Snowball Christmas Cookies {best ever}

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Snowball Christmas Cookies ~ Simply the BEST! Buttery, never dry, with plenty of walnuts for a scrumptious melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookie (also known as Russian Teacakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies). Everyone will LOVE these classic Christmas cookies!Simply the BEST! Our traditional Snowball Christmas Cookies are buttery, with plenty of walnuts and vanilla for a rich and flavorful melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookie (also known as Russian Teacakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies). Never dry because the dough is made with granulated sugar, not confectioners’ sugar like other recipes that make the cookies too dry. Scrumptious gluten free option included using our own GF flour blend. Everyone loves these classic nutty shortbread Christmas cookies!

Fond Christmas Baking Memories:
Snowball Christmas Cookies ~ The Best Ever

Although this recipe resides on the blog as a gluten free version, I simply could not resist posting my favorite Christmas cookie, in its original traditional form, which is forever tied to fond memories of holiday baking with my Grandma Gigi, Snowball Christmas Cookies. That’s what we children called them. However, my grandmother called them Russian Teacakes and our neighbor called them Mexican Wedding Cookies. No matter what you call them, everyone loves these classic nutty shortbread Christmas cookies!

Distinctly, I remember the first Christmas when I was finally old enough to help my grandmother bake cookies for Christmas. It involved staying overnight for the weekend during the second week in December and my memories of these precious years when I baked with her are purely magical.

Together, we baked all day through the weekend and turned out batch after batch of Butterplätzchen (Rolled German Butter Cookie Cutouts) cut into animal shapes and sprinkled with colorful “Jimmies” to hang on the Christmas tree. We also baked Russian Teacakes, Pecan Crescents, Jam Thumbprint Cookies, Butter Pecan Icebox Cookies, Spritz Cookies using her old-fashioned cookie press and Gingerbread Cookies as well as German Sour Cream Coffeecake with the most spectacular buttery brown sugar nut streusel known to man. I swear, no other streusel compares!

Grandma Gigi also baked a nut torte (a boozy, nutty layer cake) and a special kuchen (cake) which was actually a bar cookie consisting of a rich shortbread crust, strawberry or raspberry jam filling and unique meringue topping. And I had the important duty of helping my grandmother soak her fruitcake by drizzling it with rum. She had always baked the cake in October, but she would explain that the cake had to “cure”, “age” or “ripen”. I was fascinated by this and can still remember the enchanted scents of spices, sugared fruits and rum from that mysterious cake tin tucked away into a low cupboard in her kitchen.

My Grandma Gigi talked with pride when telling us the history of the recipes she handed down to my sister and I. Some came from my Papa’s mother and some from my grandmother’s mother. She explained that the recipes from her side of the family came from a professional baker who baked for royalty “in the old country” as she would say. Of course, there is no way of knowing this for sure. It all sounds so fantastical. However, most of the recipes handed down in our family have never been found in print, cookbooks or magazines. Believe me, we have looked!

This traditional German-Hungarian recipe for Snowball Cookies or Russian Teacakes was handed down from my Great-Grandmother Mitzi and I am proud to share my gluten free version as well—which is quite stupendous if I do say so myself. When The Big Lug sampled the gluten free version of these scrumptious cookies, he could not believe that they were gluten free. That is saying quite a lot because he is quite the cookie connoisseur!

Snowball Christmas Cookies ~ Simply the BEST! Buttery, never dry, with plenty of walnuts for a scrumptious melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookie (also known as Russian Teacakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies). Everyone will LOVE these classic Christmas cookies!

Just what is it about Snowball Cookies or Russian Teacakes that make them so special? I have pondered this quite often over the years whenever I bake them. Are they special because they are delectable buttery, nutty, round shortbread cookies? Or, do we love them so much because they are covered in confectioners’ sugar and remind us of snowballs and playing in the snow as children? Or, is it the nostalgia attached to the experiences in baking with a beloved family member, like a grandmother or special aunt? For me, it is all of the above.

