Most people are pretty familiar with the snowball cookie/Russian tea cake/Mexican wedding cookies. They're a new holiday favorite of mine, and the basic recipe is a Betty Crocker Cookbook classic. What makes them great is how simple they are - just five ingredients, six if you want to add the traditional nuts. Growing up I didn't appreciate them because they seem like a dry, crumbly cookie at first, but now I appreciate how the butter and powdered sugar allow them to actually melt in your mouth. They're savory and sweet.
This article was originally published in December 2010! It has been revamped for 2013.
While baking with my toddler today, I thought - wouldn't it be fun to add new elements to these? Because the cookies are rolled in sugar twice, it would be easy to add a variety of different flavors to different cookies of the same batch. Each of the following variations on this recipe involves only adding the new ingredient to the final sugar-rolling stage. Want to make multiple flavors in the same batch? Just use different bowls for the final rolling process!
- 1 cup softened butter
- 1/2 cup powdered (confectioner's) sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans are popular)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- extra powdered sugar for rolling cookies
Roll dough into balls. On an ungreased cookie sheet, place dough balls about an inch apart. Place in an oven preheated to 450 degrees F, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
Cool the cookies enough that you can pick them up. Roll them in powdered sugar. Cool again, roll in powdered sugar again, and you're done!
Now, on to those variations:
Grate some orange zest, and combine with a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg with powdered sugar for the end rolling process.
Using a kitchen mallet or butter knife handle, crush a candy cane in a plastic baggie. Add crushed pieces to the confectioner's sugar for rolling cookies.
Mix 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and ginger to the powdered sugar for rolling the cookies.
Add glitz and glitter to your "Snowball Cookies"! Add chunky white or silver sprinkles to the rolling sugar.
Which of these variations would you try? Have you tried any other variations in the past?