Grandma’s Joyful Holiday Cookies

Last weekend Bill, Brook and I baked some holiday cookies together.  I LOVE everything about these cookies…how few ingredients they require, how fun it is to roll the dough into balls, and best of all…how amazingly delicious they taste.

Here’s what they look like piled up on a pretty plate.  I think they look like cute little snowballs…so perfect for the winter holiday season. We probably could’ve added a heavier coating of confectioners sugar on the outside, but then it would’ve taken too much time away from the actual eating part.


Here’s a look at the inside where there are small pieces of pecans for some added crunch.


Baking and eating these cookies with my family gives me joy.   And then there’s even more joy to be had when we bake enough to share with others outside our household.  I think these cookies should be called double-joy cookies!  I love how sharing something so simple can double the joy for everyone.

In the sharing spirit, here’s the recipe for you to try – you won’t be disappointed!

Pecan Butter Cookies (Double the recipe for double the joy).

1 c. butter
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chopped pecans
2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar, add nuts, vanilla, flour and salt.  Knead mixture and shape into balls.  Bake in 325 oven for 30 minutes.  When coolish, roll in sifted confectioners sugar (we sometimes skip the sifting part and it all works out fine anyway).

Grandma Marion (Bill’s grandma) used to bake these cookies for their annual New Years Eve parties held in her home.  Bill’s grandfather was a business man whose occupation involved hosting lots of fancy parties for clients and colleagues.  Luckily, Grandma Marion was an elegant and thoughtful hostess.  She used to bake these cookies herself (which wasn’t easy considering the large amount she had to bake), and then she would serve them on a silver platter to each of her guests right after midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Bill, Brook and I usually celebrate Christmas and New Years in a much more quiet fashion.  We are very casual in our approach…pajamas and presents by the fire on Christmas morning.  And on New Years Eve it’s usually pajamas again, but at night while we’re watching the ball drop on tv. (Most of the time I don’t even make it to midnight since I’m an early to bed kind of person.)  Anyway, back to the cookies…these would be perfect on either Christmas morning with coffee or New Years Eve with champagne, whether quietly at home or out at a party.  Don’t you just love how joy can be done in so many different ways?!





13 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Jeanette in Illinois

    I just love traditions and thanks for sharing yours!

    Wee snowballs of pecan delicousness are wonderful, I often make these too! I’m going to bake this weekend, it’s a tradition I took over from my Mom many, many years ago. Even thought she’s no longer with us, I feel like she is when I bake her butter cookies pressed into shapes with a hand twist cookie press just as she did for us all those years…it’s a heart-felt tradition I’ve always maintained. For me, sharing baked goodies is one of the greatest ways to show love!

    Hope your weekend is full of all the warmest, fuzziest, heart-wrapped things to bring you the greatest joy! We’re supposed to get quite a bit of SNOW, which I’m looking forward to so I can hunker down and Christmas nest!

    December 13th, 2013

  2. Those ARE my favorite cookies! I don’t make them often as I eat all of them. I think I’ll make some! hee hee! Thank you for the inspiration! Protect your joy!

    December 13th, 2013

  3. Laura H

    love these too. Shelby and I are going to make some dipped black licorice sticks, we’ll dip them in white chocolate and bag them for gifts. they are delicious too. Merry Christmas and hope your new year is filled with good memories.

    December 14th, 2013

  4. These cookies look wonderful on that plate ,,,I know the non egg eating people are thrilled to see a cookie recipe without eggs…that is unusual. I am going to make them but substitue almond flour and erythrite for the flour and sugar part:) I will let you know if they turn out as good as Grandma”s…..ok:) Happy Holidy Season to you and yours..oh and those hearts and necklaces below…..stunning.

    December 14th, 2013

  5. Becky Shander

    Sounds like good ideas regarding the ingredient substitutions Cynthia…will definitely want to know how they turn out. And how nice to know that the ladies who commented earlier enjoy these same cookies…I’m not surprised to learn that we have this in common too (love that we share a taste for these delectable cookies as well as a love for art making.)

    December 14th, 2013

  6. Becky, the cookies look like little bites of decadence and they represent so much more. The traditions that surround our holidays are what connects us to one another and to other generations. Traditions give us a sense of comfort and belonging. I’m sure these little sweets will forever hold a special place in Brook’s holiday tradition and bring her many joy filled memories.

    This year my darling mother passed away and my sisters begged me to bake some of her specialty Christmas cookies for them. As I made these treats, I was flooded with memories of her, of my grandmother and of her sisters. I grew up in their kitchens learning all their traditional Italian recipes by heart. I felt such a strong bond between these woman and learned the importance of female relationships.

    Blessings and the Merriest Christmas to you and your family & many beautiful memories as you bite into your cookies,


    P.S. As always, thanks for sharing your beautiful story!

    December 14th, 2013

  7. oh these are my absolute FAVE cookies evah!!! yum! Merry XMas dear Becky! ;)

    December 14th, 2013

  8. Jani Howe

    Becky, I’ve been making these for my two girls since they were little, and they do call them ‘snowballs’! I send them by mail to the girls — they travel well, if well wrapped. It’s an old family favorite. My memories of making cookies with the girls is a well-loved one. I hope you, too, enjoy your holidays to the utmost. I wonder if you and I were twins in another life, we see so many things the same way!

    December 14th, 2013

  9. Becky Shander

    How wonderful to hear about all these cookie coincidences…love your stories!

    December 14th, 2013

  10. Laura

    My mom used to make these cookies. I love them!

    December 14th, 2013

  11. Becky Shander

    And thank you for sharing your story too JoJo. I know that when we lose our loved ones there is a void that stays unfilled. Yet you’re right, through traditions we can still connect in a way, and through this, comfort is possible. I’m glad to know that you feel this comfort from time to time.

    December 15th, 2013

  12. Hi Becky! I’ve been wanting to make some cookies like that…thank you for sharing your recipe! Sounds like a wonderful holiday to me…that’s how we like it…quiet and comfortable!

    December 15th, 2013

  13. Haha I also don’t make it to midnight! And we have the same casual approach as you!
    Thanks so much for the recipe, it sounds delicious, and I will try it.
    May the New Year be illuminating, artsy and peaceful for you.
    Monica xo

    December 27th, 2013

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