Pecan Snowball Cookies or Mexican Wedding Cookies / Russian Tea Cakes, some delicious little beauties of pure indulgence coated in powdered sugar to resemble snowballs. These cookies are very popular during the festive season, but also all year round. They are rich and buttery, with a nice crunch coming from the pecans, and are so easy to make with only 5 ingredients.
Another cookie recipe that is as easy as can be. Very similar texture wise with my Butter Cookies and Scottish Shortbread, these snowball cookies are made with a few staple ingredients and are very popular all around the world.
Although they are at their most popular at Christmas, these pecan snowballs can also be enjoyed at any other time of the year. They are particularly scrumptious served with a nice hot drink like a cuppa, your favourite coffee or an indulgent hot chocolate when the chilly days are upon us.
The name snowballs comes from the fact that they are shaped into balls and coated in powdered sugar once they are out of the oven, thus their massive popularity during the festive season.
They are incredibly easy to make, do not require chilling in the fridge before baking, which means they are ready in well under 30 minutes. Now, this is what I call an easy cookie recipe!
- sugar - I used granulated sugar for the dough and icing / powdered sugar for coating the cookies, but you can use only icing sugar for both
- flour - plain every day flour works best
- butter - soften, at room temperature, I quite like using salted butter for cookies, as they get a nice kick
- pecans - roasted, finely chopped
- vanilla extract - or any other extract of your choice - almond extract would be particularly nice for this recipe
Although pecans work wonderfully well with these snowball cookies, if you make them during the festive season when there are plenty of nut selections around, you can also use mixed nuts of any kind: walnuts, cashew, Brazilian nuts and so on.
Why this recipe works
- simplicity - no fancy ingredients, only cupboard and fridge essentials that everybody has around, especially at Christmas
- it's quick - the cookies are ready in well under 30 minutes, and you get a nice batch of festive cookies that everybody will enjoy
- it's failproof - as long as you weight the ingredients well and follow the recipe step by step, I can guarantee you perfect cookies every single time
- it's utterly delicious! - and the cookies can also be offered as edible gifts at Christmas
Step-by-step photos and instructions
- in a large mixing bowl, add the soften butter and granulated sugar and use a hand mixer to cream them together ( see photo 1&2)
- sift in the flour, add the finely chopped pecans and vanilla extract, and mix everything well into a dough
- use your hands to shape dough balls the size of a golf ball, and arrange them onto a large baking tray - line it with baking paper if the tray isn't non-stick anymore
- bake in the preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) for 15-17 minutes or until the bottom of the cookies is golden
- remove them from the oven and leave them to cool down for 5 minutes
- while they are still warm, coat them with icing sugar, then leave them to cool down completely
These cookies are absolutely fantastic, and if the instructions are followed correctly, you should get perfectly baked cookies that do not spread during baking - thus enabling you to fit more cookies onto one baking tray, since there is no need for them to be spread apart much.
That is way it is crucial to weight the ingredients well before baking, as too much butter can result in cookies that are flat or do not have the dome shape. A preheated oven before popping the cookies in is essential, as this helps the cookies bake well.
Yes, the cookies freeze very well. Shape them into balls, and transfer them onto a non-stick baking paper, then freeze for 1-2 hours before placing them into a freezer bag to be used at a later date.
If the dough balls are placed into a freezer bag straight away, they will stick to each other and be badly squashed. They can then be baked from frozen, although the baking time will most likely be increased, so do keep an eye on them.
Not weighing the ingredients will upset the flour / butter balance. Too much butter will result in flat cookies that do not keep their shape.
Like any other cookies, they are best stored in an airtight container at room temperature, there is no need for them to be refrigerated.
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Pecan Snowball Cookies
- 200 g plain flour ( 1 ½ cups)
- 150 g butter, soften ( ⅔ cups)
- 50 g granulated sugar ( ½ cup)
- 60 g pecans, finely chopped ( ½ cup)
- 125 g icing sugar ( powdered or confectioners' sugar), 1 cup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit).
- In a large mixing bowl, add the soften butter and granulated sugar and use a hand mixer to cream them together.
- Sift in the flour, add the pecans and vanilla extract, and mix well to get a soft dough.
- Use your hands to shape out dough balls the size of a golf ball, then arrange them onto a large baking tray.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the bottom of the cookies is golden.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool down for 5 minutes, then coat them with powdered sugar while they are still warm.
- Once coated, leave them to cool down completely.
- These cookies are absolutely fantastic, and if the instructions are followed correctly, you should get perfectly baked cookies that do not spread during baking - thus enabling you to fit more cookies onto one baking tray, since there is no need for them to be spread apart much.
- That is way it is crucial to weight the ingredients well before baking, as too much butter can result in cookies that are flat or do not have the dome shape. A preheated oven before popping the cookies in is essential, as this helps the cookies bake well.