Snowball Cookies! aka Russian Tea Cakes / Mexican Wedding Cookies / Cajun Cocoons


These nutty shortbread balls go by so many names. You may have also seen variations, from coarsely chopped pecan, walnut, or hazelnut to finely ground almonds. The recipe traditionally calls for softened butter, but I've tried it with small cubes of cold hard butter (like how you would make a pie dough), and the results came out so similar, it's almost indistinguishable without a close side-by-side comparison.

The ingredients are few, and you can really just dump everything together all at once and work them together with your hand. To better incorporate everything, I like to whisk together the dry ingredients, mix in the butter, and finally toss in the nuts. Toasting the nuts is optional; using raw nuts directly will work too, they'll still get cooked in the baking process. Since I like to mix everything else and add in the nuts last, the extra toasting in the airfryer doesn't add to the total prep time, so I always toast mine for the extra nutty flavor. Error on the lesser side for toasting time to avoid burning, 2~3 minutes at 350F would be plenty.  

As far as cookies go, the sugar content in this dough is actually fairly low (compared to say, chocolate chip cookies). The sweetness primarily comes from the final rolling in powdered sugar. These should be rolled in powdered sugar while warm, so that the heat from the cookies can melt the surrounding sugar and form a thin layer of icing. The hotter the cookies are while rolled, the thicker the icing layer will be. So if you have a sweet tooth, roll them while the cookies are still very hot, and if you don't want your dessert too sweet, let them cool down most of the way before rolling. Pack your snowball to your liking!


  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecan (or walnut/hazelnut; or 1/4 cup ground almond meal)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder (or extract or paste) 
  • 1 cup flour


  1. Toast the pecan for 2~3min @350F and let chill. 
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, vanilla powder
  3. Mix in the softened butter by hand
  4. Chop and mix in the chopped nuts
  5. Scoop out ~1tbsp portion of dough and roll into round balls
  6. Bake at 350F for 12~15 minutes, until bottom is lightly browned


Checkout my YouTube Channel for step-by-step video instruction!