These cookies truly melt in your mouth! They’re shaped like snowballs and tossed in powdered sugar to give them a wintery finish. The cookie dough comes together in a flash, and only requires THREE steps to make!
What are snowball cookies?
I’ve known about snowball cookies for some time now, but I only ever recently got around to trying them.
What. time. wasted. These little morsels are SO CRAZY GOOD!!
These cookies have a million and one different names, but the most popular are snowball cookies, Mexican wedding cakes/cookies, and Russian tea cakes.
All of them have basically the same method behind them: flour + sugar + butter + nuts = insanely delicious cookie. These cookies are eggless, which makes them all the more crispy and melt in your mouth-y.
The beauty of these cookies is really in their simplicity. The nuts shine thanks to the neutrality of the other ingredients – and the texture is just unbelievably smooth and almost velvety, with little crunchy bites of pecans.
I’m seriously fawning.
Snowball cookies ingredients:
• powdered sugar: for the dough and for rolling the baked cookies. Using powdered sugar in the dough helps us skip the step of creaming butter and sugar together, for an even quicker and easier to make cookie!
• nuts: the most traditional options are pecans, walnuts, or almonds. I made pecan snowball cookies because those are my favorite, but feel free to experiment with your favorite nuts!
How to make snowball cookies:
1. Whisk together dry ingredients & nuts.
2. Mix in butter & vanilla. Mix until a dough forms – I find this is easiest to do by hand.
And your dough is all ready!!
3. Chill dough. Just for 30 minutes to help the cookies keep their shape when they bake.
4. Shape dough. Pinch off 1 tablespoon sized portions of dough and roll into balls. Arrange on your baking sheet with about 1/2 an inch of space between each ball of dough. The cookies don’t expand a whole lot when they bake, but they still need some space for air to circulate.
5. Bake. The bottoms and edges should be lightly browned.
6. Roll in powdered sugar. Let the cookies cool for about 5 minutes (or until cool enough to handle) before rolling them in powdered sugar.
When to roll the cookies in powdered sugar – One roll or two?
When it comes to rolling your cookies in powdered sugar, there’s a bit of a divide in the food world as to when and how many times the cookies should be sugared. Some recipes call for rolling them in sugar while they’re hot, some say when they’re cold, some like to roll it twice (once while they’re hot and once after they cool down).
There’s really no wrong answer here. I’ve tried each method, and here’s what I’ve noticed about each one:
• rolling when they’re hot: this is my favorite method because the powdered sugar really sticks onto the cookies. The downside is that you will get a bit of powdered sugar that melts off, so it won’t look quite as snowy
• rolling when they’re cold: probably my least favorite method. The powdered sugar doesn’t really stick onto the cookies – but it’s good enough to pass as a snowball, and you don’t have any melting powdered sugar
• double roll: what’s awesome about this method is that the first roll (while the cookies are hot) allows the powdered sugar to really stick to the cookies, while the second roll (after they’ve cooled) gives them a more powdery and pure white finish because the sugar easily sticks onto the first coat. The downside for me is that I found the cookies a tad on the oversweet side for my taste, so I only use this method if I really want to cookies to look extra snowy
Snowball cookie nuts:
I like to use two different grinds for the nuts in these cookies. I grind all of the nuts in a food processor until they reach a texture that resembles coarse meal. I set aside a few spoonfuls of the coarsely ground nuts, and then grind the rest until very fine and powdery – but not too powdery or it may turn into nut butter!
What I love about using two grinds is that the super fine nuts really flavor the cookies, while the coarse nuts add a nice texture to the cookies. You can use one or the other, but I really recommend trying a combination of the two!
Snowball cookie storage:
Keep these cookies stored in an airtight container, and they’ll keep for up to 2 weeks at room temperature! It makes them a really great cookie for sending and gifting!
You can also make the cookie dough up to 3 days in advance and keep it stored in the fridge. ORRRRR you can roll your cookie dough into balls, and freeze for up to 2 months.
The best way to freeze is to arrange the balls on a baking sheet, and freeze until solid. Then transfer to a plastic bag in one layer, push out as much air as possible, and freeze.
To bake from frozen, either defrost the cookies, and bake as instructed below, or bake (frozen) in the center of a preheated 325°F for 15 to 20 minutes. If baking frozen, the lower temperature oven helps defrost and bake the cookies more evenly.
Check out these other recipes!
• Candy Cane Cookies
• Classic Gingerbread Cookies
• Meringue Cookies (with & without cream of tartar)
• Danish Butter Cookies
• Butter Shortbread Cookies
• Meringue Cookies (with & without cream of tartar)
Snowball Cookies Recipe
- 1 & 1/4 cups unsalted pecans, raw or toasted, finely ground *see notes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar, plus more for rolling the baked cookies (about 1 cup more)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
- In a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, salt, and pecans. Mix to combine.
- Add your butter and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Mix and mash together until you get a soft dough. I find it easiest to do this step by hand.
- Cover and chill the dough for 30 minutes to help prevent overspreading when you bake the cookies.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Uncover your chilled dough, and pinch off 1 tablespoon sized portions. Roll the portions into smooth balls, and arrange on your baking sheet, leaving about 1/2 an inch space between each ball of dough for air to circulate.
- Bake in the center of your preheated 350°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom and lightly browned along the edges.
- Cool the cookies for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, or until cool enough to handle. Then, toss the cookies in powdered sugar to coat the outside. It helps to use a fork for this step.
- Arrange the cookies on a wire rack and set aside to cool completely to room temperature before serving. If you find the sugar has melted, you can give the cookies another light toss in powdered sugar to freshen them up.