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Snowball Cookies are round buttery shortbread cookies with chunks of pecans all rolled in powdered sugar. They melt in your mouth and are a delicious Christmas cookie.
Snowball Cookies are a holiday classic. They are perfect little balls of buttery, nutty deliciousness. (Side note: I also have a healthier no-bake coconut snowball cookie recipe on my blog that is egg, dairy, and gluten-free.)
The white powdered sugar makes these cookies look like snow, hence the name. This is also where most of the sweetness comes from, the powdered sugar exterior, with only a small amount of powdered sugar in the actual cookie itself.
Using powdered sugar (compared to using granulated sugar) in the cookie dough helps prevent it from spreading too much, and contributes to the tenderness of the cookie. Creating that melt in your mouth feeling (like my meltaway cookies). You’ll love these snowball cookies and they are so easy to make.
These cookies have a lot of different names. Italian Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Southern Pecan Butterball Cookies, and of course, Snowball Cookies.
They are all very similar, possibly substituting the pecans for walnuts or almonds. Or exchanging some of the vanilla with almond extract. All in all they are a delicious, crumbly, buttery, cookie.
Feel free to switch up the nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, etc.) as you like. Or forgo the nuts completely and use mini chocolate chips instead. They are extremely versatile.
Baking and Freezing Tips
- Always measure flour by stirring it first, and then spoon it into the measuring cup. Level the cup with the back of a knife. This prevents using too much flour resulting in a dense product.
- Keep the cookie dough balls small, about 1-inch. A #50 or #60 size scoop (about 1 Tablespoon) of dough is the perfect amount. These snowball cookies don’t spread or puff up a lot, because they are meant to be bite-size (one to two bites).
- If you use a cookie scoop, still round the cookie dough with your hands. It smooths and shapes the exterior better.
- Do not over-bake! The cookies are done when the bottoms are lightly golden brown. The tops may also start to crack a little. Do not wait until the tops brown or they will be too dry and crumbly.
- Roll the cookies in powdered sugar while warm. Then again after they are cooled completely. This helps created a nice coating.
- TO FREEZE: Allow cookies to cool completely and apply the second coating of powdered sugar. Pack the cookies in a freezer container, separating each layer with wax paper. Don’t pack the cookies too tightly or they may break. Freeze up to two months.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (stir, spoon, & level)
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup powdered sugar, for rolling
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer, cream the butter and powdered sugar. Add the salt and vanilla. Mix and scrape bowl. Add the flour and chopped pecans. Mix until combined.
- Scoop roughly 1 Tbsp of dough (#50 or #60 cookie scoop) into 1-inch balls. Roll with hands and place on prepared baking sheets an inch or two apart. (Cookies don't spread much.)
- Bake at 350˚F for 11-13 minutes or until the bottoms are light golden brown (tops may crack slightly). Do not over-bake or wait for tops to brown.
- Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool just long enough to handle them.
- Place 1 cup of powdered sugar in a wide bowl or pie dish. Roll each cookie individually, and shake off excess powdered sugar. Place coated cookies on cooling racks.
- Once cookies have cooled completely, coat each cookie in powdered sugar a second time.
*Store cookies in an airtight container.
TO FREEZE: Allow cookies to cool completely and apply the second coating of powdered sugar. Pack the cookies in a freezer container, separating each layer with wax paper. Don’t pack the cookies too tightly or they may break. Freeze up to 2 months.