Holidays » Christmas, Winter Solstice, Yule » Pecan Snowball Cookies

Pecan Snowball Cookies

fb iconpinterest iconpinterest iconlinkedin iconbuffer icon

Delving into the Sweet World of Pecan Snowball Cookies

Pecan Snowball Cookies are bite-sized delights, blending buttery dough, finely chopped pecans, and a hint of vanilla. Rolled into balls, baked to golden perfection, and dusted with powdered sugar, these melt-in-your-mouth treats are a holiday classic, embodying festive warmth and nutty sweetness.

A Wholesome Introduction to Pecan Snowball Cookies

Pecan Snowball Cookies, also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies or Russian Tea Cakes, are delightful little treats that are as pleasing to the palate as they are to the eyes.

Veiled in a snowy coat of powdered sugar, these cookies are renowned for their tender and crumbly texture, which is beautifully complemented by the rich, nutty flavor of pecans.

The allure of these sweet morsels lies not only in their taste but also in their simplicity. Made with everyday pantry ingredients like flour, butter, sugar, and of course, pecans, these cookies are a testament to the magic that can be created from humble beginnings.

pecan snowball cookies in a stack for christmas

The Historical Journey of Pecan Snowball Cookies

The origin of Pecan Snowball Cookies is a tale steeped in culinary history. While their exact roots are somewhat blurred, it’s widely believed that these cookies trace back to the medieval Arab world.

Over time, they found their way into European cuisine, particularly Russian and Spanish, through trade routes and cultural exchanges.

This explains their alternative names, Russian Tea Cakes and Polvorones, the latter being the Spanish version of these cookies.

Despite the variations in names and minor differences in recipes, the essential elements remain the same – a buttery, shortbread-like cookie with ground nuts covered in a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.

mexican wedding cakes

Why Pecan Snowball Cookies Rule the Holiday Season

The popularity of Pecan Snowball Cookies during the holiday season is no coincidence. Their snowy appearance makes them a perfect fit for Christmas aesthetics, often evoking images of a winter wonderland. Moreover, their rich, buttery flavor profile resonates with the indulgent spirit of the festive season.

Besides, these cookies are easy to make in large batches, making them an excellent choice for holiday baking, gift-giving, and merry feasting.

Their long shelf life is another reason why they’re a favorite during this time – you can make them well ahead of your holiday celebrations, and they’ll still taste just as fresh and delicious.

walnut snowball cookies 3

Crafting Pecan Snowball Cookies: Ingredients and Tips

Essential Ingredients for Pecan Snowball Cookies

Creating these delightful cookies requires a simple list of ingredients:

  • Unsalted butter
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Pecans

The butter provides the rich, creamy base, while the powdered sugar adds a subtle sweetness. Vanilla extract enhances the overall flavor, and the flour forms the structure of the cookie. Salt balances the sweetness, and finally, pecans add a delightful crunch and nutty flavor.

Choosing High-Quality Pecans

For the best results, opt for fresh, high-quality pecans. They should have a uniform color and no signs of mold or spoilage. The nuts should also have a clean, crisp texture and a rich, buttery flavor. It’s best to store pecans in the refrigerator or freezer to maintain their freshness.

Accommodating Dietary Preferences and Restrictions

Pecan Snowball Cookies can be easily modified to suit various dietary needs. For a gluten-free version, substitute all-purpose flour with a gluten-free blend.

If you’re catering to a vegan diet, replace the butter with a plant-based alternative and use a vegan powdered sugar. For nut allergies, you can replace pecans with seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin for a similar crunch.

Step-by-Step Recipe

Preparing the Dough for Pecan Snowball Cookies

  1. Mixing Dry Ingredients: Start by whisking together the all-purpose flour and salt in a large bowl. This ensures an even distribution of the salt throughout the cookies.
    whisk flour and salt in a bowl
  2. Incorporating Butter and Sugar: In a separate bowl, beat the unsalted butter until it’s creamy.

