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Snowball Cookies

Sweet, nutty and rolled in powdered sugar, Snowball Cookies are a holiday favorite! Whether you know them as Snowball Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies, these sweet bites are full of holiday nostalgia.

Snowball cookies arranged on a slate surface.

So tell me, have you started your holiday baking yet?

This year, I seriously contemplated ordering a tray from my favorite bakery, but by the time I remembered to actually order them, they were sold out of all the good stuff!

Basically what I’m trying to say is that I’ve made not one single cookie. No pecan brittle. No fudge. Nothing.

In fact, I just pulled out a couple of pounds of butter from my freezer, so I can start whipping up some of favorites like these snowball cookies!

Luckily it is frigid here this year, so I can make a couple of recipes for the next few days, package them up in tins and store them in the garage until Christmas.

A giant garage freezer is pretty much the best thing about Ohio winters.

Snowball Cookie dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer

MY BROTHER’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY COOKIES

This fall and holiday season has been a season of classics for me.

From Peanut Butter Cup Cookies and Rum Balls to Old Fashioned Apple Crisp, Classic Pecan Pie and Parker House Rolls, I’ve been craving recipes rooted in classic flavors and full of memories.

Snowball cookie dough rolled into balls and placed on parchment paper, ready to bake

So it seems fitting to share one of my brother’s favorite cookies, and one of the cookies that made their way to Santa’s plate at our house year after year.

My brother may be the pickiest eater ever – the only vegetable he eats is broccoli and it must be covered in Cheez Whiz in order for him to choke it down. He’s also not fond of fruit – unless the word Roll-Up comes after it.

Freshly baked snowball cookies being rolled in powdered sugar

However, give him a plate of these Snowball Cookies and he’ll eat every last sugar-coated crumb.

Snowball Cookies are also called Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies, so you may have grown up calling them a different name.

No matter what you call them, though, they are easy to whip up and definitely make an impact on any cookie platter. What’s cuter than little snowballs in a festive miniature liners?

Snowball cookies in paper liners arranged on a white platter

TIPS FOR MAKING SNOWBALL COOKIES

Snowball Cookies are easy to make, but here are a few tips I have realized are helpful over the years:

Close up of snowball cookies rolled in powdered sugar lined up on parchment paper

  • Snowball Cookies don’t spread, so you can place them close together on the baking sheet.
  • Be careful not to overbake these cookies. The color will be barely different after they’re baked than when they were raw. If they
  • take on a golden color, they’re probably overbaked!
  • Roll them twice in powdered sugar: once when they’re still a bit warm, and again after they’ve cooled completely for that perfect white coating.
  • If you don’t like pecans, feel free to use walnuts or almonds instead.
  • Snowballs freeze well! Freeze them in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Snowball Cookies are my brother’s favorite holiday cookie and I can bet they’ll soon be a favorite of yours as well.

Close up of a snowball cookie with a bite taken out of it on a paper liner

Close up of a snowball cookie with a bite taken out of it on a paper liner

Snowball Cookies

Yield: about 30 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Sweet, nutty and rolled in powdered sugar, Snowball Cookies are a holiday favorite! Whether you know them as Snowball Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies, these sweet bites are full of holiday nostalgia.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted - for rolling cookies

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar until smooth and creamy. Add in vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  3. Mix in the flour, pecans and salt. Mixing until just combined.
  4. Roll about 1 tablespoon of dough (mine are a bit larger, see notes below) into balls and place on prepared baking sheet. The cookies can be placed quite close together since they do not spread during the baking process.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes – taking care not to over bake. Allow cookies to cool on baking pan until you are able to comfortably hold them in your hands.
  6. Sift 1/3 cup powdered sugar into a medium bowl. While cookies are still warm, roll them in powdered sugar. Place cookies on cooling rack, once they have cooled completely, roll them in powdered sugar again.

Notes

- Not a fan of pecans? Feel free to sub in another nut such as walnuts or almonds.
- I used a medium OXO cookie scoop to form my snowballs.
- Yield will depend on the size that you roll your Snowball Cookies.
- Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to one month.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 30 Serving Size 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving Calories 131Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 16mgSodium 22mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 1g

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Shirley A Reid

Wednesday 18th of December 2019

I am so glad to see the original recipe for these cookies. I have seen many versions of it and they are not as good. You are the only one who powders them twice also which makes a big difference. When I as a kid in the 1940's my mother made these. AS the years went by we made them every year and I continued after she died. I lost all her recipes and was sick about it and now I have the true Pecan Snowballs. This recipe melts in your mouth they are so light and fluffy and the others are dry and have used peanuts or almonds and it is not the same. Thanks again. I haven't done them for a long time but now that I have the recipe I am going to do just that.

Donna

Sunday 11th of December 2016

My family has made these for many years, and everybody loves them. Now I take half the dough and put a dollop of Nutella in the m8ddle of them and the cookies taste sensational. The other half of the dough is made the traditional way. For something different, try the Nutella. It's so good.

Jamie

Monday 12th of December 2016

Hi, Donna! You had me at Nutella! Sounds amazing!

Cynthia

Monday 7th of November 2016

I just wanted to add I was given my recipe/ version of "Cherry Balls" from my Aunt that is going on 90

Jamie

Tuesday 8th of November 2016

How great, Cynthia! I love recipes that are passed down. All the best to your and your aunt!

Cynthia

Monday 7th of November 2016

I use very fine chopped Walnuts and I wrap the cookie dough around a Candied Cherry bake then roll in powdered sugar ta da ta da ta da Nuts are optional it doesnt change the taste Just the texture a bit (I like it best without nuts) This is my Favorite Holiday cookie

Xhristin

Tuesday 23rd of August 2016

 These are great cookies for Christmas holidays. This recipe has been my family for 65 years. The only difference is I put walnuts instead of P cons. And I definitely take the salt out .   I would combine all the dry ingredients first and inseparable. And then I would put the vanilla extract, butter, sugar. But not confectioner sugar. And mix that up pretty good until creamy.   Then I would mix and a electric mixer and gradually add in the dry ingredients.  Make about 2 inches in size. Then roll them around in confectioner sugar once and then roll them around the second time while they're still hot. I have had every snowball  then roll them around in confectioner sugar once and then roll them around the second time while they're still hot. I have had every snowball on the planet from everyplace and putting salt in it ruins the whole thing. Some people like salt I just don't happen to like it and we've always kept in the family as a sweet snowball cookie without any taste of salt. 

Jamie

Wednesday 24th of August 2016

Your suggestions are wonderful. It's great to know so many people enjoy these cookies!

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