Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Recipe Review

After an 80-degree Friday in November in South Dakota, I’m ready for some snow.

So I looked in my cupboard and found a box recipe for snowball cookies—perfect for pretending that it’s 50 degrees cooler outside than it actually is.

But then I started thinking: do the boxed baked goods we buy at Walmart stand up to the homemade recipes Mom used to make? I decided to find out.

If you’ve never seen a snowball cookie before, it’s essentially a small ball of dough with nuts rolled in powdered sugar. Pure heaven.

I started off by making the 30 tiny “pecan balls” with my mom’s recipe.

Among the traditional ingredients of flour, sugar and salt, this recipe called for one stick of butter, one tsp of vanilla, and one cup of chopped pecans. These cookies came out delightfully nutty, and looked very tempting after I rolled them in powdered sugar.

I couldn’t help but taste one warm, homemade pecan ball. Just one. Or two. Mmm.

While my first batch of bliss cooled, I started to make the “snowball cookies” from the box.

This recipe called for one and one half sticks of butter and no liquid whatsoever.  The box practically advertised the problem--"Just add butter!"

This lack of liquid made rolling the dough into little balls challenging (read: impossible) until I deviated and added some water. Aside from this, the recipe took practically no time to whip up.

The premade mix had a few pecans—nothing compared to the one-cup glory of Mom’s homemade.

But one taste told me that they were not only as good as the homemade cookies, but—dare I say it—better. These cookies were full of flavor despite the absence of the vanilla extract and the generous helping of pecans.

I don’t know if this was just the extra half stick of butter talking, but they were good.

I love my mom’s homemade recipe. But when it comes to the expediency of the boxed recipe, even I can admit that semi-homemade has its place in my unseasonably warm kitchen.

Want to try the two cookies for yourself? Here's the recipes:

Mom's homemade Pecan Balls:

1 c. sifted flour
1/2 c. soft butter or margarine
1 c. chopped pecans or hazelnuts
2 TB sugar
1/8 TSP salt
1 TSP vanilla
Powdered Sugar

Combine all ingredients except powdered sugar
Refrigerate 30 minutes
Heat oven to 375*
Roll dough into balls about 1 1/4" in diameter
Place 1" apart on ungreased baking sheet
Bake 15-20 minutes--do not brown them
Let stand 1 minute, roll in powdered sugar, cool, then re-roll in sugar.

Makes about 20 [I squeezed about 28 out of it]

Boxed Recipe:

Came from Walmart, in the seasonal baking section. It's a Betty Crocker.

The only ingredients necessary were 1 1/2 sticks of butter and a touch of water. The rest of the ingredients were in the mix, and the directions were on the box. The baking time was cut in half, however, to about 8-10 minutes.



  1. Great post! So, which were the homemade and which were the box? I liked cookie #1 best (the darker one) when I tasted them in class.

  2. The darker ones with more nuts were the homemade. I liked the boxed ones better, but to each his own!


Like me?

web hit counter
Provided by website hit counters hit counter gallery.