    Gradually add powdered sugar, continuing to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. This creaming process helps to create the melt-in-your-mouth texture that these cookies are known for.
    how to cream butter step 3 add sugar to the butter continue beating on medium speed 3
  3. Adding Pecans and Vanilla Extract: Next, stir in finely chopped pecans and vanilla extract. The pecans add a delightful crunch, while the vanilla extract enhances the overall flavor.
    pecan snowball cookie dough just before folding in pecans
  4. Chill the Dough: Chilling the dough for Pecan Snowball Cookies is crucial for achieving the right texture. Ideally, let the dough chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 to 2 hours, or until it becomes firm.

    This allows the flavors to meld, and it makes the dough easier to handle and shape into the characteristic balls before baking.
  5. Shaping the Dough into Balls: Finally, shape the dough into small balls and place them on a baking sheet. The size of the balls will determine the final size of your cookies, so aim for consistency.

The Baking Process for Pecan Snowball Cookies

Setting the Right Oven Temperature and Preheating

For baking Pecan Snowball Cookies, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). Preheating ensures a consistent and accurate temperature throughout the baking process. This is particularly important for these cookies as it allows them to bake evenly, achieving that perfect tender crumb.

Baking Time and Indicators of Doneness

Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them towards the end of the baking time, as oven temperatures can vary. You’ll know the cookies are done when they are set, and the bottoms are lightly golden.

HINT: Remember, they won’t turn golden brown all over like some other cookies due to their high butter content and relatively short baking time.

Once out of the oven, let them cool slightly before rolling them in additional powdered sugar. The residual heat will help the sugar adhere, giving them their characteristic “snowy” look.

pecan snowball cookies getting dusted with powdered sugar

Tips for Success with Pecan Snowball Cookies

The Importance of Chilling the Dough

Chilling the dough is a crucial step when making Pecan Snowball Cookies. It helps to solidify the fats in the dough, preventing the cookies from spreading too much during baking. Additionally, chilling enhances the flavors and produces a more tender and flaky texture. Aim to chill your dough for at least 2 hours before baking.

Proper Storage Techniques for Freshness

To maintain the freshness of your Pecan Snowball Cookies, store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They can last for up to two weeks, making them perfect for preparing ahead of the holiday season.

For longer storage, you can freeze them. In the freezer, these cookies can last for up to three months. Just make sure to thaw them at room temperature before serving.

Creative Variations and Add-Ins for a Unique Twist

While traditional Pecan Snowball Cookies are delightful on their own, don’t hesitate to get creative with some variations or add-ins. Consider incorporating spices like cinnamon or nutmeg for a festive twist. You can also try adding chocolate chips or drizzling the cookies with melted chocolate for a sweet surprise.

pecan snowball cookies on cutting board

Presentation and Serving of Pecan Snowball Cookies

Decorating Options for a Festive Touch

While Pecan Snowball Cookies are typically dusted with powdered sugar, you can add a festive touch by sprinkling them with colored sugar or edible glitter. Another option is to use festive cookie stamps before baking to imprint holiday designs.

Serving Suggestions and Pairings with Beverages

Pecan Snowball Cookies pair wonderfully with a variety of beverages. Their rich, buttery flavor complements the boldness of coffee, the warmth of hot chocolate, or the creaminess of eggnog. Arrange them on a decorative platter for a beautiful presentation.

Packaging Ideas for Gifting

If you’re planning to gift these delicious cookies, consider packaging them in a holiday-themed cookie tin or a mason jar tied with a festive ribbon. You could also place them in clear cellophane bags and add a personalized gift tag for a thoughtful touch.

pecan snowball cookies in flour sack gift bag for christmas

Troubleshooting Pecan Snowball Cookies

Common Issues and How to Avoid Them

When making Pecan Snowball Cookies, a few common issues can arise.

Spreading: If your cookies are spreading too much during baking, it’s likely that your dough wasn’t chilled long enough. As mentioned earlier, chilling the dough is crucial to prevent spreading and achieve that perfect round shape.

Not holding shape: If your cookies aren’t holding their shape, you might have added too many pecans. While pecans give these cookies their signature flavor, adding too much can interfere with the structure of the cookies. Stick to the recommended amount in the recipe.

