For a taste of Italy this festive season, how about these impressively delicate Italian Snowballs (Bolle di Neve, from my cookbook, Bake Like an Italian), which are a favourite in my house. They are great for sharing and when piled up on a cake stand, dusted with icing sugar, they look quite the little Christmas tree!
This recipes makes about 24 depending on the size.
250g plain flour
220g finely chopped pecans
200g softened butter
60g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
200g icing sugar
Preheat oven to 160?C/fan 140?C/gas mark 3. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment. Place flour, pecans, butter, caster sugar and vanilla bean paste into a mixing bowl and beat together until combined (you could also add the zest of one lemon).
Roll the dough into 3cm balls and place on the lined baking trays, then bake for 18-20 minutes until lightly golden. Sift icing sugar into a shallow dish. Remove biscuits from the oven and leave for 6 minutes to set before carefully rolling in the icing sugar while still warm.
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