The Rumbly Tummy: Guest Baker Megan Kegley!
We are wrapping up our year, and feeling the holiday blues already. Being a teeny tiny traveling folk band comes with its perks of seeing a lot of friends and family throughout the year, but also the sinking feeling that we will never be able to gather them all in one room at once. Maybe that's a pretty lucky problem to have-- so many loving folks, so little time.
It's also lucky that sometimes, one of those friends will be thinking of us, too, and sends a care package across the distance to be in the same room for a little while-- both in spirit and in cookie. Our friend, Megan Kegley, and her partner Ryan and Ryan's brother (and one of our favorite fans) Adam have done this for us on more than one occasion. And we were delighted to have found one of these carefully crafted packages for us last month at our brief stopover in Tallahassee.
Megan's baking and cooking is the stuff of vegan gluten free dreams (you have those dreams, too, right?). She's been able to replicate, innovate, and top nearly any and every craving we have-- including Mallory's favorite Christmas cookie-- the Snowball. Also known as Russian Tea Cakes, Wedding Cookies, or Butterballs, these shortbread poppers are awfully tricky to replicate without traditional flour and butter.
Mallory comes from a long tradition of Christmas cookie baking. Her mother and grandmother and sisters and aunts and Great Uncle Pete would spend days making tubs (actual TUBS) of cookies-- pizzelles, filled pizzelles, ladyfingers, gingerbread, molasses, snickerdoodle, peanut butter kisses, caramel tassies, sugar, raisin-filled, peanut butter, nut rolls, buckeyes, marzipan peaches-- and that doesn't even include the cinnamon rolls, the apple streudel, or the pie. These cookies would sit on the Western Pennsylvania front porch for the weeks leading up to and the weeks after Christmas, perfectly preserved by winter until they were completely consumed-- usually by the second week of January. Cookies were served at every meal to make sure of it.
So having that same, sentimental flavor of Mallory's optimal cookie-- the simple, less celebrated Russian Tea Cake, was a bit of Christmas magic for this now gluten-freer. That was more than three years ago. And Megan has been baking and sending them at least twice a year ever since. While she is seriously compromising our status as starving artists, we can't complain.
She was kind enough to share the magic in recipe form for this month's Rumbly Tummy. While we can't share the actual cookies (those were gone in less than 12 hours of receipt), we can offer this. So grab a friend or family member and have yourself a merry little baking day this month. Keep a batch for yourself, and send a batch to your favorite little folk band or artist or traveling salesman.
Nutty Snowball Cookies
A note from our Guest Baker: I found a similar recipe for these Snowball or Wedding cookies while searching for a cookie recipe that is not too sweet and without chocolate for Ryan. He just doesn't have the sweet tooth that I have! The first time I made these nutty shortbread cookies I knew I had found the perfect option for us. I have changed the recipe a little but they are still my go to for an easy cookie that I know will always be a delicious hit!
2 cups of powdered sugar (divided) (I make mine from organic sugar in the Vitamix)
1 cup vegan margarine
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp nondairy milk
1 ¾ cups all-purpose GF Flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare you baking sheet
2. In a large bowl, with a mixer beat the margarine until light and creamy. Then add in 2/3 cup powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla, salt, nondairy milk, and ½ the flour and beat until dough starts to form. Add the remaining flour, and nuts and beat on high for 3-5 minutes to form a soft and fluffy dough.
3. For each cookie scoop a generous tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Place balls of dough about 2 inches apart on the lined baking sheet and bake for 14-18 minutes until the bottoms start to brown.
4. Add the rest of the powdered sugar to a pie plate with a raised edge. While the cookies are still warm add them 2-3 at a time to the dish and carefully turn cookies several times to form a thick coating. Gently tap off excess sugar and put on a wire rack to finish cooling. Repeat with remaining warm cookies.
5. Store in a tightly covered container and enjoy!