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Almond Snowball Cookies

These quick and easy Almond Snowball Cookies – buttery shortbread cookies filled with finely chopped almonds and rolled in powdered sugar – are melt-in-your-mouth delicious and perfect for the winter and holiday season!

It’s time for all the holiday and Christmas cookie baking, and I’ll be sharing two of my favorites with you this week. First up are these festive classic snowball cookies!

There’s just 6 simple ingredients (and nope, nothing’s missing…these cookies are a little different in that there are no eggs and no leavening agents like baking powder or baking soda), and they’ll be ready to enjoy in just under an hour.

And you make the dough in one bowl by hand, so hooray for not having to lug out the mixer!

You may have heard these cookies called by a different name…Russian tea cakes, Swedish tea cakes, Mexican wedding cookies, Italian wedding cookies, and butter balls, just to name a few. But to me, they’ll always be snowball cookies because that’s exactly what they look like!

And also because I seem to only ever make them as a holiday cookie during the snowy month of December…and I don’t know why, because they would be fantastic any time of the year!

They’re so good that I don’t even mind that there’s nuts in them (cookies with nuts are not usually my favorite – even though I actually love nuts).

Most often, snowball cookies are made with pecans, but I’m a huge fan of almonds, so that’s my nut of choice. I also add a splash of almond extract to really kick up the almond flavor.

The cookie itself is just a little crumbly (but in a very good way) and not overly sweet on its own…but that’s because it’s rolled in powder sugar twice (and then sprinkled with just a little more), which makes for one amazing, perfectly balanced bite!

almond snowball cookies in a single layer on a plate

Ingredients you need:

  • Powdered sugar
  • Butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • Almond extract
  • Finely chopped almonds (See Note Below)
  • All-purpose flour

Note: I chop up slivered almonds because they don’t have the brown skin on them, and I prefer not to have to brown specks in my cookies. But you can also use whole or sliced almonds. Just make sure they are plain and not salted or flavored in any other way.

Here’s a look at how to make Almond Snowball Cookies:

Note: This is just a quick overview of the steps. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe with detailed instructions.

2 images; one a graphic of an oven with text that says preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit; the other of butter and other ingredients being mixed in a bowl with a wooden spoon with text that says mix powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and almond extracts, and almonds til well-combined
2 images; one of flour added to the butter mixture in the bowl with text that says add the flour; the other of the dough coming together in the bowl with a wooden spoon with text that says mix until there is no dry flour and the dough starts to clump together
2 images; one of a hand shaping the dough into a ball in the bowl with text that says use your hands to bring the dough together into a ball; the other of a hand holding a small ball of dough with text that says shape the dough into one-inch balls
2 images; one of the dough balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet with text that says place the balls one inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet; the other a graphic of an oven with text that says 325 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until...
2 images; one of the baked cookies on the baking sheet with one turned over so you can see the golden brown bottom with text that says cookies are set and bottoms are lightly golden brown; the other of the baked cookies on wire racks with text that says place cookies on wire racks, allow to cool for 5 minutes
2 images; one of a cookie being rolled in a bowl of powdered sugar with text that says while still warm, roll in powdered sugar; the other of the cookies coated in sugar on wire racks with text that says place cookies on wire racks, allow to cool completely
2 images; one of a cookies being rolled in a bowl of sugar with a spoon with text that says roll the cookies in powdered sugar again; the other of the finished cookies on a wire rack being sprinkled with powdered sugar from a fines mesh sieve with text that says sprinkle any remaining sugar over cookies (optional), enjoy

Tips & Tidbits:

