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These easy Snowball Cookies melt in your mouth! Sometimes called Mexican Wedding Cookies or Russian Tea Cakes, these are buttery shortbread cookies made with nuts and rolled in powdered sugar. A classic Christmas cookie that’s hard to resist!
Do you call them Snowballs Cookies, Butter Balls, Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies? We always called them Snowballs or Butterballs. Either way, this is a holiday staple for us. I can never stop as just one.
There’s nothing like a mouthful of powdered sugar that makes you cough as you take a big bite of these. Am I right? This classic Christmas cookie is one I grew up with and will be making for years to come.
Snowball Cookies are buttery shortbread cookies, stuffed with chopped nuts and rolled in powdered sugar. The combination of ground nuts, butter and flour makes a rich cookie base that pretty much melts in your mouth.
The interior of these cookies is slightly sweet, while the exterior is rolled in confectioners sugar. The contrast is just plain addictive, and the fact that these cookies look like snowballs makes them perfect for your Christmas cookie tray! I have it on good authority that Santa Clause loves these cookies.
This snowball cookie recipe comes from my grandmother. I have no idea the origins of the recipe my grandmother got this from, it’s probably from an old cookbook. The photo above is her handwriting with the ingredients for these cookies. I just love the idea of passing on these recipes to my future family and keeping the tradition alive.
You only need six ingredients to make classic snowball cookies. Here’s what they are:
- Softened butter: Butter that has been softened slightly is easier to mix with the flour.
- Sifted flour: First sift, then measure
- Sifted confectionary sugar: First sift, then measure
- Vanilla extract: Only the good stuff
- A pinch of salt
- Nuts: You can use walnuts or pecans but personally I like walnuts myself. They need to be finley ground, I recommend using a food processor.
- Additional powder sugar for rolling
These are the perfect cookie recipe for children to help make, with the exception of preparing the nuts. Rolling the cookie dough into balls is such a tactile experience, and kids will love rolling the cookies in sugar!
- Combine butter, sugar and vanilla: Start with softened butter and combine with sifted confectionary sugar and vanilla extract, mixing until well combined.
- Add flour: Then mix in the sifted flour and salt and mix until the dough starts to form.
- Add the nuts: Finally add the chopped nuts.
- Shape the cookie dough: Roll into balls about 1-1 1/2 tablespoon size and place at least 1 inch apart on a baking mat lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Bake: These should bake just until the bottoms start to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely.
- Roll in confectioners sugar. Make sure the cookies are completely cooled prior to rolling them in powdered sugar. Once the cookies have cooled, roll each one in powdered sugar.
These cookies are pretty simple to make, but there are a few steps I recommend for the absolute perfect plate of snowball cookies.
- Sift your flour: It is super tempting to skip this step. But sifting your flour before you measure it is pretty key for this recipe. It ensures that you have just the right amount of flour. If you don’t have a sifter you can use a fine mesh sieve too.
- Level your measuring cup: After you have sifted your flour, spoon it into your measuring cup and level it off with a butter knife.
- What if you don’t like nuts? If you don’t want to use nuts in your snowball cookies you can use mini chocolate chips instead.
- When to add the powdered sugar: Be sure to allow the cookies to cool completly before adding the powdered sugar. If the cookies are too warm, the sugar will melt and become sticky.
The Best Way to Store Them
These are best stored in an airtight container with a layer of parchment paper or wax paper between the layers. These will keep for at least 5 days.
How to Freeze Them
This is a great cookie to make ahead of time. To freeze them, store them in an airtight container with a piece of parchment or wax paper between the layers. Once thawed you can give them a fresh coating of powdered sugar if desired. I recommend thawing them on a cookie sheet to avoid any extra condensation.Print
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 3-4 dozen
Buttery, melt-in-your mouth Snowball Cookies! These easy homemade cookies are a classic addition to your Christmas cookie tray.
- 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (65g) sifted powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups (315g) sifted all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cups (87g) finely chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
- Sift powder sugar and flour. Grind the nuts using a food processor or finely chop with a knife.
- Combine the butter, confectionary sugar and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
- Then add in the flour and salt and mix until a dough starts to form. Finally, add the chopped nuts and mix until well combined.
- Scoop the dough with a medium cookie scoop (about 1 1/2 tablespoons), roll into balls, and place at least 1 inch apart on a baking mat lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Bake at 400° F for 8-10 minutes until the bottom just start to brown. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely.
- Make sure the cookies are completely cooled, then roll them in powdered sugar.
- Storage: These are best stored in an airtight container with a layer of parchment paper or wax paper between the layers. These will keep for at least 5 days.
- Freezing: Store them in an airtight container, and I suggest layering a piece of parchment or wax paper between the layers. Once thawed you can give them a fresh coating of powdered sugar if desired. I recommend thawing them on a cookie sheet to avoid any extra condensation.
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Butterball cookies, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Christmas cookie recipe
They are traditional greek Christmas cookies (kourampiedes) with chopped almonds
Thank you for sharing Manthos, I have not heard of those before
They come in difrent shapes and sizes and you can find them from late October antil mid January everywhere in Greece. They are two difrent christams cookies in Greece, The other one is called “melomakarona” . Everybody loves melomakarona. They are dipped in a syrup with honey , strained and coverd with chopped walnuts. Look it up they are VERY VERY interisting
I will look them up 🙂
Could I leave out nuts & replace with white choc chips?
Hi Carol, yes you can! I would use mini chocolate chips
love this recipe