These Mexican Wedding Cookies (also known as Snowball Cookies or Russian Tea Cakes) are buttery, melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Pecan cookies with a hint of cinnamon, dusted with powdered sugar.
“I bet I could eat 20 of those in one sitting” Ryan said to me after he tried one of these. LOL. I’m not about to take that bet for a couple reasons:
- The inevitable complaints about stomach aches later on.
- Fewer cookies for me.
Seriously though, these cookies are SO delicious. They literally melt in your mouth! We’ve made two batches of these cookies already (some for giving away) and I foresee another batch before the holiday season is over.
I bought a Costco size bag of pecans a few weeks ago to use for my Turtles Cookie Cups from last week. I didn’t need such a large bag, but I knew I’d need at least two small ones if I got them at the grocery store and the cost would be almost the same, so I figured I may as well get the big bag (plus it saved me a trip). Issue is, what to do with the excess pecans??
I could have whipped up my Pecan Pie Cake, but I didn’t have an occasion for it (it was Thanksgiving here last month) and I felt like it would be good to add some cookies to the menu, especially with the holidays coming and all, so these Snowball Cookies had to happen!
What are Mexican Wedding Cookies?
Mexican Wedding Cookies (also known as Snowball Cookies, or Russian Tea Cakes, among other names depending on where you’re from) are very simple and delicious cookies. The basic recipe consists of very few ingredients:
- powdered sugar
- ground nuts
Mexican wedding cookies traditionally use pecans, but you can make the cookies with walnuts or almonds, or even hazelnuts or pistachios if you like.
After baking, you roll the warm cookies in powdered sugar which gives them the snowball-like effect.
How to make Mexican Wedding Cookies
The process to make these cookies is very simple:
- cream butter and powdered sugar
- add dry ingredients
- add nuts
- roll into balls
Rather than using coarsely chopped nuts, I chose to pulse mine in a food processor until they were very fine and almost the consistency of almond flour. You can see them in the small bowl in the photos.
I added a bit of cinnamon to the cookies as well, as I thought it would go well with the pecans and add a bit more flavor. The cinnamon wasn’t very strong, just a nice hint. You could increase the cinnamon to 1 tsp if you’d like a stronger flavor.
I chilled the cookie dough before portioning and rolling into balls, and then again before baking them. I wanted to make sure the cookies didn’t spread too much, and chilling them helps with that. Chilling the dough before rolling them also made them less sticky and easier to handle.
I used a small cookie scoop to portion the dough. This worked out to be about 2 tsp of dough, or 15g if you have a scale. The rolled cookie dough balls will be about 1″ wide.
I used silicone mat lined baking sheets, but parchment would work well too. You can crowd the sheets since the cookies are small and don’t spread a lot — I did 18 cookies per sheet.
Baking time will vary slightly depending on how many cookies you bake at a time. You want to bake them until the bottoms just start to turn golden. You don’t want the actual cookies themselves turning golden though.
Once baked, cool on the baking sheet for 5mins, then roll in powdered sugar. Once the cookies are completely cool, roll in powdered sugar again.
You can store these Mexican Wedding Cookies in an airtight container at room temp for a couple weeks, or freeze them for a couple months. You may need (or want) to toss them in powdered sugar again if they’ve been frozen or sitting for a bit. Just depends on how pretty you want them to look!
I still have pecans left over from that giant Costco bag. I think the remainder is destined to become candied pecans for snacking on during the holidays.
These snowball cookies are perfect for the holidays. Easy, versatile, and delicious. What more do you need??
Looking for more Holiday Cookie Recipes?
- Dark Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
- Chocolate Dipped Gingerbread Cookies
- Stained Glass Cookies
- White Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
- Eggnog Cookies With Rum Sugar Glaze
Tips for making these Snowball Cookies
- You can use different nuts if you prefer — almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts will all work well.
- I used a food processor to make sure my pecans were very fine, but you can chop them instead.
- I added a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon to the dough. You can skip this if you like, or increase it to 1 tsp for a stronger flavor.
- I used a small cookie scoop to portion the dough. This is about 2 tsp of dough, or 15g if you have a scale. The rolled cookies will be about 1″ wide before baking.
- The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temp for a couple weeks, or frozen for a couple months. You may need (or want) to toss them in powdered sugar again if they’ve been frozen or sitting for a bit.
- You can also freeze the cookie dough balls and bake at a later date.
