Total Time
2 Hours 5 Mins
Yield
Makes about 5 dozen
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Buffy Hargett

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°. Bake almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan 6 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool completely (about 20 minutes). Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

Step 2

Process almonds in a food processor 30 seconds or until finely ground.

Step 3

Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add 1 cup powdered sugar, beating well.

Step 4

Combine flour, next 3 ingredients, and almonds; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended.

Step 5

Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls, and place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Press thumb into each ball, forming an indentation.

Step 6

Bake at 325° for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Transfer to wire racks, and cool 30 minutes.

Step 7

Place preserves in a zip-top plastic freezer bag; snip 1 corner of bag to make a small hole. Pipe preserves into indentations.

Step 8

Try This Twist!

Step 9

Almond Snowballs: Omit cloves, cinnamon, and preserves. Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Prepare recipe as directed through Step 4, beating in 1 tsp. vanilla extract with butter and sugar. (Dough will be crumbly.) Shape and bake dough as directed, without making indentations. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Transfer to wire racks, and cool 10 minutes. Roll cookies in 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Makes: about 5 dozen. Hands-on Time: 25 min.; Total Time: 1 hr., 37 min.

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