This recipe was handed down from my mother's side of the family. I'm not sure how many generations, I just know it has been in the family for many, many years. It may be a variation of a Mexican Wedding Cake, but I am hard put to explain the corn starch in the recipe. I make both at Christmas time, but my kids beg for the "Scotch Cakes". Now there is no scotch in the recipe and my family is Acadian French, not Scotch, so where the name came from is a mystery. I have never found another recipe like it except for the Mexican Wedding Cake which comes quite close. In fact a variation of the cookie states that you can add chopped cherries and nuts in half the batter. You roll them into balls like the way I make my version, but just dust with confectioners sugar, not frosting (Sound like Mexican Wedding Cakes yet?) I still just call them Scotch Cakes, because that is what my family has always called them. We make them just at Christmas time, but they would be good any time of year.
Cream butter (or margarine) with confectioner's sugar. I have tried it with both, and like them either way. Some purists may prefer the butter; this is really your choice) Do not over cream, as the cookies tend to get a little sticky and are harder to roll into balls. You can add the salt and vanilla at this point.
Slowly add the dry ingredients by the spoonful, (I use a heaping tablespoon) again careful not to over beat. ( I have tried to avoid over beating using my Kitchen-aid, to no avail, so now I use my hand mixer with better results.
Using a rounded teaspoonful, (about walnut size) roll between your palms and flatten slightly and place on ungreased baking sheet about an inch apart. (All that butter makes it unnecessary to grease the pan)
Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. I kind of check them, if the edges are light caramel color, they are usually ready.
Let cool and frost with a buttercream white icing. I usually just make icing using 1-2 tablespoons soft butter or margarine, 2 cups or so of confectioner's sugar and milk to make it the right consistency for spreading. I have also used a little of the liquid from a bottle of maraschino cherries to lightly color them. But I prefer the white frosting. Then top the cookie with 1/3 to 1/2 of a maraschino cherry, cut from the stem hole. If I can find green cherries, i cut a couple of slivers to add to the edges of the red ones to make them look like a big holly.