Pecan Snowball Cookies Overview
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Techniques Used: How to Toast Pecans
Pecan snowball cookies are one of the easiest holiday cookies you can make! The cookie dough calls for only 6 simple ingredients and is very similar to a classic shortbread cookie!
These cookies are also sometimes known as Mexican wedding cookies. The texture is crisp and slightly crumbly and the cookies are incredibly buttery in flavor. I also toast the pecans before adding them to the cookies which really elevates the flavor!
Tips for Pecan Snowball Success
- It is extremely important that you measure your powdered sugar and flour accurately. To do this, fluff it up and then lightly spoon it into your measuring cups without packing it down at all. Then level it off.
- Pull the snowballs out of the oven when the tops are set and the bottoms are very lightly browned. The tops of the cookies will not really brown.
- Tossing the snowball cookies in powdered sugar twice is key. Toss them once while still warm so that the powdered sugar starts to kind of seep into the cookie. Then a second time once cooled!
How to Make Pecan Snowball Cookies
I love how easy these cookies are to make. The require 5 very simple ingredients: butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, flour, salt, and pecans.
Toast Pecans (*Optional)
Toasting the pecans is an optional step for the snowballs. I think it really elevates the flavor and is what differentiates this particular recipe from the rest! If you aren’t pressed for time, don’t skip this step!
Place the pecans in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Stir for several minutes until the nuts are very fragrant and nutty smelling.
After you toast the pecans you can either chop them very finely with a knife or I prefer to put them into a food processor. Pulse until they are very finely chopped.
Step 1: Cream Butter and Powdered Sugar
We’re going to start by creaming together the butter with the powdered sugar and the vanilla extract. It is important that the butter is at room temperature so that it can easily be creamed.
Step 2: Mix in Dry Ingredients
After the butter and sugar are creamed, you can mix in the flour and salt followed by the chopped toasted pecans. You don’t want to mix too much at this point or your cookies can become too dry and tough.
Step 3: Shape and Bake
Use a small scoop or spoon to portion out the cookie dough. I like to use a small cookie scoop that is about one tablespoon in size. These cookies are meant to be about two bites each.
Next, roll the cookies between your palms to form into balls and place on a sheet tray to bake. The cookies won’t really spread out so you can put up to 20 on one baking sheet.
Step 4: Roll in Powdered Sugar Twice
You want to roll the cookies in powdered sugar twice. Roll them once when they are still warm and then again when they have cooled. This will ensure they are well coated in the powdered sugar.
These pecan snowballs are such a simple cookie to add to the lineup of holiday cookies, but they are such a hit! Add them into your cookie tin or place a few in a clear treat bag with a pretty bow for a small gift.
- 3/4 cup (100 gr) very finely chopped pecans (*toasted, optional but highly recommended)
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 226 gr) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup (80 gr) powdered sugar (measured by fluffing up and lightly spooning into measuring cups without packing down and leveling off)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 1/4 cups (280 gr) all-purpose flour (measured by fluffing up and lightly spooning into measuring cups without packing down and leveling off)
- Toasting the pecans is optional, but highly recommended. It really brings out the flavors of the pecans. Place them in a dry pan over medium-low heat. Stir frequently until they smell fragrant and nutty. This will take about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl to cool while you prepare the dough.
- Finely chop the pecans with a knife or place in a food processor and pulse a few times until very finely chopped.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (170 C). Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter with the powdered sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. About 90 seconds on medium-high speed.
- Add the salt and flour into the mixing bowl and mix until just incorporated. This should only take about 45 seconds of mixing. Do not over-mix. Add the cooled toasted pecans to the bowl and mix until just incorporated.
- Use a small cookie scoop or spoon to scoop out the cookie dough, about 1 TBSP each. Roll into balls and place on the parchment lined baking sheets. The cookies will not spread much so you can put up to 20 cookies per sheet pan.
- Bake one sheet pan at a time at 350 F (170 C) for 12-15 minutes until the cookies are lightly browned on the bottoms and are set. The tops will not brown much.
- Allow to cool for about 2 minutes on the baking sheets then roll in powdered sugar while still warm. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cooled, roll in powdered sugar again.
- Store cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
*Recipe adapted from Land O Lakes
*If you would like to prep the dough ahead and bake later, make the cookies all the way up to step 5. Place the raw shaped cookie dough balls in the freezer until solid. Transfer to a freezer ziplock bag for up to 3 months. When you are ready to bake, transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Then bake as directed.