Let's make Vegan Snowball Cookies this holiday season! Sugar-dusted, buttery, nutty, light as air, and so quick and easy to make!
‘Tis the season, friends, and Vegan Snowball Cookies are a must-make treat for the holidays!
These iconic Christmas cookies are uniquely buttery and nutty with a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
They look so pretty with their snowy sugar-dusted exteriors and this foolproof one-bowl recipe is really quick and easy to make with simple ingredients and no complicated steps.
What Are Snowball Cookies?
Snowball cookies are round shortbread cookies that often contain nuts, and are rolled in powdered sugar to give them their characteristic snowy appearance.
They are popular in many parts of the world, with slight variations in the flavorings and types of nuts used, and are known as Italian Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Butterballs, and Snowdrops, amongst many other names.
Here are the ingredients you need at a glance, along with some important notes and substitution ideas:
- Dairy-free butter - I recommend using a harder vegan butter such as Earth Balance or Miyokos for this recipe. It will give much better results than softer margarine style spreads like Becel.
- Powdered sugar - Also known as confectioner's sugar or icing sugar. This is what gives the cookies their melt in the mouth texture and snowy appearance.
- Vanilla - Important for flavor. I recommend using vanilla extract and not vanilla essence.
- Flour - This should be all-purpose flour. In the UK use plain flour.
- Cornstarch - For added tenderness and more structure (it helps keep the cookies in their signature ball shape).
- Pecans- Chopped very finely they add delicious texture and flavor. You could use walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, or pistachios instead although the flavor and appearance will change.
- Salt - Important for flavor and depth in sweet recipes as well as savory.
With so few ingredients I don't recommend making any substitutions in this recipe, except for the nuts as described above. Every ingredient has an important job and if you change them in any way you won't get the best results.
How To Make Vegan Snowball Cookies
Can't wait to make them? The full printable recipe is below, but first, let me give you a quick walkthrough to set you up for success when it's your turn to make them:
1 - MAKE THE COOKIE DOUGH - Along with the cornstarch and vanilla until soft and fluffy. Add the flour and pecans and mix to form your dough.
2 - ROLL - Scoop out tablespoon size portions and roll into balls. At this point you can freeze the balls for later. See below under "making ahead" for more details RE freezing.
3- BAKE - Place them on a parchment paper lined baking tray and bake. They puff up a bit but don't spread much.
4 - COAT - While warm roll the cookies in powdered sugar then put them back on the baking tray.
5 - COAT AGAIN WHEN COOL - This is the trick for making the powdered sugar stick and coat the cookies well. After the first roll when warm, the sugar will become a bit sticky. When rolling the second time it will stick well because of that stickiness.
Expert Tip - I do not recommend using silicone baking mats or greased baking trays when making snowball cookies because they create a slippery surface and encourage spreading which we don't want. Parchment paper works much better for this recipe.
Follow the recipe through to rolling the balls of cookie dough and placing them on the parchment lined baking tray. Then pop the entire tray in the freezer until the dough balls become hard. At this point remove the tray from the freezer and transfer the frozen cookie dough balls to a freezer bag or airtight container. They will keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Bake straight from the freezer (do not thaw) on a parchment lined baking sheet at 350°F (175°C) for 14 minutes.
Snowball cookies are at their best within a few days of baking, but will keep for up to a week in an airtight container. The powdered sugar coating will get a little sticky as they age. You can freshen them up by re-rolling in powdered sugar at any time.
Baked cookies also freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or at room temperature. Give them a roll in some more powdered sugar to freshen up their appearance.
This can be for many reasons, but the most common is not measuring the ingredients accurately. It's very important for the ratios of flour, butter, and sugar to be accurate in snowball cookie recipes. The only way to be accurate is to weigh your ingredients with a digital scale. Cups are not an accurate way to measure when baking and it's very easy for the amounts to be off. Spreading can also be caused by inaccurate oven temperature, not chilling the dough before baking (particularly if your kitchen is warm), and baking on silicone mats or greased baking trays. The slipperiness can encourage spreading.
If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it by leaving a comment and rating below! And be sure to join my mailing list for more deliciousness!
Vegan Snowball CookiesAuthor:
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper. Do not use silicone mats or greased baking trays for this recipe.
- Add the vegan butter, ½ cup (63g) of the powdered sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt to a mixing bowl. Using an electric hand mixer (or stand mixer) beat until fluffy. You can do it by hand if you don't have a mixer, just use lots of elbow grease and make sure it's soft and fluffy.
- Add half of the flour and beat on low speed until roughly combined, then add the rest of the flour and the pecans. Beat again on low until the butter is moistened, then turn up the speed to medium and continue beating until all ingredients are combined well.
- With a cookie scoop take 1-tablespoon-sized portions of dough and roll into balls. Place them gently on the prepared baking tray leaving at least an inch between them. The dough will be soft and sticky but should be easily rollable. If not put it in the fridge to firm up just a little.
- For the very best shaped cookies I recommend popping the baking trays with the cookies into the fridge for 15 minutes before baking (especially if your kitchen is warm). If not you can bake them immediately but they won't be quite as well-rounded. (Freezing instructions are also included in the post above).
- Bake the cookies for 12 minutes (13 from the freezer). The trick with these is not to let them brown. They will be very pale, very soft, and look like they aren't ready.
- Remove the cookies from the oven, leave them for 5 minutes to cool enough to handle, then roll in the powdered sugar. The sugar won't coat them well but that's ok. It provides a base for the next coat. Once rolled pop them back on the baking tray and allow to cool completely.
- Once completely cool, roll the cookies in the powdered sugar a second time. They will be a little sticky and the 2nd coat will stick much better.