These Snowball Cookies, otherwise known as Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies, are the perfect Christmas treat! Extra tender and buttery, they’re irresistible.
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What are Snowball Cookies?
Snowball cookies, also known as Russian tea cakes or Mexican wedding cookies, are bite-sized balls of buttery cookies that are usually coated in powdered sugar. They have a melt-in-your-mouth texture and are often made with ground pecans or other nuts.
Why This Recipe Stands Out
Snowball Cookies (also known as Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cakes) are by far one of our favorite Christmas cookie recipes, especially for large gatherings. Here’s Why:
- Simple Ingredients: These cookies are made with just 6 ingredients, all of which are common kitchen staples that you may already have on hand.
- Easy-to-Make: Snowball Cookies are so easy-to-make and take just one bowl meaning even easier cleanup.
- Buttery: Since butter is one of the main ingredients of the base, these cookies boast that melt-in-your mouth, buttery goodness.
- Pecans: We love the deep, nutty flavor that the freshly toasted and ground pecans add to these cookies.
- Serves Many: This recipe makes 50 cookies! It’s the perfect dessert for gifts, potlucks, and parties. They’re party of our 25 Best Holiday Cookies.
Key Recipe Ingredients
- Butter – We like salted butter, as it eliminates the need to add any additional salt, and provides such great flavor. Make sure it’s room temperature, just soft but not melty. It should still be cool to the touch.
- Powdered Sugar – This is both added to the cookie dough and used to make that snowy coating on the outside.
- Pecans – Pecans are toasted, cooled, and ground before being added to the dough bringing amazing warm, nutty flavor.
- Vanilla – We use a tablespoon of vanilla extract in this recipe for its perfect taste and amazing smell.
Substitutions And Variations
This super simple recipe is the perfect base for all the mix-ins. Check out some of our favorite variations:
- Peppermint: For added festive flavor, try crushing up some candy canes to roll the cookies in. You could also add a dash of peppermint extract to the dough.
- Chocolate: Give these Snowball Cookies a chocolatey twist my mixing the powdered sugar coating with some cocoa powder. You can also mix white, milk, or dark chocolate chips into the dough.
- Nuts: You can absolutely play around with the kind of nuts you mix in. Instead of pecans, try roasting and grinding walnuts, pistachios, or almonds. You could even add macadamia nuts like we do in these White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies.
- Coconut: We think toasted, shredded coconut would also be amazing in both the base and coating of these cookies.
How To Prep Ahead
These cookies keep extremely well. So, they can easily be made in advance. The individual ingredients can also be prepped ahead. Here’s how:
- Coating: The 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and cinnamon can be mixed together far in advance. Just keep it in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.
- Pecans: One easy way to prep these cookies is to toast the pecans in advance. Once they’ve cooled, throw them in an airtight container, and store them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Then, grind the pecans when you’re ready to bake.
- Dough: Snowball Cookie dough can be frozen before baking. Just form the dough into balls like usual, flash freeze on a baking tray until hard, then transfer to an airtight container. Let them thaw in the fridge overnight before baking.
Commonly Asked Questions
Snowball cookies keep well at mild room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week.
Yes, you can freeze snowball cookies. Place them in a single layer in a freezer-safe container with parchment paper between layers to prevent sticking.
To really prevent your cookies from flattening, we recommend forming them into balls then pinching the sides so that they’re more oval-shaped and taller. If your cookies are still going flat, make sure you’re chilling your dough long enough and not swapping the powdered sugar in the dough for granulated sugar as this can make them spread out too.
You can use pecans that have already been toasted. However, we highly recommend toasting them yourself (even for just a few minutes) to get the best deep, warm, nutty flavor.
The dough for this recipe is supposed to be on the dry side. However, if the cookies are turning out dry after baking, it may be due to over-baking or over-mixing. Make sure your butter is soft to start with to make mixing easier and prevent over-mixing.
Snowball cookies have a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture and a buttery flavor. You’ll also taste toasted pecans and vanilla. They’re delightfully sweet due to the powdered sugar coating but not overpowering.
Yes, snowball cookies are often referred to as Mexican wedding cookies. The names are used interchangeably, and both refer to the same type of round, buttery cookie made of ground nuts and powdered sugar.
Did you make this?
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Snowball Cookies, also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies, or Russian Tea Cakes, are buttery, melt-in-your-mouth treats.
Beat butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 5-8 minutes. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until well blended. Add flour and nuts, beating until incorporated.
Divide dough roughly in half. Wrap each half in plastic and chill in fridge for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk together remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and cinnamon in a pie dish.
Take out first half of chilled dough. Make 1-inch cookie balls, and arrange them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, 1 inch apart. Slightly pinch each ball so it stands taller and somewhat oval.
Bake cookies just until bottoms are light golden brown, 12-13 minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes on sheet.
Carefully toss warm cookies in the cinnamon sugar mix, coating completely. Place cookies on wire rack to finish cooling.
Once fully cooled, re-coat each cookie in cinnamon sugar mix and serve. Repeat with other half of dough.
- Make sure the roasted pecans have completely cooled before you grind them. Also, be sure not to over-grind as this will give you more of a paste rather than a course flour texture.
- Don’t forget to roll your cookies in the powdered sugar mixture twice. The first layer will melt a bit, and the second layer will have that fluffy snow appearance.
- Don’t skip chilling the dough! This is crucial to helping the cookies keep a round shape.
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Calories: 65kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 29mg | Potassium: 15mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 115IU | Vitamin C: 0.02mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.3mg
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