Mexican Wedding Cookies (Snowball Cookies)
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon optional
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans 115g
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar for rolling
- Toast pecans in a 350°F oven for 5-10 mins or until fragrant. Cool completely. Pulse in a food processor until finely ground. Measure out 1 cup (115g), and set aside.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. Set aside.
- Whisk flour, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Cream butter and powdered sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
- Add flour mixture and mix until combined. Add finely chopped pecans, and mix on low until combined.
- Chill cookie dough for 30mins or until firm enough to roll into balls.
- Portion cookie dough using a small cookie scoop (2tsp, 15g) and roll into balls (about 1" wide). Place on baking sheet and chill for 15mins.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake cookies (I did 15 per sheet) for 15-17 minutes or just until the bottoms are golden. Do not over bake.
- Cool cookies on sheet for 5mins, toss in powdered sugar and place on a cooling rack. Once cookies have cooled completely, toss in powdered sugar again.
- Store at room temperature in an airtight container for a couple weeks or freeze for 1-2 months. You may need to toss in powdered sugar again once thawed.
Originally published on Nov 25, 2019
Hi, if I am using almond meal(store bought) do I have to roast before making cookies???
Hi Rekha! You can if you like but it’s not necessary. I’ve only roasted nuts, not nut flour.
Rekha Praween says
Thank you so much 😊
Hmmm… these bad boys have so many aliases and show up on so many most wanted lists. These are just about the only cookies that I could have and it’s due to the limited sugar in them.
Last year I made them for my cousin to take a cookie swap. I looked at the recipe and thought we’ll what the heck, with the four ingredients. So true to form, without ever trying the recipe as written, I added ginger and cardamom and renamed it to “spiced ginger snowball cookies “. I didn’t roll the second time in the powered sugar but rather sprinkled the sugar on for presentation purposes- my aversion to sugar is getting worse each year 😏 so much so that I swear I went into a sugar coma about a month ago…but I digress. Back to these infamous cookies. I piled them to create a Christmas tree and I made a few different sizes that I used to make snowmen out of. Of course she won the grand prize at the party. No such happenings this year with the COVID but I had planned on making the stained glass ones so “we” would be crowned repeat champions. I do not go to that cookie swap party with her or on my own for that matter because I couldn’t fathom coming home with all those cookies- that could be the aversion speaking. Anyway, I’m on my way to a vacation rental home for the next two weeks and while there, I plan to make those stained glass cookies. I’ve been wanting to do it since COVID started but never got around to it. Now I finally have the cookie cutters and time on my hands. Let the madness begin. Happy holidays to one and all.
p.s. I think the almond combo you suggested would be awesome.
Hi Keishia! So nice to hear from you again! I am glad you love these cookies and I’m going to have to try your ginger cardamom version. Yum. Hope you have a wonderful holiday season! xo
Oh these look heavenly! Quick question about serving size… How many does this recipe make? I noticed it says 45 at the top of the recipe, but it looks like 30 in the instructions. Just wondering because I’m hosting a bridal shower for about 18 people and trying to figure out if I can half this or just have a few extra. 🙂
Hi Amanda! The recipe makes 45. I use two baking sheets and swap them, but if you have 3 that would be easier!
Do u normally measure by weight or volume??
Hi Mehadhiya! I usually go by volume, but for certain things (like the pecans in this recipe), I weigh them out too to make sure the number is accurate.
I LOVE this kind of cookie! And I’m so amused by all the names people have for these; Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cookies, snowball cookies, butterballs…they’re just such fun cookies! My family loves the cinnamon snowball recipe from Sally’s Cookie Addiction, a cookbook by Sally of Sally’s Baking Addiction. They’re so delicious! I haven’t tried them with walnuts yet, and I think the combination sounds amazing! 🙂
SO many names! It was hard to keep up — I didn’t even list them all! It seems like every country has a version of these cookies and calls them something different 🙂 I need to try them with walnuts as well, I think they’d be amazing! Almond with the tiniest hint of almond extract would be delicious too.
Hi Olivia, I hope to embark on my Christmas baking soon and will have to try these. They look amazing! Always drool whe. Your recipe pops in to my inbox!! Have you any experience with sugar cookies and royal icing for piping and “flooding” the cookies to fill them in? I’m not sure where to start with these.
Hi Jacquie! Thank you! I don’t have a ton of experience with those outside of the classes I took for them. If you’re looking to start somewhere easy, I would give these a try: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/christmas-sugar-cookies/
Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out. I’ll let you know how they turn out and these Mexican cookies too!