Christmas Snowball Cookies

It’s not really Christmas until you bake a batch of Snowball Cookies! These quintessential holiday cookies, made with finely ground toasted pecans, butter, flour, just a bit of sugar, plus a splash of bourbon, are not super sweet until … you roll them twice in powdered sugar! 

And, this is where they get their name because they really do look like little snowballs by the time you’ve finished bathing them in powdered sugar! The heat of the cookies during the first powdered sugar dip forms a nice sweet coating around the cookie and the second dipping creates the snowy effect! These cookies have a tendency to melt right in your mouth!

Although usually made during the holidays, these shortbread-y, sugary, puffballs of crispy “deliciousness” are fantastic all year long! In fact, they are also commonly known as Mexican Wedding Cookies or Russian Tea Cakes. But, still, they are my very favorite holiday cookies. We make them with a splash of bourbon to add to the festive holiday spirit! 

You can never have enough of these cookies around and they are really nice to give away for holiday cheer to friends and family! Try adding mini chocolate chips for a tasty variation!

Christmas Snowball Cookies

These old-fashioned traditional holiday cookies are so simple, but they somehow seem to say “Christmas!”
Servings 30 cookies
Prep Time 30 mins
Bake Time 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup 2 sticks or 8 oz. unsalted butter room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

Toasting the Pecans

  • Preheat oven to 350⁰ F.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  • Spread pecans out on the baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes, shaking occasionally to allow even toasting. Keep an eye on these. I cannot tell you how many batches of pecans, walnuts, and almonds I’ve burned over the years by getting distracted!
  • When browned and becoming aromatic, remove from the oven and cool.
  • Finely chop in a food processor and set aside until you are ready to make the cookies!

Making the Cookie Dough

  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325⁰F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until well-blended.
  • Add vanilla and bourbon and mix well. Stir in flour and salt and beat until well mixed. Beat in ground pecans. If your dough is too soft to roll into balls right away, just refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes before making the balls.

Baking the Cookies

  • Scoop dough out by the spoonful to make individual balls, approximately 1½ inches in diameter. 
  • Place balls two inches apart on the prepared baking sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until bottoms are golden brown and the cookies feel done to the touch. For this cookie, it’s best to err on the side of slightly overdone than underdone, since they should be melt-in-your-mouth crispy. 

Bathing the Cookies in Powdered Sugar

  • Remove from oven, cool for about 5 minutes, and then roll in powdered sugar. Place cookies on a baking rack and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, roll again in powdered sugar for a super snowy look!

Notes

These cookies can easily store for a week in an air-tight container.

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