However, I must say that the taste and experience of munching on these special shortbread cookies dusted in sugar, like a Pixie Elf’s Fairy Dust, is intrinsically tied to the memory of baking with my Grandma Gigi and all the anticipation, excitement and childhood wonder of the coming Christmas holiday. Each time I munch on a Snowball Christmas Cookie, I am reminded of my Grandma Gigi and her beautiful Christmas tree covered in Butterplätzchen and how they were shared with the mailman, the paper boy or anyone who came to the door in late December. My mother carried on a similar tradition as each person who came to our door was treated with a candy cane from our family Christmas tree.

What makes our Snowball Christmas Cookies wicked good? First, our recipe calls for all butter and granulated sugar which is superior to recipes using confectioners’ sugar which contains cornstarch thus making the shortbread cookie too dry. (Ever cough from those cookies due to those dry, crumbly cookies dusted in sugar when the “dust” goes down your wind pipe?) Using all butter and granulated sugar, with ample pure vanilla extract, ensures an especially buttery and tasty Snowball Cookie.

Second, our recipe calls for walnuts which are not as dry as pecans can be. In addition, our recipe calls for 2 entire cups of finely chopped walnuts—not a mere 3/4 cup of nuts like most recipes such as the one found in the iconic Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book. Finally, the size of the teacakes, the oven temperature and bake time ensures superior Snowball Christmas Cookies.

Here at Wicked Good Kitchen, we hope that our family recipe for Snowball Cookies becomes a new Christmas tradition for your family. Here’s to special childhood Christmas memories, family traditions and holiday baking to include spectacular Snowball Cookies!

xo,

stacysig

 

 

 

Below are Pinterest-friendly sized images to pin at Pinterest!

Snowball Christmas Cookies ~ Simply the BEST! Buttery, never dry, with plenty of walnuts for a scrumptious melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookie (also known as Russian Teacakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies). Everyone will LOVE these classic Christmas cookies!

Snowball Christmas Cookies ~ Simply the BEST! Buttery, never dry, with plenty of walnuts for a scrumptious melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookie (also known as Russian Teacakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies). Everyone will LOVE these classic Christmas cookies!

 

Snowball Christmas Cookies ~ Simply the BEST! Buttery, never dry, with plenty of walnuts for a scrumptious melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookie (also known as Russian Teacakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies). Everyone will LOVE these classic Christmas cookies!

 

Snowball Christmas Cookies {best ever}

Yield: Makes about 7 dozen cookies.

Snowball Christmas Cookies {best ever}

What makes our Snowball Cookies wicked good? First, our recipe calls for all butter and granulated sugar which ensures an especially buttery and tasty Snowball Cookie. Second, our recipe calls for walnuts which are not as dry as pecans can be. In addition, our recipe calls for 2 entire cups of finely chopped walnuts—not a mere ¾ cup of nuts like most recipes such as the one found in the iconic Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book. Finally, the size of the teacakes, the oven temperature and bake time ensures superior Snowball Cookies. Scrumptious gluten free option included using our own GF flour blend. Everyone loves these classic Christmas cookies!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks/226 grams) unsalted butter, softened slightly
  • 5 tablespoons (63 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25 grams) kosher salt
  • 2 cups (240 grams) organic all-purpose flour, such as King Arthur Flour®
  • 2 cups (about 240 grams) finely chopped walnuts
  • 1½ cups (about 188 grams) confectioners’ sugar, for dusting cookies twice

Directions

Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in the vanilla and salt. Gradually add flour or gluten free flour blend (see Notes); beating after each addition. Stir in the nuts; mix until fully incorporated. Divide dough in half and refrigerate in plastic wrap for approximately 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, arrange oven rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Place confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl; set aside. Measure dough using a small, 1-inch spring-loaded scoop making sure each scoopful is level. Roll dough between palms of hands to achieve a small rounded ball.

Place dough balls 1½ inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven until the cookies are just beginning to brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. Do not overbake. The underside of the cookies should be only lightly browned. And, the cookies should not crack—a sure sign of overbaked teacake cookies.

