start by finely chopping your pecans. I did this using a small food processor, although a heavy knife will also get the job done. You’ll mix the nuts with sifted flour, salt and confectioners’ sugar.

Next, mix together the butter, honey and bourbon until the mixture is light and fluffy. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture to form a sandy dough. Don’t let the texture concern you. The dough is wrapped in plastic  and allowed to chill for at least 3 hours. After chilling it will have a more cohesive texture.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°. Roll a small amount of dough, approximately 2 teaspoons, into a balls and on a parchment-lined baking sheet (you can also use a silicone baking mat, as I did). Repeat with the rest of the dough, placing the dough balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. 

Bake the cookies until the edges begin to brown, which takes about 12 minutes, depending on your oven. Let them cool completely on a wire rack before rolling them in powdered sugar to coat.

What I Thought of Stewart’s Noel Nut Balls

These cookies are very good, if not great! In an Instagram post, Stewart describes them as “crowd-pleasing” and I would have to agree with that.

View the original article to see embedded media.

The mix of nuts, honey and bourbon with the sweet powdered sugar coating is a delicious combination. They’re so good that I’d suggest making a double batch! These pecan-filled cookies were devoured so quickly that they never even made it to the holiday treat table. 

First Bite

Theresa Greco

 

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