Butter balls (cookies)
I've seen some variations of this recipe, as well as different names but this is the recipe and name I use most often. Usually I make these at Christmas time because they're often requested. They're fancy-looking when they're done, and most importantly, they taste good (especially with coffee, tea, or hot chocolate; it's a dry cookie). They're really easy to make and would probably be good anytime, but even so, I consider them a special occasion kind of cookie.
I should also probably admit that my butter balls almost always end up as butter semi-flats (not completely flat, thankfully). Not sure why, maybe because of the amount of butter. Nobody every complains so I guess that's a good enough reason not to worry about it. :)
1 cup butter
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped nuts (usually walnuts but almonds or pecans are good too)
1 TBS vanilla extract
2 - 2 & 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Preheat your oven to 350° F.
Cream the butter in a mixing bowl. Gradually add the sugar and salt and beat until light & fluffy. Add the nuts and the vanilla extract; mix well. Blend in flour gradually and mix thoroughly.
Refrigerate for a few hours so the dough can firm up a bit and is easier to handle (even chilled, this will be a soft dough).
Shape into teaspoonful sized balls and place about an inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes. The cookies should be a light golden color. Soft but firm.
Sift some confectioner's sugar on wax paper. Place the (hot, just from the oven) cookies on the wax paper and sift confectioner's sugar over each to coat.
Alternately.... you can pour some sifted confectioner's sugar in a paper or zip bag and place some of the cookies inside. Gently shake well so the sugar completely coats the cookies. Sometimes these cookies come out very tender (and fragile!) and this method of coating them can cause breakage. Usually I use the wax paper method because I don't want to risk it.
I also double the batch. Maybe this is why they're usually butter flats. Ah well, they're good, that's all I care about!
There is another picture here and here.