Italian Wedding Cookies

While Dom loves pizzelles and almond biscotti, crispy, buttery wedding cookies are his absolute favorites. At traditional Italian weddings, there is usually an elaborate cookie table with a wide variety of Italian specialties like biscotti, pizzelles, clothespin cookies and, of course, “wedding cookies” sometimes called biscochitos, Russian tea cakes, or butterballs.

This eggless recipe is easy if you remember my two secret tips: first, do not over beat the dough when the flour is added or the cookies will be tough; and, second, refrigerate the dough before making the cookies.

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups finely ground pecans (or almonds or walnuts)
4 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for rolling

Cream the butter in a mixing bowl gradually adding the confectioners' sugar and salt and beat until light and fluffy. Add the almonds and vanilla and mix well. Blend in flour gradually and beat just to combine into a soft dough, remembering not to over beat. Refrigerate the dough for 2 hours (or overnight.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Gently shape into balls using about 1 teaspoonful for each cookie. Place on ungreased cookie sheets (I use parchment paper) and press down lightly, and bake for 12-15 minutes. Do not brown. Cool slightly, and then roll in the extra confectioners' sugar.