Too sweet: These cookies are meant to be sweet, but if they’re overly so, you’ve probably rolled them in too much powdered sugar. A light coating should suffice.

walnut snowball cookies 2

Solutions for Cookies That Are Too Dry, Too Crumbly, or Too Soft

Too Dry: If your cookies are turning out too dry, you may be over-baking them. Keep an eye on the cookies towards the end of the baking time, and remember that they will continue to cook slightly as they cool.

Too Crumbly: Cookies that are too crumbly often result from not enough fat (butter) in the mixture. Ensure you’re using the correct amount as per the recipe. Also, make sure to cream the butter and sugar properly to create a smooth, unified dough.

Too Soft: If your cookies are too soft, it could be due to under-baking. Make sure to bake them until they are set, and the bottoms are lightly golden.

Personalizing Your Pecan Snowball Cookies

Adding Your Own Flair to the Recipe

Baking is a wonderful way to express your creativity, especially when it comes to Pecan Snowball Cookies. Don’t be afraid to put your own spin on the recipe. Maybe you’d like to add a pinch of your favorite spice for extra warmth, or perhaps you’d prefer to use walnuts or almonds instead of pecans. Remember, the best recipes are those that reflect your personal tastes and preferences.

Pecan Snowball Cookies hold a special place in my heart. As a child, I remember helping my grandmother make these cookies every holiday season. I was always in charge of rolling the dough into balls and coating them in powdered sugar – my favorite part! To this day, the smell of these cookies baking immediately transports me back to those cherished moments in my grandmother’s kitchen.

I would love to hear how you make these Pecan Snowball Cookies your own. Do you have a favorite variation or a secret ingredient that takes these cookies to the next level? Please feel free to share in the comments below. Let’s continue the tradition of sharing and celebrating our unique baking experiences!

Pecan Snowball Cookies Recipe Print Now

pecan snowball cookies in a stack for christmas 2
cropped b101 header logo

Award-Winning Pecan Snowball Cookies by Melissa 'Liss' Burnell
Indulge in award-winning Pecan Snowball Cookies, featuring a buttery blend of pecans and vanilla, crowned with a double dusting of powdered sugar for a melt-in-your-mouth holiday delight.
Add to Collection
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 34 minutes
Course cookies, Dessert
Cuisine Mexican, Russian, Turkish
Servings 36
Calories 96 kcal




  • Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C).
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
    1 cup unsalted butter
    ½ cup powdered sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt.
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing until well combined.
  • Fold in chopped pecans.
    1 cup pecans
  • Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place them on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden.
  • Allow the cookies to cool slightly, then roll them in powdered sugar while still warm.
  • Once fully cooled, roll them in powdered sugar again for a snowy finish.
  • Enjoy these melt-in-your-mouth Pecan Snowball Cookies, a true winner in every holiday baking competition!
Recipe Size Alteration Note

If you altered the ingedients above by doubling or tripling the recipe, you may also need to change the pan/dish size and adjust the cooking/baking time.


Serving: 2gCalories: 96kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 1gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 17mgPotassium: 20mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 159IUVitamin C: 0.03mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 0.4mgNet Carbs: 7g
Tried this recipe?Mention @Budget101com or tag #Budget101com!


In this post, we’ve explored the art of baking perfect Pecan Snowball Cookies. We’ve discussed the importance of chilling the dough to achieve the right texture and prevent the cookies from spreading too much. We’ve also covered proper storage techniques to maintain freshness, as well as some creative variations and add-ins to put a unique spin on the traditional recipe.

Moreover, we’ve addressed common issues that may arise during baking and offered solutions for cookies that are too dry, too crumbly, or too soft. We’ve also emphasized the joy of personalizing the recipe and shared some fond memories related to these delightful cookies.

Baking Pecan Snowball Cookies is more than just a holiday tradition; it’s an opportunity to create lasting memories and share the warmth of the season with loved ones. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or trying this recipe for the first time, I encourage you to embrace the process and add your own flair to these cookies.

I hope you’ll try baking these Pecan Snowball Cookies and share your experiences. I look forward to hearing about your favorite variations and how you’ve made this recipe your own. Remember, the magic of baking lies in sharing the joy and love that goes into each batch of cookies. Happy baking!

View More Holiday Ideas

View More Christmas & Yule Ideas

View More Recipes

Leave a Comment