  • Finely chop the almonds, but don’t grind them into a super-fine, flour-like consistency. You still want some texture in your cookies. I chop mine like this:
chopped almonds in a bowl with butter and powdered sugar
  • Because it’s a relatively small amount, I chop the almonds by hand by placing them in a plastic bag and crushing them with a rolling pin. You could also chop them with a knife or chop them in a food processor.
  • Bake the cookies on a light-colored baking sheet on the center rack of the oven to prevent the bottoms from becoming too dark and the cookies being overbaked.
  • Not into almonds? Use pecans, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, or your favorite nut instead (except for peanuts…they don’t work in this recipe), omit the almond extract, and increase the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon.
  • This makes 2 dozen cookies. The recipe is easily doubled for a larger batch.
  • Store the cookies in an airtight container, putting a piece of wax paper or parchment paper in between layers, for 2 to 3 days. Freeze for longer storage.
  • To freeze: place in an airtight freezer-safe container with wax or parchment paper between each layer. For best quality, enjoy within 2 months. When thawing, if the cookies are stacked in the freezer container, place them in a single layer on a plate to thaw. Sprinkle with more powdered sugar, if needed, once they are thawed.
almond snowball cookies piled on a plate with one cookie cut in half so you can see the inside

Enjoy your snowball cookies with a cup of tea or coffee, a glass of milk, or some eggnog. And don’t forget that they’re great for giving too!

I hope you try this Almond Snowball Cookies recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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almond snowball cookies piled on a plate

Almond Snowball Cookies

These quick and easy Almond Snowball Cookies – buttery shortbread cookies filled with finely chopped almonds and rolled in powdered sugar – are melt-in-your-mouth delicious and perfect for the winter and holiday season!
5 from 1 vote
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Cooling Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 2 dozen cookies
Estimated Calories: 80

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup powdered sugar, divided
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Line a large light-colored baking sheet with parchment paper.
    Note: A light-colored baking sheet will help prevent the cookies from overbaking and getting too brown on the bottom. The parchment paper is optional. It helps ensure the cookies won't stick to the pan. If you don't have any parchment, you can just put the cookie dough right on the pan.
  • In a large bowl, mix ¼ cup of the powdered sugar, the butter, vanilla extract, almond extract, and almonds until well-combined.
  • Add the flour; mix until there is no dry flour left and the dough starts to clump together, then use your hands to bring the dough together into a ball.
  • Shape the dough into 24 one-inch balls and place them one inch apart on the baking sheet
    Note: I use a slightly heaping measuring teaspoon to get the right amount of dough.
  • Bake on the center rack of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until set and the bottoms are lightly golden brown (the tops should have no color).
  • Immediately remove the cookies from the pan to a wire rack; cool 5 minutes.
  • Place the remaining ½ cup powdered sugar in a small bowl. While the cookies are still warm, roll them in the powdered sugar until completely coated and place them back on the wire racks to cool completely. Set aside the powdered sugar.
  • Once the cookies have cooled, roll them in the powdered sugar again.
    Note: If there is powdered sugar left when you are finished, you can either discard it or use a fine mesh sieve to sift it over the cookies like snow (which is what I do).

Notes

  • I chop slivered almonds because they don’t have the brown skin on them, and I prefer not to have to brown specks in my cookies. But you can also use whole or sliced almonds. Just be sure they are plain and not salted or flavored in any way.
  • Finely chop the almonds, but don’t grind them into a super-fine, flour-like consistency. You still want some texture in your cookies. I do this by placing the almonds in a plastic bag and crushing them with a rolling pin. You could also chop them with a knife or use a food processor.
  • Store the cookies in an airtight container, putting a piece of wax paper or parchment paper in between layers, for 2 to 3 days. Freeze for longer storage.
  • To freeze: place in an airtight freezer-safe container with wax or parchment paper between each layer. For best quality, enjoy within 2 months. When thawing, if the cookies are stacked in the freezer container, place them in a single layer on a plate to thaw. Sprinkle with more powdered sugar, if needed, once they are thawed.
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Share it on Instagram, tag @nowcookthis and use the hashtag #nowcookthisrecipes. Thanks!

Recipe adapted from The Pillsbury Cookbook.

Recipe Rating




Michelle James

Wednesday 8th of December 2021

Love these for Christmas, thank you for reminding me! We always made them with pecans and called them Pecan Balls. Happy Holidays!

Michelle

Wednesday 8th of December 2021

Thanks, Michelle! Glad to remind you of these cookies...I'll need to add pecan balls to the list of names! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours!