Traditional flour, sugar and walnut cookies like the Italian Wedding Cookie are a staple in holiday festivities in many countries around the world. There are numerous variations on the recipes from the sugary sweetness to the extracts used (like almond, lemon and vanilla). Some variations that became popular with the success of the Hershey Kiss are the ‘Kiss Blossoms’ with a hershey kiss on top of the cookie and the ‘Hidden Kiss’ or ‘Secret Kiss’ cookies with a Hershey Kiss tucked inside. I prefer the Secret Kiss version because the kiss is baked inside the dough, giving the inside of the cookie a warmer, gooier feeling, which is heaven when combined with the flaky exterior of the more traditional Italian Wedding Cookie dough. It’s a delicious treat, suitable for cooks of all skill-level, and a fun way to let kids help out in the kitchen.
- 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- ½ c. baker's sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 c. finely chopped walnuts
- 1¾ c. all-purpose white flour
- 36 Hershey's Kisses (about one 11-ounce package)
- 2 c. powdered sugar
- Electric mixer with flat paddle attachment
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Food processor
- 2 large non-stick baking sheets
- Measure and set aside all ingredients. The walnuts need to be very finely chopped; an electric food processor works nicely. The butter needs to be softened at room temperature. Tip: for best results, sift flour and sugar into separate bowls. Remove the foil wraps and paper tags from the Hershey's Kisses.
- In a large mixer with the flat paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until ridges/peaks form on the mixture.
- Add the vanilla and combine on low speed.
- Remain at low speed and slowly add the flour and walnuts until incorporated. Scrape the bowl sides and bottom to ensure all ingredients are combined.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, form into a ball-like shape, and refrigerate for an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Pinch off roughly 1 tbsp of dough and with the dough in your palm, make an indention in the center of the dough with your thumb, flattening the dough slightly. Place the tip of a Hershey's Kiss into the indention and wrap the sides of the dough up and over the base of the Kiss to meet in the middle. Gently roll the dough around the kiss with your hands, forming a ball shape. Repeat 36 times.
- Place each dough ball about 1½"-2" apart on a non-stick (or un-greased) baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees F for 11 minutes. Tip: the bottom of the cookie should be a light golden brown when done baking.
- Leave the cookies on the baking sheets to cool for 8 minutes. Tip: for the powdered sugar to stick nicely (next step) you want the cookies to still be slightly warm when you begin sugaring.
- Pour the powdered sugar onto a plate or pastry matt, and gently roll the cookies in the sugar. Remove cookies to another plate/tray or gift box.
- Tip: Just before serving, lightly sift additional powdered sugar over the cookies for a delicious presentation.