Snowballs in July

Summer is in full swing around here. Between play dates, camp, family lunches, and house guests it has been busy around here. My daughter is also learning that sometimes friends grow apart as they grow up, and that it’s okay to move on and be happy with new people in your life. Not necessarily an easy lesson for an almost 9 year old. That said she’s surrounding herself with some good people and I’m happy about that.

She spent this last week at SPCA camp (for those who may not know SPCA stands for: Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Her favourite place! She loves that they get to spend time with the animals every day, and she loves all the animal based games that help her learn all about caring for them. Like all kids she says she wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. I wouldn’t be shocked if she actually ends up doing it! Her love of animals is pretty amazing.

   Please don’t judge me on the messy bed, the cover was being washed. There are 3 out of our 4 animals in this cuddle puddle.

 Please don’t judge me on the messy bed, the cover was being washed. There are 3 out of our 4 animals in this cuddle puddle.

Volunteering at the SPCA is something Zoe really wants to do, but there’s a catch: you have to be 16 to be unaccompanied. Which means I would have to volunteer alongside her. I’m not against it! Just want to make sure we have room for it in the fall schedule before I fully commit. Biggest issue there is having to say no every time a new animal comes into the shelter. We already have a dog and 3 cats - I don’t need more!!  

But I digress. Back to food:

Cobb salad

So last weekend my in-laws were coming for lunch and I didn’t feel like making sandwiches (which is what hubby requested). I know they’re a classic lunch item but I’m not a sandwich lover and just didn’t feel like it. What I wanted was a salad but hubs likes larger, meatier meals so I had to be careful. No way he was going to be happy with a bowl of quinoa salad. LOL. Enter the Cobb. Everyone loves them, and they’re jam packed with yummy things. It’s a classic! That said, I’ve never ordered one in a restaurant. Probably because the sad looking ham, and the dry hard boiled eggs have never appealed. The concept appeals but not the execution. Being the recipe driven cook that I am I was super excited to come across Bon Appétit’s Cobb salad with bacon vinaigrette. AND aside from cooking the bacon and eggs, because I used a rotisserie chicken from the store it was basically just assemble and go. Perfect for a Sunday lunch. I’m not going to write it out here because there’s another recipe I’d rather share, but definitely check it out. Oh and side note: so I didn’t have to be in the kitchen the whole time I prepared everything in advance, even the bacon and just kept the bacon fat in the pan. Knowing it would firm up I didn’t actually make the dressing until it was time to go, at which point I reheated the fat just to the point of melting and proceeded with the steps for making the dressing. It was perfect! And will definitely be made again.

In baking/dessert news I have been trying to tackle a layer cake from Fearless Baker for several weeks now but one thing or another keeps getting in my way (lack of white chocolate, lack of time, etc). Thursday evening I finally said “forget the layers I’m just going to make a sheet cake for the kiddo and her friend”. Figured I’d win at this whole “play date over the dinner hour” thing with a slab of cake to finish it off. Yea, turns out I can’t make that sheetcake or the layer cake until I get cocoa powder. Seriously could have sworn I had a whole container but I can’t find it!! Guess this is my pantry’s way of saying “help me! clean me!” LOL

What I did find buried deep in the back were 2 bags of walnuts that I forgot I had, so snowballs is what I made instead. No regrets. These are out of a cookbook called Sweet Sugar, Sultry Spice, which is all about using different spices, and non-standard flavours when baking, and the walnut and cardamom combination is amazing!!  These are a quite simple to make, and worth every last fleck of powdered sugar stuck to your lips, and your lap (and your nose if you're my daughter). 

Walnut Cardamom Snowballs

Snowballs (from Sweet Sugar, Salty Spice page 62)

1 C unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 C all-purpose flour
2 C raw walnut halves
3 C powdered sugar (roughly)

In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter, sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and salt.

Add in flour and mix until fully combined. Add in walnut halves and mix until combined, and nuts are slightly broken up. 

Chill for 45mins to an hour. Scoop tablespoon sized balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet (about an inch between is all you need). 

Bake at 325F for 25mins. Cool on the pan for 5mins, until you’re able to handle the cookies. Fill a wide bowl, or a baking pan, with powdered sugar and carefully bury the cookies within*. Allow to cool fully in the powdered sugar.

*I dumped more powdered sugar over top to make sure they were well buried without me having to move them around too much.

Enjoy!

 What have you been cooking/baking lately? Be sure to tag #ragebake on Instagram so I can see!