Santa isn’t the only one who enjoys a plateful of cookies, especially when the treats in question are these irresistible snowballs. Melissa Forti’s debut cookbook, The Italian Baker, puts a modern spin on Italian classics. Her delicious recipes are captured in the photographs by Danny Bernardini. Here, Forti shares her recipe for palle d’inverno, winter snowball cookies. Don’t be surprised if these become a holiday favorite.
I love the days preceding Christmas more than Christmas Day itself, and in fact on the day, I get a little blue. Probably because of all the anticipation and work we are all engaged in, and once the day comes, Christmas feels over. Oh well, let’s focus on the nice part then: baking! The tea room at Christmas explodes with decorations, and the sound of Christmas carols is always present!
These make a perfect gift for friends or colleagues, packaged in a nice bag or box tied with beautiful ribbons.
Makes 24, depending on size
1 cup butter, at room temperature
Scant 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon good-quality cocoa powder
3oz ground almonds
About 2 2/3 cups confectioner’s sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter on a medium speed until creamy. (Alternatively, use a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon.)
Add the confectioner’s sugar and salt, mix in the vanilla, sprinkle in the cornstarch and, with the mixer on a low speed, slowly add in the flour and cocoa powder and mix just until combined. Finally, stir in ground almonds.
Scoop the dough out, 1 tablespoon at a time, and roll into a ball, placing the balls on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 16–18 minutes, until the bottom edges are lightly golden.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for several minutes then, while they are still warm, tip the confectioner’s sugar into a bowl and roll the cookies in it to coat. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then, once completely cool, roll them in the icing sugar once more, this time to generously coat, pressing the icing sugar on a little.