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Louisiana pecan snowball cookies

  • Category: Recipes
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Louisiana pecan snowball cookies

National Cookie Day is December 4, and baking Louisiana pecan snowball cookies is a perfect way to celebrate. Not only are you supporting local agriculture by buying Louisiana pecans, but you’re also getting some of the health benefits of eating nuts. Pecans, walnuts, almonds and even peanuts are packed with nutrients, including healthy fats, protein and magnesium. While you might not want to make this holiday treat part of your regular diet, nuts can and should be part of your healthy snack routine. If you need more healthy snack ideas, West Jefferson Medical Center providers can help.

Nuts are good for you (but skip the salt)

Years of research have repeatedly shown that including nuts (and seeds) in your diet is good for you. Nuts are high in healthy fats and low in unhealthy saturated fats. Nuts are also packed with protein and fiber, making you feel fuller and helping you burn more energy. This may be why people who eat more nuts tend to have lower body weight. Studies have also found people who eat larger amounts of nuts live longer and have lower rates of heart disease and diabetes.

Walnuts have high amounts of heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids, but don’t sleep on the health benefits of pecans. A one-ounce serving of pecans (about 19 pecan halves) is high in manganese, copper, vitamin B, magnesium and zinc. They also have large amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids, phenolic compounds and tocopherol, which promote heart health.

The key to making nuts a healthy part of your diet is to buy fresh, raw or roasted but unsalted nuts. Sugary, salty snacks mixed with nuts might taste good, but all that sodium will counteract much of the health benefits of snacking on nuts. If you buy a lot of fresh pecans this holiday, be sure to use them up by king cake season or freeze them after the new year. Stale pecans don’t taste good, and moldy pecans are toxic.

Louisiana pecan snowball cookies recipe

Similar to Mexican wedding cookies or Russian tea cakes, these simple cookies are easy to make and even easier to eat. If you’re saving your pecans for pie, substitute walnuts or slivered almonds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 300 F.
  • Cream room-temperature butter and 1/2 cup of sugar together in a mixer. Add the vanilla and blend until smooth.
  • Mix the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl, then add slowly to the butter until well combined. Fold in pecans.
  • Roll dough into 1-inch balls (about 1 tablespoon) and place on greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
  • Bake cookies for about 25 minutes, until golden. Do not overcook. (If cookies are on multiple racks in the oven, swap their places halfway through for an even bake.)
  • Once cookies are cool enough to touch but still warm, gently roll them in the remaining powdered sugar. Set on a rack to cool completely until ready to serve or store.

If you’re planning for the holidays, you can freeze the unbaked dough in advance. Freeze the rolled dough balls on a cookie sheet, then transfer them to a freezer bag for more compact storage. Bake as directed, without thawing. However, it may take a few minutes longer.

Nutritional information per serving: 152 calories; 9.5g total fat (4.4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 17.4 mg cholesterol; 98.9 mg sodium; 16.1 g total carbohydrate; 0.6 g dietary fiber; 8.6 g sugars; 1.4 g protein

If you’re finding it hard to enjoy holiday treats like you used to, the gastroenterology team at West Jefferson Medical Center can help. Find a provider near you.