Monica's favorite gear for
making Snowball Cookies
This makes it easy to form round, equal portions of cookie dough. I use it for making mini meatballs, too.
This is considered a half sheet in the baking world. I have several of these that I use for all kinds of baking. One of these holds a full batch of Snowball Cookies.
These economy priced mats are an Amazon best seller. They fit perfectly inside my 13x18 baking sheet. These are like Silpat mats, but at a fraction of the cost.
This 12x18 rack fits perfectly inside my 13x18 baking sheets. I used it for cooling my Snowball cookies. It also can be used as a roasting rack.
This powerful KitchenAid hand mixer is the #1 recommendation of Cooks Illustrated's test kitchen. I've had mine for years.
If you don't have an electric mixer, this cookie dough can be mixed by hand using this handy tool. It's an affordable Amazon best seller.

Traditional Snowball Cookies

Also called Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes, and Butterballs, these are loved around the world.


Snowball Cookies | Traditional

By Monica              makes 45-50 cookies
Snowball Cookies--A  favorite traditional Christmas cookie in the U.S. and also loved around the world as Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes, and Butterballs. 
from The Yummy Life

Also called Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes, and Butterballs, these little round shortbread cookies are loved around the world for their wonderful flavor and texture.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (plus 1-2 cups for rolling cookies after they are baked)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (if using salted butter, only add a pinch of salt)
  • 2-1/4 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped pecans

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Add everything but the pecans to a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, blend on low speed until mixture is combined but still crumbly. Fold in chopped nuts just until mixed (mixture should still be crumbly).

Form dough into walnut-size balls. (A small scoop makes it easier.) Place on prepared baking sheet 1/2" apart. Bake 15-20 minutes until a few cookies are starting to brown ever-so-slightly. Leave on baking sheet for 10 minutes, and roll warm cookies in powdered sugar. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack; then roll again in powdered sugar. Store in airtight container.

Flavor and texture of cookies improve the next day, and for several days after.

May be frozen for up to 1 month. After they are thawed, if necessary, roll them again in powdered sugar to restore an even appearance.


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In our house, it's not Christmas without these Snowball Cookies. I've been making this recipe since it was first shared with me by my stepmom, Sandra, in 1981. One bite of these buttery little shortbread cookies rolled in powdered sugar, and a lifelong cookie tradition began. 

Snowballs have many aliases. I've often heard them called Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes, and Butterballs. As soon as I posted about this recipe on my Facebook page, I was flooded with comments from readers who have their own tradition with these cookies. Many of them knew Snowballs by other names. Those included: Kourambiedes (in Greece), Pecan Dainties (in Wisconsin), Italian Wedding Cookies, Polish Snowballs, Nutballs, Pecan Sandies, and Pecan Balls. Sometimes, instead of balls, the dough is rolled into little logs and called Lady Fingers or shaped like crescent moons and called Crescents.

Several countries make claim to the original recipe. Wherever it's origin, it's a winner. I've always used pecans in Snowballs. European based versions of this recipe often use hazelnuts, walnuts or almonds. Snowballs are really simple to make, yet they have such a wonderful flavor and texture. It's clear why they're a much loved favorite around the world. 

In my family, Snowballs are particular favorites of King-Man and our son Bracken. Now that Bracken lives in Boston, I send he and his wife, Rachel, a batch of Snowball Cookies in their Christmas box each year. These are great cookies to mail, because they are sturdy enough to hold up well in transit. And, they are actually better a few days after they're baked; so the travel time only improves their flavor and texture.

These pretty little cookies add a festive touch to holiday cookie platters. I always include these along with my Toffee and Sour Cream Sugar Cookies when we deliver Christmas treats to neighbors and friends.

 

Step-by-step photos for making
Snowball Cookies

Step 1. Assemble the ingredients: 

  • flour
  • powdered (confectioner's) sugar
  • vanilla
  • butter
  • salt
  • pecans, chopped

IMG_2539.jpg

Step 2. No creaming of butter or adding ingredients in a specific order is required. Simply put everything but the nuts into a bowl, and mix on a low speed until combined. (The mixture should be in moist crumbs that will hold together when pressed.) Then fold in chopped nuts, maintaining the moist crumb consistency. I used a stand mixer, but a handheld mixer will work, too. You can blend the mixture by hand with a pastry blender if you don't own a mixer.

view on Amazon: stand mixer, handheld electric mixer, pastry blender

Snowball_Cookies.jpg

Step 3. Roll or scoop walnut size balls of cookie dough. To maintain a light texture, don't over work or compact the dough too much. Form the balls just tightly enough that the dough holds it's round shape. I prefer to use a small scoop for quick, even, perfectly shaped cookies. Arrange cookies on parchment paper or a silicone mat on a large baking sheet. My 13x18" baking sheet holds a full batch of these cookies. 

view on Amazon:  small cookie scoop, silicone mat, 13x18" baking sheet

Snowball_Cookies1.jpg

Step 4. Bake the cookies just until you see a few of them begin to brown ever-so-slightly. Mine bake for 18 minutes. 

Snowball_Cookies2.jpg

Step 5. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 10 minutes, and while they're still warm, roll them in powdered sugar. Set them on a rack until completely cooled. (I place my rack inside a baking sheet to contain the powdered sugar mess.)

view on Amazon: cooling rack (it fits perfectly inside a 13x18 baking sheet)

Snowball_Cookies3.jpg

Step 6. When the cookies have completely cooled, roll them in powdered sugar a second time.

  • Why are they rolled in powdered sugar twice? Rolling them in powered sugar when they are still warm results in a soft, sweet, melty layer surrounding the cookie, as the sugar melts into the butter in the cookies that hasn't cooled & hardened yet. After the cookies have cooled and the butter has hardened, rolling them in powdered sugar again gives the cookies an even powdery outer layer. The double layers of powdered sugar with 2 different textures is much of the appeal of these cookies. 

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Even better the next day. Many cookies are best eaten freshly baked. But, Snowballs taste even better a day or two or three after they're baked. Both the flavor and texture improve. That makes these a great make-ahead cookie.

Freezable. You can also freeze these; after all, they are SNOWballs!  Roll them again in powdered sugar after they're thawed to restore their appearance, if necessary.

I love the texture of these cookies. They're tender and crumbly on the inside, with that awesome double layer of powdered sugar on the outside. Keep a napkin handy when you eat them. They're messy to eat, but in the best possible way! It's no wonder that these are loved all over the world.

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Make it a Yummy day!

Monica

Link directly to this recipe Print this recipe
Snowball Cookies | Traditional
By Monica              Servings: makes 45-50 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (plus 1-2 cups for rolling cookies after they are baked)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (if using salted butter, only add a pinch of salt)
  • 2-1/4 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped pecans
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Add everything but the pecans to a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, blend on low speed until mixture is combined but still crumbly. Fold in chopped nuts just until mixed (mixture should still be crumbly).

Form dough into walnut-size balls. (A small scoop makes it easier.) Place on prepared baking sheet 1/2" apart. Bake 15-20 minutes until a few cookies are starting to brown ever-so-slightly. Leave on baking sheet for 10 minutes, and roll warm cookies in powdered sugar. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack; then roll again in powdered sugar. Store in airtight container.

Flavor and texture of cookies improve the next day, and for several days after.

May be frozen for up to 1 month. After they are thawed, if necessary, roll them again in powdered sugar to restore an even appearance.
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Posted on Monday, December 22nd, 2014








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