Cool cookies on baking sheets on wire racks for approximately 2 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets using a metal cookie spatula. While cookies are still warm, gently roll them in the confectioners’ sugar. Place the sugar-coated cookies on wire racks to cool completely. Roll cookies once again in the confectioners’ sugar.

Recipe Notes

Variation:

For Gluten-Free Option: Replace all-purpose wheat flour with:

½ cup (64 grams) millet flour or sorghum flour, or blend of both
6 tablespoons (48 grams) arrowroot starch
6 tablespoons (48 grams) tapioca flour
5 tablespoons (50 grams) sweet white rice flour
4 tablespoons (28 grams) blanched almond meal/flour
1½ tablespoons (15 grams) potato starch
1½ teaspoons (4.2 grams) guar gum, such as Now Foods®

Tips:

The dough balls will seem very small, but don’t worry. The cookies puff while they bake.

Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. Cookies will keep up to 4 weeks.

These cookies freeze especially well. To freeze, place in an airtight container separating the layers with sheets of wax paper. To freshen frozen cookies, roll or dust them with additional confectioners’ sugar after thawing.

How to Measure All-Purpose Flour for this Recipe: This tip is provided for bakers who do not own a kitchen scale and will be measuring flour by volume rather than by weight. First, aerate your flour by stirring it in the container. Then, simply use the dip and sweep method by dipping your dry measuring cup into the flour and level off the top with a straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container.

How to Measure Gluten-Free Flours for this Recipe: This tip is provided for bakers who do not own a kitchen scale and will be measuring flour by volume rather than by weight. When measuring Bob’s Red Mill® gluten-free flours for this recipe, I used the method of spooning the flour into the dry measuring cup and leveling off the top with the straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container.

Original Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com

Copyright © Wicked Good Kitchen. All content and images are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words. Alternatively, link back to this post for the recipe.

http://wickedgoodkitchen.com/snowball-christmas-cookies-best-ever/

About Stacy

Stacy Bryce is a recipe developer and member of the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals). Her passion is developing original conventional baking recipes as well as special diet recipes to include dairy-free, gluten-free and grain-free. You can follow Stacy at Pinterest.

Comments

  1. Gorgeous cookies, I can only imagine how rich and buttery these are. A must make!

    • Thank you, Laura! You will love this recipe for Snowball Cookies. I hope you bake them for this Christmas. Enjoy!

      • Janet Prater says:

        I have a question – I made the dough and put it in the refrigerator to cool – and fell asleep! Do you think it will work to let it come to room temperature and then make the cookies!

        • Hi there, Janet! Thank you for writing with such a great question. No worries with having chilled your cookie dough overnight. Simply take the dough out of the fridge and let it set out, while still wrapped, for about 5 to 10 minutes to soften a bit. Then, forge ahead and form the cookie dough into ball shapes as directed in the recipe and bake immediately. Be sure to have your oven preheated. If there will be a significant lag in time before baking the next batch, simply chill the dough again briefly. You definitely do not want the dough completely at room temperature as it will be too soft and your cookies will bake flatter on the bottoms and not retain a pretty snowball shape. The dough should be chilled when rolling the dough into balls, just not rock hard straight from the fridge from an overnight chill. Thanks again for writing and I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Wishing you and yours a meaningful and joyous holiday season!

          • Janet Prater says:

            Oh thank you so much for the quick response! I’m thrilled to know I didn’t totally mess this up! lol! Preheating oven now and will proceed to roll….wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday!

          • Thank you, Janet! My pleasure. I’m so glad you are back on track with your holiday baking this morning. Once again, happy holidays! 🙂

  2. These used to be one of my favorite Christmas cookies, love that you’ve created a GF version too!
    Sylvie recently posted…Chocolate Peppermint Silk Brownie Bars (Grain-Free, Vegan, Paleo-Friendly)My Profile

    • Thank you, Sylvie! You will love the GF version of these Snowball Cookies. Thanks for stopping by and happy holiday baking!

