Childhood holiday memories are closely tied to special foods associated with the season. I once asked my children “If we could do only three things to celebrate Christmas, what would you want them to be?” Nearly all of them mentioned special treats like Scotcheroos or Pillow Cookies (recipe coming soon). The good news is that the second time you do something it becomes a tradition, so if you find a new recipe that everyone loves–voila! A new tradition.
Chocolate Snowballs are a new tradition for our family, but they are not new to me. My mom made them at Christmas time when I was a kid (uh, like 50 years ago), and I always loved them. It’s kinda crazy that I haven’t made them for my family, but somehow the handwritten recipe got lost over the years. When I finally mixed them up, everyone liked them–except Emily, who would have liked them if it weren’t for a pecan allergy–so they will join the list of special foods for Christmas Eve.
1 box vanilla wafers
4 oz. box unsweetened baking chocolate
1 can sweetened condensed milk (sometimes known as Eagle Brand, but we use Great Value brand)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup powdered sugar
Pour the box of vanilla wafers into a large ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin:
Unwrap the unsweetened chocolate squares, place in a microwave-safe bowl and melt the whole package. My microwave takes about 1 1/2 minutes. (Alternately, melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler.) The squares may look like they’re not melted, but try stirring them and see if they are soft. You don’t want to scorch them by cooking beyond melting.
When the chocolate is melted, add the can of sweetened condensed milk and stir to combine. Pour the vanilla wafer crumbs into a large bowl. Pour the melted chocolate mixture over the crumbs. Add pecans. Stir with a spoon as much as you can, then use hands to squish and mix. This part might be why I will only make them during the holidays:
The mixture will be stiff and slightly sticky. Scoop a small amount with your fingers and roll into a ball. Roll in powdered sugar in a small bowl.
If you want to get fancy, take them outside in real snow and take a picture:
Snow is optional, of course, but it’s such an exciting event in Oklahoma, we couldn’t resist. We get a few inches and businesses shut down, schools close and the government declares a state of emergency. Those of you in snowy regions, you may now laugh. Many of us Oklahomans will join you.
Let me know if you have any questions–or if you want to tell us how you liked Chocolate Snowballs!