Buttery shortbread cookies filled with pecans and rolled in powdered sugar. These rich, buttery snowball cookies are a the perfect treat. Sometimes called “Mexican Wedding Cookies” or “Russian Tea Cakes”, these cookies have a shortbread base and are loaded with toasted pecans, for a nutty, crunchy cookie. The hallmark of this cookie is it’s powdered sugar coating. The cookies are rolled in it twice for the perfect melt-in-your-mouth bite! These have long been a favorite of mine, and I know you will enjoy these. They are very similar to my Greek Almond Shortbread Butter Cookies (Kourabiethes) - one of my favourite Greek cookies but these are made with pecans. I have tested many of these snowball cookies and I seem to be seeing the exact same ratio of sugar, butter and flour in almost all of the recipes I have tested. It seems to be the perfect ratio for making the perfect snowball cookies! I am exited to be partnering up with Bob’s Red Mill to feature a sweet treat that is perfect for the winter - snow ball cookies seem to be just the right fit. Bob’s Red Mill always has your baking needs covered.
Why you are going to love this snowball cookie recipe:
- They are sooo easy to make
- The dough is mixed together in just one bowl
- They only require 6 ingredients (basic pantry ingredients)
- No dough chilling required to make them
- You can easily substitute pecans for something else like dried cranberries or mini chocolate chips or another nut.
Ingredients in snowball cookies
- Unsalted Butter: As always, I prefer unsalted butter. If you only have salted butter on hand, just omit the salt in this recipe.
- Powdered Sugar: Also known as icing sugar or confectioners sugar, this is used to sweeten the cookie dough and the cookies are also rolled in it after they come out of the oven. I dont recommend granulated sugar for these. Powdered sugar helps prevent cookies from spreading while granulated sugar causes them to spread more. When it comes to snowball cookies, you want them to stay nice and round.
- Vanilla Extract & Salt: These two ingredients enhance the flavors. Pure vanilla extract is always best.
- Flour: This provides the structure for your cookies. I used Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached White All Purpose Flour
How to Make Snowball Cookies
- The first step is to toast the pecans in the oven or stove top for a few minutes then allow them to cool. Once cool chop them very fine.
- The next step is to cream the butter with the confectioners sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
- Add the flour and salt and mix until well combined scraping side of bowl to ensure it’s all incorporated.
- Mix in the pecans
- Scoop out and roll dough into balls and place on lined baking sheet
- Bake until lightly browned on the bottom.
- Allow to cool 5 min then roll in confectioners’ sugar - transfer to a wire cooling rack. The sugar at this stage will melt and be slightly sticky. Roll them again in confectioners’ sugar once completely cooled.
Frequently asked questions
- How long do snowball cookies last? You can store snowball cookies in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 4-5 days. I suggest storing each in mini cupcake liners so that they don’t smudge into each other.
- Can you freeze snowball cookies? Yes, snowball cookies freeze beautifully. You can easily freeze these before baking them or after (full details in recipes notes below) Arrange them in an airtight container in single layers layered in between pieces of parchment paper. I also like to store each cookie in a mini cupcake liner so that they don’t smudge into each other. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Can I substitute the pecans? Yes you definitely can substitute the pecans with any other nuts. Try walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts. If I’m using almonds I will use almond extract instead of the vanilla for more almond flavour. I have even used maple extract in these with the pecans for a maple pecan version. For nut allergies just leave the nuts out or substitute with chocolate chips or dried fruit like cranberries or dried cherries.
Tips for making great snowball cookies every time:
- Be sure to use room temperature butter
- Be sure to use the use powdered sugar in the dough and for rolling the cookies in after - using granulated sugar will not work with this recipe. The cookies will not keep their shape.
- Make sure to measure the cookies correctly. You’ll only need about 1-1½ tablespoon of dough per cookie. A one tablespoon cookie scoop or measuring spoon works great! I use my mini cookie scoop.
- Feel free to swap out the chopped pecans for something else like chopped walnuts, mini chocolate chips, or even dried cranberries.
- Toasting the pecan halves for just a few minutes allows the oils to warm, making the chopped pieces more aromatic. The nut oil infuses into the cookie dough, for a stronger taste.
- To help make the chopping faster and easier I recommend using a small food processor or mini chopper - just pulse until finely chopped.
More delicious cookies you will love:
- Greek Honey Walnut Cookies
- Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- Jam Drop Shortbread Cookies
- Ginger Spiced Molasses Cookies
- Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies
- Chocolate Hazelnut Florentine Cookies (Lace Cookies)
- Italian Style Fig Cookie Bundles (cucidati)
- Chocolate Dipped Tahini Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 and ½ cups (180 grams) powdered sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 and ¼ cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour, I used Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached White All Purpose Flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (90 grams) toasted chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, ½ cup of powdered sugar only and vanilla extract on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until well combined. It should be nice and light and fluffy. (set the remaining 1 cup powdered sugar aside to roll the cookies in).
- Mix in the flour and salt until fully combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure it’s all incorporated.
- With the mixer on low speed, mix in the chopped pecans until fully incorporated into the cookie dough.
- Using a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop (or tablespoon measuring spoon) scoop out the cookie dough, roll into balls, and place on the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until the cookies are set and the bottoms are lightly browned.
- Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes. Place remaining 1 cup of powdered sugar in a small bowl and roll the cookies in it while they are still warm. Place on cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
- Roll all the cookies in the powdered sugar a second time to fully coat them And I like to sift some over top of them too. I like to place mine in individual mini cupcake liners - they store better this way and are perfect for serving.
- Storage Instructions: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
- Freezing Instructions: Balls of cookie dough will freeze well for up to 3 months in a freezer-friendly storage container or bag, bake from frozen for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Baked cookies will also freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw to room temperature and roll in more powdered sugar before serving.