  3. Stacy, these cookies are just want I want on my Christmas cookie plate. Thanks for the tip regarding granulated sugar vs. powdered sugar (it never occurred to me that cornstarch would dry out the cookie). I have to say, what I love most about your post is the memory of spending the weekend with your grandmother to help make her Christmas cookies. That sounds so lovely. I hope to be that kind of grandmother when I get older (way way way way way way older).

    • Thank you, Liz! My pleasure. You are so right. Snowball Cookies are definitely what I want on my Christmas cookie platter, too. They’re irresistible. Baking them with my grandmother, along with other Christmas cookies, is probably my fondest childhood memory. I was like a sponge in her kitchen absorbing every word she spoke when it came to technique and tips as well as where the recipes came from. I hope she realized that! Liz, you will be a phenomenal grandmother helping your grandchildren learn to bake and creating fond memories for them. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by and happy holiday baking!

  4. How many cookies does this recipe make? They look delicious.

    • Hi there, Janet! As stated in the recipe, this recipe yields approximately 7 dozen cookies because the cookies are small. I hope this information helps. Happy holiday baking!

  5. Dalila G. says:

    You can never go wrong with a cookie, love them!
    My favorite sweet is a lemon cupcake, but for some reason cookies are the best for sweet treats to share.
    This cookies looks wonderful and the recipe seems easy enough even for me. 😃
    The idea that it’s from family is even better, best recipes ever.
    Grandma’s sure do rock with baking!

    Pinned!

    • Thank you, Dalila! I appreciate the pin, too, my friend. 🙂 You are right…Grandma’s rock when it comes to baking! When hubby and I were first married, he told me that he didn’t like Snowball Cookies or Russian Teacakes because they were too dry. But, after tasting this recipe, he said that he loved how buttery they are and how they are not dry. He was shocked. Now, Snowball Cookies are his second favorite cookie at Christmastime. His favorite cookie in the Universe is Rugelach! Thanks for stopping by and happy holiday baking!

  6. Thanks for a different recipe. This is my husband’s favorite but I can not find the recipe he remembers. You laugh to know how many I have tried..almond…anise..just vanilla. Fingers crossed.

    • Thank you for writing, Gale! My pleasure. This recipe comes from my great-grandmother, Mitzi, and given to me by my grandmother, Gigi. It is a family favorite and comes from the “old country” as they say, Austria, Hungary. I hope this recipe is what your husband remembers. Good luck and “fingers crossed”. Happy baking!

  7. Stacy can you substitute pecans for the Walnut thank you

    • Hi there, Lynda! Of course you can substitute pecans for walnuts in this recipe for Snowball Christmas Cookies. Our family prefers walnuts because the nuts are not as dry as pecans can be – although they have excellent flavor. Thank you for writing and happy holiday cookie baking!

  8. Can the dough be made ahead of time and frozen? If so, do I roll 7 dozen individual cookies and freeze in layers in an airtight container then thaw in fridge?

    • Hi there, Diane! Thank you for writing with such a great question. To answer your question, yes. This shortbread type dough freezes beautifully (in an airtight container, of course) and the cookies can be baked after the dough is thawed in the refrigerator. Do not thaw the cookie dough at room temperature as the cookie dough should be chilled and firm before placing the balls of dough on a baking sheet and baking in the oven. I have always found that layering baked or unbaked cookies between sheets of wax paper is best because it absorbs moisture. Thanks again for writing and I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Happy holiday cookie baking!

  9. Hi! Found your recipe on Pinterest, they look so delicious!
    I was wondering, if you use a fan oven or regular heat? And how would I know when they are done? – Soft to the touch? No residue on a stick when i test one of them?
    Thanks 😀

    • Hi there, Sofia! Thank you for writing and I am so glad you found this wonderful family recipe of ours over at Pinterest. 🙂 To answer your question, I bake in a conventional oven. For this recipe, just bake as directed and look for light browning around the bottom edge. That is the best visual cue I can give you. If you over-bake them, they start to crack and that is the best visual cue I can give for that. If they are over-baked, the cookies will be dry and crumbly instead of sublimely buttery-nutty. Thanks again for writing and I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Happy holidays!

