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Tea and Brandy. (Cookies, that is)

‘Tis the season for giving cheer, gifts, and cookies with a resemblance to snowballs. Today I present you with a double helping of Holiday cheer, from our home to yours. Both of these cookies are guaranteed to warm your heart, and one will warm your tummy as well! Don’t let the resemblance fool you. These cookies may look alike on the outside, but the differences between them are like night and day. (Or chocolate and vanilla, as the case may be.)

Though I’ve posted My Aunt Thelma’s Tea Cookie recipe before, I really can’t do Christmas without them. They are a Holiday staple in my household, as they have been for the past 25 years and I doubt they will be going anywhere soon. These little treats are the ultimate in decadence, and should be eaten without remorse for what they will do to your waistline. It is Christmas, after all!

Be warned, the Brandy Balls are intended for mature audiences. These are a no bake cookie, therefore they hold about 90% of the alcohol content they were originally given. The flavor is intense and eating too many before driving is discouraged by both the management of this blog as well as state troopers anywhere in the country, not to mention M.A.D.D.

Brandy Balls Recipe
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 2 1/2 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers (roughly 1 box, if you are using ‘Nilla® Wafers.)
  • 1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
Method
  1. Sift together 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder and allspice in a large bowl. Stir in the brandy and corn syrup. Stir in the vanilla wafers and walnuts. Mix well.
  2. Place in refrigerator to firm up slightly, about 30 minutes. (May appear crumbly and dry, this is O.K.)
  3. Place remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar in a shallow bowl.
  4. Using a tablespoon, scoop out portions of the chocolate mixture and press into 1″ balls. Roll the balls in confectioners’ sugar with your hands. coat evenly.
  5. Place on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container with waxed paper or parchment paper between layers for up to 2 weeks.

Tea Cookies (Mexican Wedding Cakes, Russian Tea Cakes)
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup nuts, chopped finely (optional for my sister, a must for me. I prefer walnuts or pecans for this cookie)
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cream Together sugar and shortening. Add remaining ingredients and mix until a very firm dough forms. (A stand mixer is a good tool to have here, otherwise use your fingers to mix the ingredients together.)
  3. Roll dough into balls the size of a small walnut. Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 375°.
  4. Remove from oven and roll in powdered sugar while still HOT. (Caution, remember, this is culinary napalm, make sure you’re wearing gloves, or that you’ve coated your fingers in powdered sugar before grabbing hold of the first cookie!)
  5. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.
  6. Makes 28-36 cookies.

What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:

The brandy in these little booze packed flavor bombs is a bit intense in flavor. I think the next time I make them, I’ll back it off a bit. Perhaps 1/3 of a cup instead of the 1/2 cup called for in the recipe. Otherwise I am quite happy with the outcome. You may also substitute dark rum for the brandy and gain Rum Balls. Use Bourbon and you have bourbon balls. Quite versatile, really.

I’m not changing a thing about the Tea Cookies. My Aunt would haunt me throughout the rest of my life!

Links to other recipes like this:

 

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