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Snowball Cookies

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Blanketed in powdered sugar, snowball cookies make a festive addition to any cookie tray.

Snowball cookies piled on a plate.

Dusted in powdered sugar like fresh snow, snowballs are simple shortbread-like cookies made with a mixture of flour and ground nuts, giving them a slightly nutty flavor and delicate, melt-in-your-mouth texture. The cookies are popular in many parts of the world, and are known by different names depending on the region. In Mexico, they’re called polvorones or galletas de boda (which means “wedding cakes” in Spanish); in Russia, they’re known as Russian tea cakes; and in Austria, the cookies are shaped into half-moons and referred to as Viennese crescents. Despite the different names and sometimes different shapes, these cookies are all basically the same delicious treat with slight variations in the flavorings and types of nuts used.

Snowball cookies shaped like crescents piled on a plate.
Viennese Crescent Cookies

American snowball cookies are typically made with ground pecans, but this recipe calls for almond flour, which is the same thing as finely ground almonds. Unlike other nut flours, almond flour is readily available at most large supermarkets, so using it saves the step of having to grind up the nuts—and almonds add lovely flavor, especially enhanced by a few drops of fragrant almond extract. These cookies are easy to make and a festive addition to any holiday cookie tray. Just be sure to allow at least 1 hour for the dough to chill in the fridge before rolling.

“I made these cookies for a cookie exchange and they were a hit. They’re really easy to make, look cute and festive and have a nice buttery, nutty flavor.”

Kelly

What You’ll Need To Make Snowball Cookies

ingredients for snowball cookies
  • All-Purpose Flour: Provides structure to the cookies, giving them a soft and crumbly texture.
  • Almond Flour: Adds a subtle nutty flavor and helps to keep the cookies tender and moist.
  • Butter: Provides richness and flavor while contributing to the tender texture of the cookies.
  • Granulated Sugar: Sweetens the dough and helps to create a slightly crisp exterior on the cookies.
  • Vanilla Extract: Enhances the flavor with its warm and aromatic notes, adding depth to the taste.
  • Almond Extract: Adds a hint of almond flavor, complementing the other ingredients and giving the cookies a delightful aroma.
  • Confectioners’ Sugar: Coats the cookies, giving them a snowy appearance and a sweet finish.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-By-Step Instructions

In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, almond flour, and salt.

flour, almond flour and salt in bowl

Whisk to combine.

whisked dry ingredients for snowball cookies

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, combine the butter and granulated sugar.

butter and sugar in bowl

Beat on medium speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes, then beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.

beaten butter and sugar with vanilla and almond extract

Add flour mixture.

adding dry ingredients to butter mixture

Mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it’s firm enough to be easily handled.

Snowball cookie dough in a bowl.

Preheat oven to 350°F and set two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the chilled dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

snowball cookie dough balls on parchment-lined baking sheet

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, until the cookies are pale on top and lightly golden on the bottom. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

snowball cookies fresh out of the oven

Use a small fine sieve to dust the cookies all over with confectioners’ sugar. (Alternatively, you can gently roll the cookies in the confectioners’ sugar until coated.)

dusting snowball cookies with flour

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Dust the cookies again with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze snowball cookies?

Sure! The cookie dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Roll the dough into balls, let set on a baking sheet in the freezer, then place in a sealable bag and press out as much air as possible. Bake as needed directly from the freezer. (Allow 1 to 2 minutes longer in the oven.) To freeze the cookies after baking, let the cookies cool completely and store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove the cookies from the container and let them come to room temperature.

Can I make snowball cookies ahead?

Yep, snowball cookies keep nicely for up to 5 days. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature; just give them a quick dusting with confectioners’ sugar again before serving.

What is a substitute for almond extract in snowball cookies?

You can use use more vanilla extract in place of the almond extract.

Why is my dough crumbly after removing it from the refrigerator?

That can happen if the dough was chilling longer than 20 minutes. Not to worry — just knead it slightly with your hands to make it more pliable.)