  10. Margaret R Pratt says:

    Thank you for sharing. I love this type of cookie and BONUS! – it can be made gluten free. My oldest daughter has celiac disease. I do have a question for you, though. When living in Germany, my family loved a type of ginger or molasses cookie that may or may not of had something like coriander or cardamom in it. Did your grandmother have anything similar that she baked? I’ve been all over the internet and not found anything similar. Thanks again.

    • Thank you for writing, Margaret! My pleasure. I’m so glad you love our family’s recipe for Snowball Christmas Cookies as much as we do and am happy to know that your oldest daughter can enjoy our scrumptious gluten-free version. 🙂 As for your question, my grandmother did have some spice cookies that called for cardamom. One is a drop cookie and the other is a slice ‘n bake type cookie that she called “icebox cookies”. Her windmill cookies might have cardamom in it, too. I’ll have to check. Meanwhile, do you have any more information? Like, was it a rolled cookie, spritz or a drop cookie? Was it a bar cookie? What was special about the cookie besides containing cardamom? I would be happy to help you hunt down the recipe or find or even develop something from scratch that would be similar. Thanks again for writing, Margaret. Warmest wishes to you and yours for a meaningful and joyous Christmas holiday season!

  11. I’ve made these cookies for years but your photo is beautiful and is what grabbed my attention to try your recipe. My cookies always flatten on the bottom when baking. What is the trick to keep them in a ball shape like in your photo?

    • Hi there, Lisa! Thank you for asking such a great question and for the compliments on my photography. To answer your question, I must first tell you that my Snowball Christmas Cookies are slightly flat on the bottom. However, if your cookies are severely flattened, it could be that the recipe does not call for enough nuts to give the cookie structure, the dough is not chilled enough prior to baking, the cookie sheets are not fully cooled from a previous batch, the cookie sheet is placed too low in the oven and, therefore, too close to the heating element. There is something you can try to prevent severely flat bottoms for your Snowball Cookies and that is using insulated baking sheets. This will allow the cookies to bake evenly without having a baking surface that is too hot. Thanks again for writing and I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Happy holiday baking!

  12. Oh these cookies look so amazing I’m stepping out of my Usual” cookies this yr.trying something different and your recipes will be perfect thank u and happy holidays

    • Thank you for writing, Judy! My pleasure. I hope you will enjoy my family’s recipe for Snowball Christmas Cookies and that they become a new holiday tradition for you and your family. Warmest wishes to you and yours for a meaningful and joyous holiday season! 🙂

  13. These were one of my favorites to make with my mom growing up. Thanks for bringing back the memories. Do you think know it would be ok to substitute almonds for the walnuts? Thank you so much!

    • Hi there, Maggie! Thank you for writing with such a great question. I often suggest that pecans can be substituted for the walnuts, but you sure can substitute with almonds…either blanched or not. Just be sure to use finely ground to incorporate into the dough and you will be fine. I hope this information is helpful to you, Maggie. Meanwhile, happy holiday baking. 🙂 Warmest wishes to you and yours for a holiday season that is both merry and bright!

  14. Stacy, I have been making these cookies since I was a young girl, I’m a grandma now. I have a grandson that has egg and nut allergies so I started making these cookies for him and leaving out the nuts. He loves them and helps me make them several times a year. Thank you for telling us your cookie making story!

    • Thank you for writing, Mary! My pleasure. I’m so happy to know that you are carrying out a loving holiday tradition with your grandson by making these cookies for him the way he likes them due to his food allergies. I, too, am food allergic (to anything corn-derived with sulfites). You are creating his memories and wonderful traditions for him to pass down in the family. 🙂 Thanks again for writing and sharing your story, Mary. Warmest wishes to you and yours for a meaningful and joyous holiday season!

  15. Dametjanet says:

    This is the absolute best snowball cookie recipe! I have made 3 batches of them already. Everyone loves them. Thanks for a great and easy recipe

    • Thank you, D! My pleasure. I’m thrilled to know that you, your family and friends love these irresistible and scrumptious Snowball Christmas Cookies as much as our family does. Thanks again for writing. 🙂 Warmest wishes to you and yours for a holiday season that is both merry and bright!

