This is the very best easy pecan snowball cookie recipe right here! The cookies are light and buttery and simple to make. They’ll become one of your favorite holiday cookies, if they aren’t already.
More than just a Christmas cookie
You may know these as Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Snowball Cookies, Pecan Snowball Cookies, or Snowdrop Cookies, but they’re all about the same butter-based, nutty, powdered sugary little cookies or little-balls-of-pecan-yumminess as I like to call them.
This recipe is so simple, you’ll want to make them all year round (*cough, cough* like me).
Let’s make the cookies!
Start by creaming the butter, sea salt, and powdered sugar until the powdered sugar is well incorporated and a dough forms.
Add the flour and stir until a crumbly dough forms. Pour in the the water and the vanilla extract and mix until the dough becomes nice and smooth.
Finally, fold in the chopped pecans, scoop the cookies out, and place them on a lined cookie sheet to bake. No need to roll these with your hands, unless you really want to. Just scoop ’em and plop ’em.
After about 20 minutes in the oven at 325 degrees, the cookies will be barely brown on the bottom and ready to cool. Once they’re completely cool, a quick roll in some powdered sugar will finish them off!
Things to remember when making this easy pecan snowball cookie recipe
- This is a small-batch recipe, so you won’t have an excess of cookies to consume (unless, of course you want to – then see #2).
- You can easily double the recipe to make an even 3 dozen cookies.
- There is no rolling ‘required’ for this recipe – just mix, scoop, and bake. However, if you want your cookies to be perfectly round, you can always hand roll them prior to baking them aka the old-fashioned way.
- You can add more powdered sugar to the dough, up to 1/2 cup to make the cookies sweeter, but this will also make them more dry and crumbly.
- The cookies need to be completely cool before rolling them in powdered sugar or the powdered sugar will melt and become sticky.
On a personal note…
Let me wrap up this post with a little story about these cookies, because it’s a special one – in honor of my Dad ❤️.
Pecan snowballs were always his very favorite Christmas cookie. He could eat a whole batch on his own (yes, all 18!). And because of that, he was very protective of these cookies when they were around.
I clearly remember the look on his face when I’d go to grab one from the paper plate on the kitchen counter that was covered in wrinkled up, tattered tin foil (because he’d been in and out of them a zillion times already). It was a look like, “hey Tine, are you sure you want to do that?” with a hint of a smile on the corners of his lips.
My response was always “yep, Dad, I’m sure!” I’d grab a cookie, maybe even two; one in each hand, and watch him shake his head in disbelief that I, his precious daughter, would steal his Christmas cookies! Chomp, chomp, chomp! I loved it.
It was a running joke in our family that my mom made them ‘just’ for him, but the funny thing was, I would eat just as many as him! It was good times.
So there you go, this is the pecan snowball cookie recipe that has been around my family as long as I can remember. They’re truly the best.
Easy Pecan Snowball Cookie Recipe
- 1/2 cup butter, unsalted
- 3 heaping TBS of powdered sugar (more for rolling)
- 1 cups flour
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp water
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, cream butter, salt, and powdered sugar.1/2 cup butter, unsalted, 3 heaping TBS of powdered sugar (more for rolling), 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Add flour and mix until crumbly.1 cups flour
- Pour in vanilla and water and stir until smooth.1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp water
- Fold in pecans.1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- Using a 1.5 TBS cookie scoop, scoop dough and roll into balls and place them on a prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating halfway through.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.
- When cookie are cool, roll cookies in powdered sugar.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze.