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Snowballs for Cousin Ellen

Sidna Brower Mitchell, a Memphis native, was graduated from Ole Miss in 1963 when she was named to the Hall of Fame. As editor of the Daily Mississippian when James Meredith integrated the university, she was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her editorials and received a number of other honors and job offers. She can be reached via e-mail at sbmcooks@aol.com.
Ellen, my Missouri cousin, originally from Mississippi, often calls. Sometimes she is asking some ridiculous question or asking if I remember something that happened during my summer visit to my grandmother’s home and those of other cousins in northeast Mississippi.
However, one day she called as Ken and I were riding in his car to remind me that she rarely cooked anymore, and that she really wanted some “snowballs.” I had no idea what she was talking about. What did snowballs have to do with cooking?
Recalling that we rarely had snow in Memphis or Mississippi but once I moved to New Jersey I made snow ice cream out of newly fallen snow, I questioned Ellen on how you cook snow into balls.
“No, you silly,” Ellen laughed. “I’m talking about my favorite cookies. I can almost taste them now.”
She chattered on, mentioning coconut and powdered sugar. When the phone called ended, Ken asked what was that conversation all about. I said that Ellen wanted me to make some cookies and send them to her.
“Why doesn’t she just make them?” he asked.
“I don’t know; that’s Ellen,” I shrugged. “I’ll have to check my cookbooks to come up with a recipe.”
Well, I can’t tell how many cookbooks I perused, looking for snowballs or coconut balls to no avail. When next Ellen called to see if I had mailed her cookies, I told her I had no idea what she was talking about and couldn’t find any recipes.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “I’ll e-mail the recipe.”
She rapidly did send the recipe, and I made what turned out to be one of my favorite sweets –– I just didn’t know the name. Since I had to provide refreshments for the Kiwanis Club that night, I included the snowballs, hoping there would be enough left to mail to Ellen.
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour, sifted
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla, flour and nuts and blend well.
Form dough in balls about the size of a quarter.Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes or until just slightly browned.
Remove from oven and cool. When cool, roll in confectioner’s sugar. Makes about four to five dozen, depending on the size of the balls.
NOTE: Ellen wrote that these cookies are also called Mexican wedding ring cookies. Whenever I see these little cookies in an arrangement, I go right to them but I had never baked them. Yummy.
Ellen claimed she ate almost the whole box at once. I certainly hoped she appreciated my efforts, not only for baking the cookies but also for paying about $6 just to mail them.
Merry Christmas!

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