Sweet and nutty pecan snowball cookies (also known as Russian tea cakes or Mexican wedding cookies) are little balls of buttery shortbread packed with finely chopped nuts that literally melt-in-your-mouth. This classic holiday cookie is coated with powdered sugar to make them even more festive and irresistible. Add them to your holiday baking list today.
Every holiday baking list needs some shortbread. These pecan snowball cookies are the most classic shortbread-type Christmas cookie. Some other festive shortbread cookies that you can include in a holiday cookie box or cookie exchange are cranberry orange shortbread cookies, jam-filled thumbprint cookies, linzer cookies, Christmas shortbread cookie bites, slice and bake pecan shortbread cookies and chocolate dipped shortbread cookies.
Ingredients in Snowball Cookies
To make pecan snowball cookies, you will need the following ingredients:
- Confectioner's sugar - this is the key ingredient for melt-in-your-mouth cookie bites. Granulated sugar works to get the same taste, but the texture won't be the same.
- pure vanilla extract
- all-purpose flour
- pecans - finely chopped, either by hand or throw it into a heavy duty blender or food processor and pulse mix until fine, but not yet powdery. You can feel free to substitute the pecans with any other nuts such as walnuts or almonds.
- more confectioners' sugar - for rolling and coating the snowball cookies to give it that iconic snowball look.
How to Make the Best Pecan Snowball Cookies
- Make the shortbread dough: Cream the butter and sugar together using a stand mixer or hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and beat on medium until incorporated. Gradually add the flour and beat on low speed until combined. Add pecans and beat until incorporated. The dough will look very dry at this point. Turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 2 minutes until dough starts to clump together becomes more breadcrumb-like and less dry (You should be able to easily shape the dough into a ball using your hands).
- Shape the dough into balls: Line two half sheet baking pans with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Scoop out a tablespoon of dough and roll into a 1-inch ball with your hands and place an inch apart on the baking sheet.
- Chill: Once the baking sheet is full, transfer to the refrigerator and chill for one hour.
- Bake: Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake the cookies for 15-18 minutes, until they are golden brown on the bottom edges.
- Coat with powdered sugar: Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then roll them in a bowl of confectioners' sugar while still warm, until completely coated. Transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. The sugar at this first 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 an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. I suggest storing each in a mini cupcake liners so that they don't smudge into each other.
- Can you freeze snowball cookies? Yes, snowball cookies freeze beautifully. 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? Absolutely, you can substitute the pecans with any other nuts. Try walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts.
More Cookie Recipes
- Christmas Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
- Gingerbread Cookies
- Linzer Cookies
- White Chocolate Peppermint Gingerbread Cookies
- Soft and Chewy Ginger Cookies
- Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
- Soft and Chewy White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
- Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Cookies
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