Snowballs (Mexican Wedding Cakes)

I grew up calling these cookies “Snowballs” but you may know them by a few other names including “Mexican Wedding Cakes”,  “Russian Tea Cakes” and “Butterballs”.  These melt-in-your-mouth, shortbread like cookies are one of my favorite holiday cookie recipes.


Makes about 36 cookies


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 cups confetioner’s sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup walnuts, pecans or almonds, toasted and coarsly chopped


In a standing mixer with paddle attachment or a hand held mixer, beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy- about 3 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of the confectioner’s sugar, the salt, and vanilla extract and mix until combined.

Turn mixer to low and slowly add the flour, followed by the nuts.  Mix until all ingredients are combined.  Do not overmix.

Divide dough into 2 disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 2 days.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Working with half of the chilled dough, pinch off a piece of dough – about 1 Tablespoon- and roll between your hands into balls.  Place balls on parchment lined baking sheets, 1 inch apart, and bake for about 18-20 minutes just until bottoms are light golden brown.  Lift one cookie up to check for doneness.

Remove cookies from oven and cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes.

Place the remaining confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl and drop warm cookies in one at a time and roll until completely covered with powdered sugar.

Cookies will keep at room temperature for about 2-3 days but can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for about 2 months.  Re-sugar cookies before serving.

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