★★★★★

Snowball Cookies

Swedish Heirloom Cookies are melt-in-your mouth cookies with a buttery almond flavor. They’re also known as Snowball Cookies or Mexican Wedding Cookies, depending on where you’re from!

Love these nutty cookies? Try our favorite melt in your mouth Pecan Sandies for a delicious twist.

Snowball cookies on parchment paper with powdered sugar.

Why These Cookies are Best

Growing up, my mom ALWAYS made these cookies. These are one of my favorite christmas cookie recipes!

She called them crescent cookies, because of the shape. You might know them as Swedish Heirloom Cookies, too.

When I make them for the holidays I like the name “Snowball Cookies.” The powdered sugar makes them look straight out of a winter wonderland!

  • Snowball Cookies are similar to shortbread with a crumbly, buttery taste and sweet sugary coating.
  • They’re easy to make even if you don’t have a lot of baking experience.
  • You can make them with all kinds of nuts to change up the taste.
  • Snowball Cookies stay fresh and delicious for up to a week. Perfect for gifts and holiday cookie trays!

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make snowball cookies.

Making today’s recipe is simple enough with ingredients you may already have in your pantry. Be sure to scroll down all the way to the recipe card for a complete list with exact measurements.

  • Nuts – We used ground pecans, which give the cookies a little added texture and incredible nutty flavor. Make sure to use FRESH nuts! Toast the pecans for best flavor.
  • Unsalted butter – Butter is a must for these cookies. You can use salted butter if that’s all you have; just leave out the added kosher salt in the recipe.
  • Vanilla extract – We use a full tablespoon to give the snowball cookies a rich, creamy aroma and flavor. Use our homemade vanilla extract for best results.
  • Almond extract – This blends beautifully with the vanilla to enhance the flavor of the ground nuts.
  • Powdered sugar – The fine sugar binds to the butter in the cookies for that melt-in-your-mouth crumb. You will need additional powdered sugar for rolling the baked cookies.

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make snowball cookies.

STEP 1. Grind the nuts. After toasting the nuts (if desired) place the nuts in your food processor and pulse to form coarse crumbs.

STEP 2. Make the cookie dough. Cream together the butter, powdered sugar and salt. Now beat in the remaining ingredients to form a dough.

STEP 3. Shape and bake. Use your hands to shape the dough into small balls or crescents. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the cookies are set.

STEP 4. Roll in powdered sugar. Immediately roll the warm cookies in powdered sugar. Let cool and enjoy!

Tips and Tricks

  • When shaping the dough, make them small. The smaller the better! One bite cookies are the best. I use about 1 Tablespoon of dough for each cookie, maybe a little bit less.
  • Be generous with the powdered sugar! Once they are cooled, sprinkle even more powdered sugar on them. You want the cookies to create a powdered sugar cloud that puffs into your face as you take a bite!
  • Store these cookies in an airtight container for up to one week. Feel free to add more powdered sugar just before serving!
Cookies with powdered sugar on parchment paper, and one bite taken out.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make Snowball Cookies with almonds? What about walnuts?

Yes, both almonds and walnuts are a delicious substitute for the pecans in snowball cookies! Many traditional Swedish Heirloom Cookie recipes call for black walnuts.

I don’t have almond extract. What should I use instead?

If you don’t have almond extract, substitute more vanilla extract instead. The Snowball Cookies will still taste delicious.

Why is my snowball cookie dough sticky?

The snowball cookie dough may be sticky because you did not add enough flour. Use my tips for how to measure flour to get best results from my recipes. Adding too much water would also result in a sticky dough.

How fine do I need to grind the nuts?

The nuts should be fine, but not powdery. I pulse mine about 3-4 times in a strong food processor to get the right consistency. A few larger nut pieces left are fine. It adds a fun variety of texture to the finished cookies!

Can I freeze snowball cookies?

Yes! Snowball Cookies freeze beautifully. Make sure to keep them in a freezer safe container. I recommend a container with structure and a lid, like tupperware, for storing these rather than freezer bags. The delicate cookies break easily, especially when frozen. Handle frozen cookies with care, thaw and enjoy within 3 months.

Snowball cookies stacked on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

More Easy Dessert Recipes

Yield: 60

Snowball Cookies

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 39 minutes

Swedish Heirloom Cookies melt-in-your mouth cookies with a buttery almond flavor. They're also known as Snowball Cookies or Mexican Wedding Cookies, depending on where you're from!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ cups ground pecans **
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, for coating

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, powdered sugar and salt until smooth. Add in ground pecans, flour and egg. Slowly add water, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat until combined into a dough.
  3. Shape dough into small balls and crescents, using about ½-1 Tbsp of dough. Place on cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until set.
  4. While warm, roll cookies in powdered sugar. Store in airtight container for up to one week. Add more powdered sugar, if needed, when serving.

Notes

  • Swap the pecans for walnuts or almonds for a delicious twist.
  • Be sure to start with FRESH nuts, for best flavor. Toast the pecans too!
  • When shaping the dough, make them small. The smaller the better! One bite cookies are the best. I use about 1 Tablespoon of dough for each cookie, maybe a little bit less.
  • Be generous with the powdered sugar! Once they are cooled, sprinkle even more powdered sugar on them. You want the cookies to create a powdered sugar cloud that puffs into your face as you take a bite!
  • Store these cookies in an airtight container for up to one week. Feel free to add more powdered sugar just before serving!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

60

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 79Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 38mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on May 27, 2022

Comments & Reviews

  1. Awesome mouthwatering candy. I like the recipe you share it’s easy to make and the taste of the candy is also very good. Keep sharing more delicious recipes. Thank You.

  2. My grandma was Lithauanian, we called them Russian tea cakes. I’d forgotten we’d make both shapes: crescent and balls. They were her favorite alongside Oreos that were invented about the time she was born. Thanks for sharing!

  3. These cookies hold the powdered sugar MUCH better if you wait until they cool to roll the in it. Also, rolling them 2 or3 times makes them even more fabulous. And don’t even THINK of using margarine!

  4. I have never used ground almonds in them before, but such a good idea. I usually use chopped pecans. I also have a version with orange peel.. They too are yummy.

  5. These are some of my favorite holiday cookies…I’ve been known so make the whole batch disappear. I’ve never had them in crescent form though. That makes them twice as fun! Cute video 🙂

  6. I have eaten these cookies before, but never knew what they were called. Looks delicious!

  7. Aimee, I just posted a video with the EXACT same music!!! Aaaaah. We’re so connected. But yours is definitely better. I’m learning as I go!
    And these are my favorite cookies. Love them all the time, all year. That texture can’t be beat!

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