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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cherry-Walnut Balls



Ingredients

1/4 cup coarsely chopped maraschino cherries
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted*
Powdered sugar

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Drain maraschino cherries on paper towels; pat dry to remove any excess liquid. Set cherries aside.
2. Beat butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Beat in the 1/2 cup powdered sugar, almond extract, and vanilla until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour, nuts, and cherries with a wooden spoon.
3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until bottoms are lightly brown. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheets on wire racks. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar to coat. Transfer cookies to wire racks and cool completely.
4. If desired, roll cooled cookies in additional powdered sugar before serving. Makes about 48 balls.
5. *Note: To toast nuts, spread them in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake in a preheated 325F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until nuts are slightly golden brown, stirring once or twice. Cool completely. Chop nuts and set aside.
6. To store: Place cookies in layers separated by pieces of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw cookies, if frozen, before serving.

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