Snowball Cookies

by Sara Lilian



These cookies are the #1 cookie in my family and have been for generations. We referred to them as either Snowball cookies or Russian Tea Cakes. I remember being very young and my sister and I helping our mom with baking. Every time, she and I were covered in confectioners’ sugar and waiting impatiently for the Snowball cookies to be cooled enough to eat.

Buttery, nutty, delicate, and perfectly sweet, there was no way to resist grabbing one or hiding the fact you ate a Snowball because you had confectioners’ sugar on your clothes, guaranteed! These are my daughter’s absolute favorite cookie, so I find myself making them during the year and not just the holidays. I am not complaining!

Enjoy – these will make your heart happy!


1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (real butter is essential for this cookie)
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts (I always use pecans) – toasted is optional


Preheat oven to 375°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, a silicone baking mat, or butter the pan.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar together until smooth.

Add the vanilla extract and mix until smooth.

Add the flour and salt and mix on low speed just until the dough comes together. The dough will be thick and crumbly, but it will come together.

Stir in the chopped nuts.

Scoop tablespoon sized balls of dough and shape into a ball. Do this for all the dough.

Place dough balls in a container and refrigerate for about 1 hour, then place on the prepared cookie sheet 1-2 inches apart. (I do not always chill the dough but doing so does help the cookies hold the ball shape.)

Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until the bottoms are just lightly brown and the cookie is just set.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes, until you can handle them without burning fingers.

Put the remaining 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar to a small bowl and roll each warm cookie in it until well coated.

Place each cookie on the cooling rack after rolling. The sugar will melt a little bit.

Allow the cookies to cool completely, then re-roll in confectioners’ sugar.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week. (They may not last long!)

• Measure the flour and confectioners’ sugar carefully or the cookies will be dry and crumble easier.

• Chop the nuts small – the cookies will bind better

• You can use a cookie scoop to keep the cookies uniform in size and 1 Tbsp. each. I do not use one, but I have wanted to try out cookie scoops!

• As much of a purist I am regarding this particular cookie, I understand that some people cannot have nuts, and some do not like them. Following are options if you are leaving out nuts.

1. Skip them and leave them plain
2. Use mini chocolate chips
3. Use toffee bits

• You can freeze these cookies or make them up to 4 days ahead of serving.

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