Conscious Cook: Brighten your holiday this season with cheerful snowball cookies

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, glory to God in the highest, and earth peace, good will toward men. And that, Charlie Brown, is what Christmas is all about.” — Linus VanPelt

Every Christmas season, I take such childlike pleasure in watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The familiarity of this annual event is delightfully comforting. My spirit always feels revived after listening to Linus deliver his simply spoken soliloquy on the true meaning of Christmas.

During this extreme year of challenge and change, any activity that offers comfort and security should be embraced. Chatting with a dear friend, checking in on a neighbor, watching a comedy that makes you laugh, or cooking a special recipe can touch your heart and soothe your system.

Holiday joy and peace can be found in treasured family recipes. My grandmother was one of the finest bakers I’ve ever known. She made the finest, most delicate and tender pie crust. The mere touch of a fork would splinter a slice of her pie into a thousand fine shards of flakiness. I have yet to master replicating her pie crust, but there are many other revered holiday recipes that transport me right back into her warm, bright kitchen. I see her smile, feel her spirit and taste love.

There is such sweetness in preparing a favorite family recipe, and the memories that come with this time in the kitchen are a great gift. These memories allow us to continue sharing the true spirit of Christmas.

This holiday season I wish you safety, sanity, and the wonder of preparing a delicious life.

Grandma Helen’s Snowball Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup soft butter

1/2 cup shortening

2 tablespoons white sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup finely chopped pecans

Confectioner’s sugar

Mix all ingredients until dough holds together. Roll into balls, a little smaller than golf ball size.

Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes. Cookies should not brown, so be careful not to overbake. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. When cool, roll balls in confectioner’s sugar.

Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, “The Conscious Cook” writes about preparing a delicious life and presents healthy food workshops throughout New England. She is a professional cook, organic gardener and a graduate of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University.