Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Traditions: De Ball Cookies

I think that holiday cookies are a tradition that most families have around Christmas time. My mother-in-law makes homemade cookies with homemade frosting. They are the best-tasting. The frosting is light and fluffy and not overly sweet, and the kids have fun helping to decorate them.

On my mom's side of the family, my Great Grandmother always made De Ball (pronounced "D" Ball) cookies and Date Pinwheels. I don't even know how far back she started doing this. The De Ball cookies are my uncle's favorite, and my Great Aunt continued to make the cookies after my Great Grandmother passed away. She, too, is getting up there in age, so I started making these cookies a few years ago, using my Great Grandmother's recipe. I like sending these cookies out to family members in a care package, keeping just a few for me, my husband, and our children.

First of all, melt and cool 1 1/2 Tbsp of butter or margarine. Add 2 beaten eggs, 2/3 cup sugar, and 2 cups chopped dates. Mix and cook, stirring constantly until thick.

As the mixture heats up, the dates will get very soft and the wole mixture will turn a dark color. As you stir, make sure you stir the date mixture away from the sides of the pans. You'll cook and stir for about 10 minutes.

After the mixture has heated and cooked through and the dates have cooked down, remove the saucepan from heat. Add 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp salt. Allow mixture to cool.

Add 2 cups krispie rice cereal to a large bowl.

Add 1/2 cup chopped nuts and cooled date mixture.

This is where things get a little sticky. Mix cereal, dates and nuts with your hands. Dip your fingers into a little bit of butter and spread around your palms and fingers to keep the cookie mixture from sticking to you. Shape into balls or logs, using about 1 heaping tsp of the mixture. See below. I added more butter than is really needed, so you can see how to spread it over your hand. You may need to add a little bit more butter every so often to your fingertips as you shape the cookies into balls (it only takes just a little bit of butter).

Roll your date cookie balls into finely chopped nuts or coconut, or leave as is. Allow to set on wax or parchment paper.

De Ball Cookies

1 1/2 squares (1 1/2 Tbsp) butter or oleo
2 eggs, beaten well
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup dates, chopped
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
2 cups crispy rice cereal
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Melt and cool butter or oleo. Add eggs, sugar and dates. Mix and cook, stirring constantly until thick, stirring away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat; add vanlla and salt. Cool. Mix date mixture with cereal and nuts in a large bowl. Shape into balls or logs, using about 1 heaping tsp of the mixture. Roll in finely chopped nuts or coconut.

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