Butter Balls are one of those classic Christmas recipes that everyone loves as a sweet treat. Whether you know them by this name, as Snowball Cookies or even as Russian Tea Cakes, they are a simple treat that looks perfect on the Christmas table.
Another great thing about butter balls is that they are simple to make and need just five ingredients. Plus they are in the oven for around 10 minutes. So even if you don’t have a lot of time, you’ll be able to create these delicious little cookies.
Are these cookies the same as Mexican Wedding Cookies?
Mexican Wedding Cookies, also known as Mexican Wedding Cakes, are very much the same as this one. What you call these cookies probably has more to do with what part of the world you’re from.
These cookies aren’t served at weddings nearly as often as they are served on holiday cookie trays.
- Vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar
- All-purpose flour
- Chopped pecans
If you aren’t a fan of pecans, you can swap them for chopped walnuts instead or even try using some chopped almonds.
How to Make Butter Balls
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Cream together the butter with the vanilla and half a cup of the powdered sugar until thoroughly mixed.
- Add the flour and the nuts, mixing until everything is combined. It may be crumbly, that’s ok, mix it in with your hands.
- Roll into 1-inch balls and pop them on the cookie sheet.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes then remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 minute.
- Move them to a wire rack and let them cool a little until they are warm, not hot.
- Put the other half a cup of sugar into a shallow bowl and gently roll the cookies in it.
- Pop them back on the rack to cool completely and then roll in the sugar again before eating.
Your cookies will not brown like other cookies, just the bottom will be brown so check them after 10 minutes.
To enhance the flavor of the pecans, toast them and let them cool before you add them to the mixture.
You can get more cookies in the batch with these as they don’t change shape so leave about a 1-inch gap around each one.
Make sure the cookies are warm but not hot when you roll them in the sugar. Otherwise, the sugar will melt and turn gummy. Then wait a short time and roll them a second time once they are completely cool. Then you get that classic look!
Help! My cookies haven’t spread!
Don’t worry, it is normal for these cookies not to spread when they are cooked. That’s why they are known as snowball cookies or pecan balls – they retain that round shape even after cooking.
Don’t worry if they don’t go brown either, that’s also part of the recipe.
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- Preheat an oven to 400°F.
- Cream together butter, vanilla, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar until completely combined.
- Add flour and nuts, stir just until it comes together.
- Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place onto a cookie sheet.
- Bake at 400°F for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 minute, then move to a wire rack.
- Allow to cookies to cool slightly. You want them warm, but not hot.
- Add remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar to a shallow bowl.
- Gently roll the cookies in the powdered sugar and place back on the wire rack to finish cooling completely.
- Roll completely cooled cookies in the powdered sugar one more time.
- The dough may be crumbly. Mix it by hand if necessary. If the dough sticks together into a ball when you squeeze the dough, it is ready to use.
- These cookies will not spread like other cookies. You can place them 1-inch apart on the cookie sheet so you can cook more at once.
- These cookies will not brown like other cookies, only the bottoms will brown.
- Roll the cookies in powdered sugar the first time while they are warm but not hot. Allow the cookies to cool for about 5 minutes before rolling. If the powdered sugar begins to melt and turn gummy, give the cookies another minute or so of cooling time.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely before rolling a second time. The second coating of sugar is what makes these cookies look like snowballs.
- You can toast the pecans first for an added layer of flavor.