  16. I just made these today they are scrumptious. They only flattened slightly and just look beautiful!! Thanks for a great recipe. The only problem I had was they only made a little over 4 dozen.

    • Hi there, Mary! Thank you for writing and sharing with me and fellow readers that your Snowball Christmas Cookies were both scrumptious and beautiful. I’m so glad! Meanwhile, about your problem and the recipe yield… I will definitely look over my recipe notes because I may have made an error. This recipe is actually a portion of the original recipe handed down in our family for generations and my Grandma Gigi told us that the recipe was handed down from a professional baker within the family who worked for royalty in the “old country”. I am making these wonderful cookies for our own holiday celebration this week and will test them for recipe yield then update the recipe here on the blog accordingly. Thanks again for writing, Mary, and bringing this important matter to my attention. 🙂 Warmest wishes to you and yours for a meaningful and joyous holiday season!

  17. These turned out so well I won a prize in my friend’s cookie contest! Wonderful recipe and easy to make too. Thanks!

    • Thank you for writing and sharing your story, M! My pleasure. I’m so glad that you enjoyed making and nibbling on these wonderful Snowball Christmas Cookies and that you even won a prize at your friend’s cookie contest! How fabulous is that? 🙂 Thanks again for writing, M. Warmest wishes to you and yours for a Christmas holiday season that is both merry and bright!

  18. This dough is more like a flour consistency once everything is incorporated. Am u missing an ingredient? Eggs? I don’t know how this is going to hold together in a ball

    • Hi there, Jess! Thank you for writing. To answer your question… No, I am not missing an ingredient. This recipe is a shortbread cookie recipe requiring no eggs. It is a bit crumbly at the start as the butter needs to get saturated into the flour and sugar for their proper hydration. It sort of works that way…similar to all-butter pie crust recipes. This is why it is important for the dough for Snowball Christmas Cookies to chill and “set” briefly in the refrigerator. Hang in there and be patient…the recipe will definitely pull together as you form the cookie balls between then palms of your hands and is so worth it. 🙂 Thanks again for writing, Jess. Good luck and happy holiday baking! Warmest wishes to you and yours for a happy and meaningful holiday season!

  19. Your cookies look wonderful, but do you know if you can roll them and cut in squares, then bake them? I have a patterned rolling pin that I’d like to use, but don’t know if it’s the proper texture. Thank you!🎄

    • Hi there, Marilynn! Thank you for writing with such a great question. This particular cookie dough, for Snowball Christmas Cookies, is indeed a shortbread cookie dough. Therefore, I see no reason why you couldn’t roll out the chilled dough and cut it into squares. However, as for leaving an imprinted pattern on the top of the cookies using a patterned rolling pin, I think this would pose a problem with the rough surface on top due to the chopped nuts. With that said, how festive would a cookie tray look, with small cubes of nutty shortbread cookies combined with round “snowball” shapes for the holidays? I’m really liking your idea and may even try it this week! Thanks again for dropping by and taking time to write. Warmest wishes to you and yours for a meaningful and joyous holiday season!

  20. Hi Stacy,
    Thank you for sharing your recipe. I will be making these this week for the first time ever. I have never had a snowball cookie.
    Wishing you the very best Christmas season. I was reading through your comments and you sound very warm and generous. That in itself makes me want to try your recipe. 🙂
    Merry Christmas!

