Sweet, sugary, and made with a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture, Pecan Snowball Cookies are a must-make recipe for the holidays! Learn how to make these classic treats with simple steps and minimal ingredients for a tasty treat everyone will adore.
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What Are Snowball Cookies?
Also known as Mexican wedding cookies and Russian tea cakes, snowball cookies are a popular treat commonly served during the holiday season. Simple and delicious, they are round, bite-sized cookies made with a butter base often containing chopped nuts. Once baked, they’re rolled in powdered sugar and resemble little snowballs.
Unlike most cookies, snowball cookies are without any eggs or granulated sugar. As a result, they’re light, crumbly, and addictingly delicious!
Why You’ll Love This Pecan Snowball Cookie Recipe
If you’ve never had the privilege of biting into a tender pecan snowball cookie, prepare for your whole life to be changed! Seriously, there are endless reasons to love this recipe. For instance, it’s:
- Made with a sweet flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture.
- Baked in 10 minutes or less.
- Easily customized with mix-ins and decorations.
- The perfect addition to cookie trays and great for gifting!
Ingredients You’ll Need
It’s hard to believe how such simple pantry staples combine to create such an irresistible cookie recipe! Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Butter – This is crucial to creating the rich flavor and crumbly texture we’re looking to achieve.
- Vanilla Extract – Use pure vanilla extract to enhance the rest of the ingredients.
- Powdered Sugar – Using powdered sugar is crucial! Granulated sugar will cause the cookies to fall apart.
- Flour – Regular all-purpose flour forms the base of the dough.
- Nuts – We use chopped pecans, but walnuts work well, too.
- Sea Salt – Just a pinch helps bring out the flavor of the rest of the ingredients.
How to Make Pecan Snowball Cookies
A common misconception is that snowball cookie recipes are super difficult to make, but that just isn’t true! We’ll prove it with the simple instructions below.
- Mix the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pecans, and salt.
- Beat the wet ingredients. In a second bowl, use a stand mixer or hand mixer to beat the butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar until they are smooth and creamy.
- Create the batter. Working slowly, add the flour mixture to the bowl of wet ingredients, and beat on a low speed until the ingredients are just combined.
- Form the cookies. Use a small ice cream scoop to portion out 1-inch balls of dough. Then, roll them between your palms until round, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving space between each cookie.
- Bake. Place the baking sheet in the oven, and bake just until the bottom edges of the cookies are lightly browned.
- Coat. Let the snowball cookies cool slightly, and roll them in powdered sugar, making sure they are completely coated.
If you’re a bit intimidated by the thought of creating homemade snowball cookies, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with tips and tricks to ensure they turn out perfectly every single time.
Use Temperature Butter. The key to creating the perfect buttery taste and tender, crumbly texture is to use the right temperature butter. Too cold and it won’t cream well. Too warm, and it will spread all over the place, but at room temperature, it will form a sturdy cookie base and an unbeatable flavor!
Toast the Nuts. These cookies will taste amazing either way, but if you want an even bolder flavor, toast the nuts for just a few minutes in a skillet before adding them to the batter. Just be careful not to let them burn!
Form Small Cookies. Unlike chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies that are large, snowball cookies are known for being quite small. You’ll want to roll them into small balls about the size of a full walnut.
Coat the Snowball Cookies Twice. Make sure to roll your cookies in powdered sugar twice. Once when they’re warm and again after they’ve cooled. Some of the sugar is guaranteed to melt off. So, this ensures they’re well coated and full of sweet flavor in every bite.
Keep an Eye on You Oven. One of the reasons why snowball cookies are notoriously tricky is that they bake unbelievably quickly. So, be sure to keep a close eye on your oven, and take them out as soon as the bottom edges begin to brown!
Although their simplicity is part of what makes snowball cookies so scrumptious, there are fun ways you can mix up the ingredients to add a little extra sweetness or crunch! For instance:
- Feel free to omit the nuts.
- Add a dash of anise extract for more authentic Italian cookies.
- Fold in mini chocolate chips, unsweetened shredded coconut, smalll pieces of dried fruit, or even crushed peppermints.
- Use sprinkles instead of nuts for a festive flair!
How to Store
Bite-sized and perfectly poppable, this snowball cookie recipe is seriously addicting! For that reason, we highly recommend making a double batch to save for yourself or give away as gifts. Follow the storage instructions below to keep them fresh!
Room Temperature: Place your cookies in an airtight container or sealable bag, and store them at room room temperature for up to 4 days.
Refrigerator: Keep your snowball cookies in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Freezer: To keep them fresh for longer, plcae your cookies in a freezer-safe container, and freeze them for up to 6 months!
Snowball Cookies Common Questions
If your cookies spread out and go flat when they bake, it’s likely because you did not use enough powdered sugar. In addition to making them sweet, is what helps them hold their shape!
These cookies are meant to be crumbly, but they should be able to hold their shape without falling apart. If you cannot roll the dough into a ball that holds together, try adding a few more teaspoons of butter, and try again.
Sure! Simply swap out the butter for your favorite vegan option instead.
Pecan Snowball Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar plus extra for dusting
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cups pecans or walnuts finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
- In a bowl, combine the flour, pecans and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar until creamy.
- Turn the mixer on low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until jut combined.
- Use a small ice cream scoop to portion out 1 inch balls of dough. Roll them between two balls, and place htem on the baking sheet, 1-inch apart.
- Bake 8-10 minutes or until the bottom edges of the cookies are lightly browned. Be careful not to burn!
- Let the cookies cool slightly. Once cooled enough to handle, roll them in the powdered sugar until completely coated.
- Store at room temperature for up to 4 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
More Cookie Recipes for the Holidays
Looking for more cookies to add to your holiday platter? Try more of our favorite recipes!