will be catering several weddings this spring, so I came up with my own version of Italian wedding cookies, after many trials, and a few errors to produce a delicate buttery cookie that is made with ground nuts. There are several different types of these cookies which include the Mexican Wedding cookies, often coated with a mixture of cinnamon and confectioners' sugar. The Russian Tea Cakes which can be made with ground hazelnuts, and Italian Wedding cookies which traditionally use ground almonds. All of them are delicious, and each recipe utilizes a different proportion of butter and flour. They are a very good suprise in you mouth, delicate little cookie. I would try all different types, or versions to figure out the one you like best.
These Italian Wedding cookies are buttery, delicate, and have a wonderful flavor. This is a very easy recipe to make, and they are worth the effort put forth for every cookie and crumble left.
Italian Wedding Cookies:
1½ cups unsalted butter
¾ cup confectioners' sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups finely ground almonds
4 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste
3 cups of sifted all purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioners sugar for dipping
First, preheat your oven to 325 degrees if you have an electric oven and about 300 to 315 if you have a gas oven. Gas ovens cook much faster than an electric oven depending on the oven. If you have a convection oven I recomend turning the fan off if you can, it will burn the cookies before they are fully cooked.
First you will soften and mix the butter in a bowl, and you will sift and then add the ¾ cup confectioners sugar and salt to the butter. You will then mix the butter, and sugar with salt mixture until it is light and fluffy. You will now add the ground almonds and the vanilla bean paste. You will then add the sifted flour in until it just mixed, you do not want to overmix, or overwork the dough. The cookies will not be very light in texture if you do.
Take about one teaspoon of dough in your hand at a time, and roll it into a ball. You will then place the rolled cookie dough balls on the parchment paper or an ungreased cookie sheet if you do not have parchment paper. You will then bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes. You will want to watch the first batch fairly closely and turn halfway through baking to ensure even cooking. You want to make sure to get them cooked but not too brown. Once the cookies are done you will remove from the oven, and cool the cookies for about five minutes, and then roll in the left over confectioners sugar.
You will then hold these little delicate cookies until you are ready for service.
Chef Shelley Pogue, a Cum Laude, Le Cordon Blue graduate and Executive Research and Development Chef, for Vertical Sales and Marketing, San Ramon, CA. Shelley is also the desserts editor for BellaOnline.com.
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