    • Hi there, Sarah! My pleasure. Thank you for the warm Christmas greetings, my friend. 🙂 Also, thank you for taking the time to write and share that you have never tried a snowball cookie. Well, you are in for a pleasant surprise…such buttery-nutty goodness! I hope you will enjoy this special recipe for Snowball Christmas Cookies as much as we do in our family. We make them every year at our house. In fact, it is a deep holiday tradition that we hold dear as the recipe has been handed down through the generations. It just wouldn’t seem like Christmas without Snowball Cookies on the holiday cookie tray! Thanks again for writing, Sarah. Warmest wishes to you and yours for a meaningful and joyous Christmas season! 🙂

  21. Hello! I just came across your recipe. I have seen recipe’s in the past that you can omit the nuts from, but your recipe looks so much better. Are you able to omit the nuts from this recipe as well or do you think that would mess up the baking/consistency? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi there, Alison! Thank you for writing with such a great question. However, I cannot answer it based on experience. Our recipe for Snowball Christmas Cookies is indeed a shortbread dough (made without eggs). However, I have never made them without the nuts. I love them with walnuts so much! I have even tried pecans, but we always go back to the original walnuts in my grandmother’s recipe. Having said that, you could try the recipe without the nuts and see how they turn out. Perhaps you could try rolling out the dough and using small cookie cutters or keep them in the round snowball shapes. If you do try this recipe sans the nuts, please let us know how it goes. Alternatively, you could add mini semi-sweet chocolate morsels for Chocolate Chip Snowball Christmas Cookies. Good luck! 🙂 Wishing you and yours a meaningful and joyous holiday season!

  22. Made these tonight. Added too much vanilla (put 1 TBS of double strength vs. 2 tsp), forgot to put in the second stick of butter until after the dough looked WAAAAYYYYY to dry.
    THEY STILL TURNED OUT AMAZING!!!!! This is a very very forgiving recipe! Am taking them to my office Holiday Party tomorrow with complete confidence! THX!!! 😀

    • Thank you, Kristina! My pleasure. Thank you for taking the time to write and share your experience with our recipe for Snowball Christmas Cookies. But, whew…what a close call! I’m so glad you remembered the second stick of butter. You are right…shortbread cookie dough can be very forgiving. Thanks again for taking the time to write. I hope your cookies are a smashing success at the party! 🙂 Wishing you and yours the merriest this Christmas season!

  23. Can you post a picture of the inside, like a snowball with a bite taken out? I just want to see how nutty it is.

    • Thank you for writing, Kodi! I sure will. In fact, I will be baking these fabulous Snowball Christmas Cookies on Friday for our holiday celebrations and will sneak away to take some photographs to update this post. I’m sorry that I cannot do this any sooner for you in time for Christmas. But, trust me…they are a wonderful buttery-nutty shortbread cookie. Irresistible! Everyone that has tasted them has raved and asked for the recipe. Thanks again for writing and reminding me that I should include a photograph or two of the insides of the cookies. I’m getting better at that as evidenced by my latest posts for my Gooey Butter Cookies series. Happy holidays!

  24. We have a similar staple christmas cookie like this that my Mexican relatives taught me called Pastelitos. I think they are so wonderful partly because they are steeped in nostalgia and tradition and parlty because they are a god damn excellent little mouthful of cookie. I love how yours look like snowballs! They are so cute. And the story that you tell with them is pretty much magic. Your Grandma gigi sounds like an amazing grandma! Wonderful pos, i love reading personal things like this x
    Ruby & Cake recently posted…Santa Baby!My Profile

    • Thank you, Ruby! My Grandma Gigi was a very special woman. That’s for sure. Beautiful, too. My grandfather would chase her around the house even into their old age. They both lived with passion and they passed that onto me. Thanks again for dropping by and happy holidays!

  25. I recently bought silicone baking sheets for my insulated cookie sheets. Do these change the cooking time? I can’t wait to try these. I have always made the Betty Crocker Russian Teacakes, so I am trying something new.

    • Hi there, Sue!

      Thank you for writing with such a great question. With this buttery cookie recipe, you do not need to use a lined baking sheet (even with an insulated cookie sheet). However, I like to line mine with natural baking parchment (without nasty chemical additives). Just watch the cookies and perhaps adjust their bake time by a minute or so longer since they will be baking on an insulated cookie sheet.

      Meanwhile, I am very against baking with silicone baking mats. At such a high heat in the oven, there is no doubt that the silicone off-gassing leaches into food. I have experienced the smoking and awful smell and immediately I was coughing and my eyes were watering. I believe these silicone baking mats are highly unsafe and would never recommend their use.

