Holiday Recipes: BUTTER BALLS!


First & foremost, thank you, to Bill Leff & Wendy Snyder for having me on their show today.  They are so nice and fun to talk with! And by the way, thank you to all of you who have reached out to me after listening and or reading my posts.  It’s really great to hear from you, and makes me feel like I’m not alone at my computer talking to myself. Haha!

In this post I am sharing my mom’s Butter Ball recipe.  Now, I doubt she was the actual creator of this recipe. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say I’m 100% certain she was not the creator of this recipe.  However, I don’t know where she got it or who created it. I wish I did, just because it’s fun to think that back in the day, mom’s had to rely  solely on newspaper, magazines and cookbooks for finding recipes.  At any rate, you all may already have a similar recipe like this even, because I’m pretty sure it has been a traditional holiday cookie for a very long time. What I do know for certain is she made these Butter Ball cookies every year at the holidays and eating one last night brought me back to Christmas in the 1970’s, growing up in a household of 8 kids, and just loving this time of year.  This cookie, for me anyway, is the stuff that makes the holidays special…and I love that my sisters had the wits to keep my mom’s recipes and share them with me this week. And it made me miss my mom. Ok, I’m getting a little sappy here over a darn cookie! But seriously,  where the heck have I been, and why have I not made these for myself EVERY Christmas!?

So here goes:

My mom’s Butter Balls:


1 Cup Butter

1 Cup Sifted confectioner’s sugar, *plus more to roll the cookies in after they come out of the oven

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 Cup Ground pecans or ground almonds – I use pecans and today’s batch I simply chopped up whole pecans, and they got good reviews, so either nut is fine and chopping or ground is fine too

1 Tablespoon of Vanilla

2 Cups of flour

Directions: Cream butter. Add the cup of sifted sugar & salt, creaming well into the butter. Stir in pecans/almonds and vanilla.  Add flour gradually.  Mix thoroughly.  Shape into 1 inch or so balls, and place them on a cookie sheet (I always line my sheets with parchment). Bake @ 325 for 15-18 minutes. DO NOT BROWN! They will look a little underdone, but don’t worry, the bottoms will have a tint of golden.  Remove them from the sheet while they are still warm and roll them in additional confectioner’s sugar.  This will create a delicious glaze.  Place on a rack to cool.  Enjoy!

I’ll be posting more holiday recipes this week too (My “Rose Hill Farm” Fudge recipe, the Gingerbread Cookie Bar w/Cream Cheese Frosting, and the pavlova one…although that one was not my favorite, but you might like it!) Stay tuned.

Thank you so much for reading my blog. And as always…GO BEARS!!!





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2018 will mark my 7th Season making treats and baking for the Chicago Bears. You might be thinking, how does one land that gig? Well, let me tell you. It’s riveting… My younger brother, Danny, works full-time for the Bears. Our entire family have been life-long Bears fans, btw. Back in the summer of 2012, he came to me and said, “Hey, we need someone to make treats for the team. Do you think you can do it? Because my boss said, Dan, you’ve got all those sisters, can’t one of them bake? So, I volunteered you.” My first response was, “YES, but I don’t know how to bake”. I mean, up until that point, the only things I remember ever baking were 1) S’mores Bars back in the 80’s off a recipe on the back of the Golden Grahams cereal box. Come to think of it now, I don’t even think those things went into the oven – so technically that wasn’t baking. And 2) Good old Nestle Toll House cookies – which NEVER turned out the same each time I baked them and it drove me nuts and got me to HATE baking for that very reason. I was always in love with cooking, though. I was the gal who threw dinner parties often and provided an obnoxious array of hors d’oeuvres and wine – that’s more my thing. Side note: I learned the hard way that baking and wine don’t mix. Ha! However, I was honored and excited to have been asked to step up to the plate for this little baking / treat-making gig, for THE CHICAGO BEARS, no less. So my answer was an enthusiastic, YES! I figured I still had a month before the first regular season game, which is when the “treat days” begin – every Thursday during the regular season (not preseason). So, I hit the streets in search of good recipes and then got to work test-baking in the kitchen for the rest of that summer. As I became more internet savvy, I started following lots of baking bloggers and watching video tutorials. I would go to parties and if I tasted something that I thought was exceptional, I would never hesitate to ask for the recipe. Baking for the Bears is always in the back of my mind when eating desserts. I now have an arsenal of treat recipes worthy of offering at a bake shop, if I do say so myself;) . I started getting requests for my pound cake, outside of Baking for the Bears, and my Double Chocolate Chip Sea Salt cookies have been quoted as “The best cookies in the world” by a well-known player, as well as friends, family and neighbors. One of the first things I did was perfect a cookie of my own that comes out pretty consistently crunchy on the outside but chewy on the inside. I no longer rely on the old Toll-House recipe. It’s the one thing I never get tired of baking. The guys get them every week. With that said, this season, I plan to blog my recipes each week, and share with you whatever it is I am making for the Bears. I’ll also give you tried & true feedback on what worked, what didn’t, and any fun comments that the players, staff, friends & co-workers might have regarding the treat of the week. My office colleagues love it when football season rolls around, because I typically find new recipes and test-bake on Sundays to bring in on Mondays for critical reviews. From there, I decide if they are Bear-worthy for Thursday Treat Days at Halas Hall. I hope you will check in periodically and enjoy my blog. I’m super excited for the 2018 Bears football season both on the field and in the kitchen! GO BEARS! This is gonna be a good season… I can feel it!

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