Chocolate Butter Balls are a fantastic and chocolatey twist on wedding cookies, which makes them perfect for the holidays, when I love to refer to them as Lump of Coal Cookies. My kids love them, so when Sammy made them for the holidays in 2020 I updated my pictures. Original photos are still included because I like to show my progress.
I listed all of the cookies in my last post that my mom traditionally made for the holidays, but I forgot one. Wedding Cookies. Which, oddly enough, I disliked as a child but adore as an adult. My mom always made hers with pecans (to my knowledge), but me being me I have played with different nuts. I have done pecans, hazelnuts, and even macadamia nuts. I have loved them all. Sadly, my husband and children do not, and you can imagine how that goes. Eventually I just grab the whole tin and place it beside me while I watch TV. (No, Laura! No!) So this year I thought I would change things up a bit.
My inspiration to change things up came from a cookbook called Tate’s Bake Shop: Baking For Friends, which I won from Susan at 30AEATS. She had a giveaway going for a bakeshop I had never heard of that was located in the Hamptons. Apparently they had a new cookbook out. The winner would also receive baked goods from the bakery, but you know me, I bake constantly and have an insatiable love of collecting cookbooks, so I did not really care about the baked goods, but thought the cookbook looked fun so I left a comment.
I won! It was hysterical unpacking all those boxes of baked goods! The girls found it even crazier than I did–and enjoyed it tremendously! If there was one thing I probably did not need, it was more cookies. However, those delicious cookies turned out to be a blessing, because they kept beautifully in the freezer and
we I ate them when I was sick and craving sweets.
The first recipes I noticed in the cookbook combined mint and chocolate–clearly Kathleen King, the bakery owner, and I have something in common! But the first recipe I bookmarked was the one for these Chocolate Butter Balls, because I thought it might satisfy my need for a Wedding Cookie while being something my family might enjoy more. Bingo! As written, the recipe is not coated in sweetened cocoa powder, but the cookie is not at all too sweet, if anything a tad under-sweet, and I like the coating as it gives them even more of a “coal” appearance, continuing with the holiday theme.
If it gives you an idea of how these have gone over, I can tell you we made a double batch, of which my mom took maybe 1/5 or so. And I think I am going to run out soon. The girls–and their friends–have exclusively only chosen these cookies to eat. In the evening, after we do all of our Advent calendars (I adore Advent calendars and collect them) they “trade” in the candy they have gotten from the calendars to instead choose a baked treat from the tins. And without fail it is these cookies they are going for. I suspect they will become a holiday regular!
Original photo from 2012. I believe this was one of my first DSLR pictures ever and I clearly had no idea where to take my pictures!
- 3 1/2 cups (440 g) AP flour
- 1 cup (4.15 oz/115 g) Dutch processed cocoa powder, plus more below, sifted to remove lumps
- 1 cup (3.5 oz/100 g) toasted and skinned hazelnuts, finely ground in processor (measure by volume after processing--I just used Bob's Red Mill Hazelnut Meal)
- 3/4 t fine sea salt
- 1 lb (4 sticks/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted to remove lumps plus more below
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 2 t vanilla
- 2 cups miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
- I used 50% Dutched processed cocoa powder and 50% confectioners' sugar. I just scooped out spoonfuls as I needed them--I am guessing about 3/4 cup of each
Whisk together the flour, 1 cup cocoa powder, hazelnuts and salt. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until combined and creamy. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowls, and beat in the egg and vanilla. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions. When it is almost combined, add the mini chocolate chips and continue mixing until evenly combined. Do not over mix.
Press wax paper or plastic wrap on top of the cookie dough and chill for at least 1 hour, until the dough is firm.
Place the cooking racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Pinch off about 2 tablespoons of dough at a time and roll it into a ball. Place the ball on the prepared sheets.These cookies will not spread, so you may place them 1 inch apart, about 20 cookies per sheet.
Bake for about 15 minutes, rotating top to bottom and front to back halfway through. The cookies will look dry when they are done--some may be beginning to crack a little. Remove from them from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheets.
Whisk together Dutched cocoa powder and confectioners' sugar, starting with about 1/2 cup of each. Quickly roll each hot cookie in this mixture before placing it on a cooling rack. When you are done, roll each cookie again. Add more cocoa powder and powdered sugar if needed, keeping the ratio 1:1. Cool completely.