      Please read this comment by Dr. Carin S. Smit (found following the article, What is Silicone and is it Toxic?) for helpful information:

      “I am an Clinical Metal and Environmental Toxicologist. One of my patients suffered from acute Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She is a high functioning lawyer and head of legal teams for two sub-continents in the oil and gas industry. When we looked at Lymphocyte Sensitivity tests and DNA Adducts testing we found that SILICONE and several forms of so-called “inert” silicone had made their way into her cells at devastatingly high levels. What were the sources of her silicone poisoning? 1. She is a diver who hold a prestigious world record and she has the silicone mouth piece from her regulator in her mouth on every dive. Her dive mask is manufactured from so-called inert silicone. She applies body and beauty care products to her skin which contain dimethicone (minuscule amounts of this compound can cause cancer and cause epigenetic changes to DNA). She used an underarm anti-perspirant which contained a silicone compound known as cyclopentasiloxane and finally she is an avid underwater photographer who applies silicone from a tube to the O-rings of her dive camera housing and dive equipment. Go figure whether silicone is as benign and as “safe” (GRAS) as claimed by the food industry. The BAD thing about silicone? It lipid binds, it sets itself up in one’s cells at receptors which are designed for other elements and by displacing these, wreak havoc in our cells. Silicone is NOT benign, is NOT safe and I could submit several lab reports of patients who are ill or have already passed away with cancer, where silicone was the main player in the genesis of their disease. Please revise your facts – this is not a safe product to use around babies or food which is consumed by humans.”

      Sue, I hope you can get a refund on the new silicone baking mats you recently purchased. Meanwhile, I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. 🙂

      Warmest wishes to you and yours for a meaningful and joyous holiday season!

      ~Stacy

      • Wow! Thanks for the information.
        Sue recently posted…Chocolate Fudge Gooey Butter Cookies {from scratch!}My Profile

      • Wow! Thanks for the information. Cancer is a huge problem in my family, and I don’t want to use things that are unhealthy.

        • Sue, I am so glad you are with me on this. We are kindred spirits. 🙂 I have learned so much by reading up. What the late Nicholas Gonzales, M.D. had to share about the causes of cancer really resonated with me. I am paraphrasing (and not a physician or health expert), but, according to him, the dangerous area is between nutrition deficiencies and the body overburdened with toxicities whether they be chemical, heavy metal or otherwise. It is within that area, those “cracks”, that welcomes cancer. We all need to keep ourselves nourished with good, organic foods and be vigilant with detoxification to have a happy, healthy and long life. Cheers to your good health!

  26. I just realized that I have run out of vanilla! Can I use almond or caramel extract instead?

    • Hi there, Liss! Thank you for writing with such a great question. Yes, you may substitute pure almond extract for the pure vanilla extract called for in our recipe for Snowball Christmas Cookies. However, you only need 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pure almond extract in this recipe as this particular extract is very potent. I have never used caramel extract, so I cannot give advice on using it in this recipe. Thanks again for writing and I hope that I have answered your question. 🙂 Happy baking and happy holidays!

  27. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I am making these for my New Years Eve party. I also grew up baking these with my grandma in the 70s during the holidays. Beautiful memories. Happy New Year!

    • Thank you for writing, Cheryl! My pleasure. I’m so glad you enjoy this recipe for Snowball Christmas Cookies as much as we do in our family. Thanks for dropping by and Happy New Year!

  28. These were so delicious! (and really pretty easy to make) My kids loved them and so did all of the friends we celebrated with on New Year’s Eve. I had to make a second batch just for our family the next day, because they were so fantastic. I baked them in our taster oven so I reduced the cooking time to about 7 minutes and they were perfect. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. We decided these will be a new family tradition for Christmas/New Year’s Eve.

    • Thank you, Holly! My pleasure. I’m so glad that you, your family and guests loved these Snowball Christmas Cookies. They have been a family favorite for generations and I am thrilled to know that these special buttery-nutty shortbread cookies will be a new holiday tradition for Christmas and New Year’s Eve for your family! 🙂

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