Snowball cookies piled on a plate.

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Snowball Cookies

Blanketed in powdered sugar, snowball cookies make a festive addition to any cookie tray.

Servings: 46 cookies
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes, plus one hour to chill the dough

Ingredients

  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • ⅔ cup finely sifted/super-fine almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, for coating

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, and salt.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the dough is firm enough to be easily handled.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F and set two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Roll the chilled dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. (If the dough is crumbly from chilling longer than the recommended time, knead it slightly with your hands to make it more pliable.) Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, until the cookies are pale on top and lightly golden on the bottom. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When the cookies are cool, use a small fine sieve to dust the cookies all over with confectioners' sugar. (Alternatively, gently roll the cookies in the confectioners' sugar until coated.) Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Dust the cookies again with confectioners' sugar before serving.
  5. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cookie dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Roll the dough into balls, let set on a baking sheet in the freezer, then place in a sealable bag and press out as much air as possible. Bake as needed directly from the freezer. (Allow 1 to 2 minutes longer in the oven.) To freeze the cookies after baking, let the cookies cool completely and store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove the cookies from the container and let them come to room temperature. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 77
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8 g
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Sodium: 26 mg
  • Cholesterol: 11 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • This recipe came in clutch at 8pm on a school night when my middle schooler reminded me that we needed to make Mexican wedding cookies for her Spanish class the next day. Your snowballs became “wedding cookies” & they were delicious, lightening fast to make, loved the packaged fine ground almond shortcut, I even had that in the pantry! Thanks Jen!

    • — Stephanie on January 25, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made these cookies for a cookie exchange and they were a hit. They’re really easy to make, look cute and festive and have a nice buttery, nutty flavor. I will include these in my cookie exchange every year!

    • — Kelly on January 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    LOVE your recipes. I remember these as a kid, but they had walnuts. Do you think I could just grind up some walnuts instead of the almonds? Same amount?
    Thanks for your wonderful recipes.

    • — Alison on December 21, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure and it would be the same amount. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 21, 2023
      • Reply
  • SO good, they melt in your mouth!

    • — Zach on December 20, 2023
    • Reply
  • My grandmother used to make these cookies with pecans over the holidays. These reminded me of hers – delicious and lovely! 😊💗

    • — Suzanne on December 18, 2023
    • Reply
  • Surely there’s got to be more to this cookie. I must have missed something. I tried 1 cookie and threw the rest of them out.

    • — J M Cave on December 12, 2023
    • Reply
  • Crazy question. Due to blurry eyes from too much online shopping I misread recipe and used 1 2/3 cup AP flour instead of 1 3/4 cups. Dough has been chilling overnight. Should I toss and start over or does it not matter too much. I did use correct amount almond flour. Thanks!

    • — Viki on December 11, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Vikki, The cookies might be a bit flatter, but they will still be delicious. I wouldn’t throw it out! Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 11, 2023
      • Reply
      • Thanks so much! I’ll bake them today.

        • — Viki on December 12, 2023
        • Reply
  • Should these cookies be soft to the touch when they come out of the oven? Please let me know as I would like to try the recipe.

    • — Rose on December 30, 2022
    • Reply
    • I wouldn’t call them soft to the touch, but they’re definitely delicate when you first remove them from the oven.

      • — Jenn on January 4, 2023
      • Reply
  • Love your recipes! For these, though, they completely flattened out while baking. Any idea what I did wrong?? Thanks!

    • — Lisa on December 23, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sorry you had a bit of a problem with these! Did you refrigerate the dough before rolling into balls? What brand of flour did you use? I always recommend King Arthur all-purpose flour; it has a slightly higher protein content than many brands, which helps cookies hold their shape.

      • — Jenn on December 25, 2022
      • Reply
  • Yes, I made these Snowball cookies. They were so, so good. Thank you, Jennifer.

    • — Lionel on December 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • Can you use vegan butter to make these a vegan cookie?

    • — Halya on December 11, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Halya, I do think that would work. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on December 11, 2022
      • Reply
  • Can this recipe be made gluten free?
    Thanks!

