Snowball Cookies are a Christmas classic! These butter cookies are similar to shortbread, but are filled with crushed pecans and covered in powdered sugar, making them look just like snowballs! They’re known for their rich texture that just completely melts in your mouth when you eat them. Because of the powdered sugar they can be a little messy to eat, but so worth it!
Snowball Cookies Recipe
When you think of Christmas treats, Snowball Cookies are probably one of the first sweets you picture (and quite possibly Walnut cookies). However, you might have grown up calling them by a different name. Pecan Snowball Cookies are also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Butterballs, Polvorones, or Meltaway Cookies.
Ingredients for Christmas Snowball Cookies
- Butter (salted) – If you want to make these cookies dairy free, you can substitute margarine instead.
- Powdered Sugar – You will use half of the powdered sugar in the cookie dough, and half to coat the cookies after they bake. By using powdered sugar in the dough instead of granulated sugar, these cookies will have a different texture than regular cookies – AKA they will literally melt in your mouth!
- Vanilla Extract – Snowball Cookies are traditionally made with vanilla, but if you’re an almond flavor lover you can use almond extract instead.
- All-Purpose Flour
- Pecans (finely chopped) – While pecans are most popular for this recipe, you can use any type of finely chopped nuts, such as almonds or walnuts. You can also omit the nuts completely if you prefer.
How to Make Pecan Snowball Cookies
- Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F.
- Using either a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
- Then add in 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Mix with the butter until well combined.
- Next, add the flour, salt, and optional pecans. Mix again until smooth and a soft dough forms.
- Using a cookie scoop or two small spoons, scoop out about 1 tbsp of dough and then roll into a ball.
- Place the dough balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Once the oven has finished preheating, bake the dough for about 7-9 minutes or until the bottoms just begin to turn brown.
- After baking, allow the cookies to cool for just 5 minutes.
- Then, roll the cookies in powdered sugar.
- Let the cookies finish cooling completely and then roll in powdered sugar a second time.
- Now enjoy! Store your Snowballs Cookies at room temperature for up to three days.
Why did my Snowball Cookies flatten?
These cookies shouldn’t flatten at all. They should be perfectly round, like snowballs! If they do flatten, it could be due to a few reasons: your butter may have been too warm to begin with, your ingredients were measured incorrectly, or your kitchen is overall too warm. A good fix for all of these problems is to chill the cookie dough in your fridge before baking.
How do you get the powdered sugar to stick to the cookies?
This is why it’s important to roll the cookies in powdered sugar twice. The first time, roll the cookies in the powdered sugar while they’re still warm so that the sugar melts into the cookie and becomes sticky. Then when the cookies are completely cool, roll them in the powdered sugar again and it should fully coat the cookie.
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Snowball Cookie Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer or with an electric hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
- Add in 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
- Add in the all purpose flour and salt along with the optional pecans, if desired. Mix until a smooth and soft dough forms.
- Scoop 1 tbsp of dough out and roll into a ball. Arrange on a parchment paper or silicone lined baking sheet.
- Repeat with remaining dough.Bake at 350° F for 7-9 minutes, until the bottoms just begin to turn brown.
- Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes and then roll each cookie in the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.
- Let the cookies finish cooling and then roll one more time in the powdered sugar.
- Store at room temperature for up to 3 days.