Italian Snowball Cookies. Butter cookies studded with toasted pecans that just melt away in your mouth. They are coated in tons of powdered sugar. Buttery & sweet and delicious in the morning with a coffee (or at night standing alone in the dark in your kitchen). These cookies are a classic Christmas cookie and one that my grand-mom, Tito made every year. They aren’t the loudest cookie in the bunch, but always the most addicting and surprising. I love to put them throughout my cookie trays and boxes!
Simple Classic Cookie Dough
I love this cookie dough. There is no chill time. There is no egg or baking soda/powder. You probably most of the ingredients right now. A butter cookie is something so special because it’s truly a cookie made of butter, flour and sugar. The taste is so melt in your mouth delicious. It just cracks and completely melts away like snow. I love them. The simple dough of a snowball is made even more flavorful with the addition of the finely chopped pecans. I chop my pecans as fine as I can get them because I really believe that when made well, you can even get a nut-hater to want more.
Cream the butter and vanilla together, add the powdered sugar to make a little fluffy butter base. Add the flour & dry ingredients and nuts. Pecans can be swapped with any other nut (I think pistachios would be amazing), but my family is deeply rooted in their traditions and I have to make them exactly like Tito made them – so pecans it is.
The thing about a super simple cookie dough: the final product is made perfect by the method and not just the ingredients.
Powdered Sugar Double Roll
Bake your cookie balls until they are puffed and lightly golden. The reason that MY snowball recipe is the best is because of my method. Everything comes down to toasting the nuts & doing the double roll. Toasting the nuts is my little twist – if there are baked goods with nuts they should be toasted first no matter what! But Tito, she would store her snowballs in a big cookie tin with tons of extra powdered sugar. Like she would coat the bottom of the tin. So we go for the double roll in her honor.
Roll your warm, freshly baked cookie ball into the powdered sugar and place them back on the baking sheet. Still warm, the powdered sugar will melt almost immediately onto the cookie and be kind of sticky wet. After rolling each cookie one time and placing them back on the baking sheet to keep warm, roll them ONE more time before placing them on the wire rack to cool. Lightly dust the parchment on your wire rack with powdered sugar so they can cool and set without sticking.
When you make these Italian snowball cookies, please let me know your thoughts. Click the starts in the recipe card to give it a rating or comment below. Or tag or message me on Instagram. I really really love hearing from you!
More Christmas Cookie Recipes? Try these!
The Best Classic Snowball Cookies
- baking sheet with parchment
- Stand Mixer
Preheat oven to 375°
- Toast & Chop Nuts: When oven is preheated, dump pecans onto a baking sheet and toast 8-10 minutes until they are fragrant and a little more golden in color. Remove from oven and let cool in a separate dish or plate. Once cooled, if needed, very finely chop/mince your pecans or pulse them 1-2 times in food processor.
- Make Dough: Dust off any nut crumbs & line your baking sheet with parchment for cookies. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter & vanilla together on medium high for about 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup + 2 tbs powdered sugar & beat on medium until smooth and fluffy. Add the flour, salt & chopped pecans. Mix on low until combined. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom & mix again for 10-20 seconds.
- Bake Cookies: Roll dough into 1 inch balls (I like to use a 1.5 tbs cookie scoop for size). Place on lined baking sheet about 1-2 inch apart. Bake about 12-15 minutes until they are puffed and lightly golden on the bottoms. Let sit for 2-3 minutes until you can lift them without breaking them.
- Roll the Snowballs: Set aside a wire rack for cooling. In a bowl or dish add about 1/2 cup or more powdered sugar. While the cookies are still warm on the baking sheet, gently cover each one into the powdered sugar patting it around and onto the cookie. Place back on baking sheet until each cookie has been rolled in the powdered sugar once. Coat each cookie one more time before placing on the wire rack to cool completely.
- Let cool completely. The powdered sugar will set & coat the entire cookie. Store in air tight container with a little extra dusted powdered sugar at the bottom so there is no sticking.
Home Cook’s Notes
- Home Cook’s Tip: you can use any kind of pecan shape (chopped, halves, whole, finely chopped). If you purchase already finely chopped pecans, note that they may toast quicker than larger pieces. Keep an eye.