    • — MNM on December 11, 2022
    • Reply
    • I haven’t tried them with gluten-free flour, but I think it should work. Please LMK how they turn out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on December 13, 2022
      • Reply
    • Is it possible to replace the fine almond flour with, for example, almond meal?
      Thank you!

      • — Laiza on December 18, 2023
      • Reply
      • Sure, that should be fine. Enjoy!

        • — Jenn on December 19, 2023
        • Reply
  • My first time making them and they are delicious. They are delicate and fall apart easily. Not sure if I did something wrong? They taste great and look lovely. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes.

    • — Ellen on December 10, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Ellen, Glad you like them! The cookies are very delicate when warm, but once cool they shouldn’t crumble.

      • — Jenn on December 11, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn — Are these soft or crunchy cookies? I make Italian amaretti which has many similar ingredients, and in fact people often want to tell me they are “wedding cakes”. Mine are soft. Thanks!

    • — Shelley Finke on December 10, 2022
    • Reply
    • They’re crunchy but tender if that makes sense — once you take a bite, it melts in your mouth. Hope you enjoy if you make them!

      • — Jenn on December 14, 2022
      • Reply
  • Can these be made gluten free?

    • — MNM on December 10, 2022
    • Reply
    • No one has commented yet that they’ve made a gluten-free version of these, but I think you could. Please LMK how they turn out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on December 12, 2022
      • Reply
  • If using almond flour as written, would it be too much flavor change to add finely chopped pecans also. I have never used almond flour so not familiar with flavoring but I have purchased some for this recipe. Looking forward to baking this!
    Thanks for your advice.

    • — Viki on December 10, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Viki, You can replace some of the almond flour with ground pecans – I think it will be delicious! Please LMK how they turn out.

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2022
      • Reply
  • If freezing the cookie dough, do you roll them in the sugar before freezing?

    • — Wanda on December 9, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Wanda, These don’t get rolled in sugar until after baking, so if freezing the raw dough balls, you don’t need to worry about the confectioners’ sugar until you defrost and bake them.

      • — Jenn on December 9, 2022
      • Reply
  • Can I use all all-purpose flour and omit the almond flour?

    • — Rosalie on December 9, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure, the cookies will taste a bit different, but they will work with all all-purpose flour. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 9, 2022
      • Reply
  • I would like to freeze the cookies after I bake them. Should I roll them in the powdered sugar, and then freeze. Or, should I not roll them in the sugar until after I take them out of the freezer.

    Thank you.

    • — Annette Buonacore on December 9, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Annette, I would roll them in sugar before freezing, and then dust them again after defrosting (before serving).

      • — Jenn on December 9, 2022
      • Reply
  • I have both your cookbooks and use recipes from your web site all the time. I have not made this recipe yet but I was so excited because you are the first person I know who also calls these cookies snowballs – just like we always did growing up. Keep your awesome recipes coming.

    • — Cheri T on December 8, 2022
    • Reply
  • My mother used to make these, or a variation thereof, and they were a favorite of mine growing up. She didn’t bake much but she devoted time to these and a persimmon pudding around the holidays. Her version omitted the almond flour and added chopped walnuts. I remember how the cookies almost melted in my mouth. Alas, we’ve misplaced her original recipe, which was probably handed down to her by her own mother or grandmother. I’ll give yours a try and see how they compare.

    • — Gordon on December 8, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen, Thanks for all your awesome recipes. I have both your cookbooks too. I want to freeze these and see from your instructions that they can be frozen either before and after baking. Which method do you think gives better results?

    • — Linda S on December 8, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Linda, So glad you enjoy the recipes! Ideally, I’d freeze them before baking.

      • — Jenn on December 8, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen, love your recipes!!
    Just wanted to let you know that in the metric section of this recipe the butter amount is doubled!

    • — Aletta Dupree on December 8, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yikes! Thank you, Aletta – it is fixed! 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 8, 2022
      • Reply

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