Brazil Nut snowball Cookies are quick & easy shortbread-like cookies made of butter and ground nuts. They are rich, light, and crumbly with a wonderfully nutty flavor that just melts in your mouth. Round & covered with powdered sugar they, do indeed, look like little snowballs.
These cookies were a family tradition in my house growing up. My mom would always make 3 or 4 recipes of them to gift in her cookie tins to family, friends and neighbors.
They still are one of my favorite Christmas cookies and rank right up there with my Double Chocolate Mint Cookies and Eggnog Cookies. Maybe it's the buttery soft, melt-in-your-mouth cookie or all that powdered sugar (which is such fun to eat) that makes them look like snowballs but, whatever it is, I can't get enough of them!
Table of contents
What are Snowball Cookies
Snowball cookies are small, tender, round cookies made with ground nuts and rolled in powdered sugar that makes them look like little snowballs. They go by many names, Mexican or Italian Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, and Snowdrops, and have been a classic holiday cookie for decades.
What is a Brazil Nut
Brazil Nuts are edible seeds derived from a brazil nut tree, one of the largest and longest-living trees in the Amazon rain forest. The nuts actually grow inside a round, coconut-like shell that can weigh as much as 4-½ pounds. When they are split open, this shell can contain anywhere from 12-20 brazil nuts.
Brazil nuts are high in monosaturated fat, a healthy fat, and contain important nutrients like selenium, magnesium, zinc, calcium, Vitamin E, and some protein.
Why You'll Love These Brazil Nut Cookies
- Easy and fun to make
- Reday in 30 minutes
- You need only 7 simple ingredients (OK, 6 plus the nuts)
- No chilling of the dough required
Christmas Snowball Cookies Ingredients
Butter - use quality butter for these brazil nut snowball cookies as the butter contributes so much to the flavor. Unsalted or sealed can be used without a discernable difference.
Sugar - adds a slight sweetness to the base cookie
Egg - is the binding agent
Flour - provides the structure. Make sure to scoop the flour into the measuring cup for more precise measurement.
Vanilla Extract & Salt - enhances all the flavors
Brazil Nuts - gives the cookie flavor and moistness. Look for shelled Brazil Nuts as they are one hard nut to crack.
Confectioner's Sugar - adds extra sweetness and makes the cookie look like little snowballs
How to Make the Best Snowball Cookies
- Place butter and sugar in large mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy.
- Add egg to creamed mixture and continue beating until combines.
- Pour in vanilla extract and mix.
- Combine four and salt. continue beating while adding to wet ingredients
- Add ground nuts. Make sure the nuts are ground well but not to the point where they're powdery.
- Beat until well incorporated.
- Roll small amounts of dough between hands to form a ball about ⅔" in size. Place on ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake for 20 minutes. As you can see the cookies are still almost white, not much darker than when they started. DO NOT OVERBAKE THEM!
- Wait for the cookies to cool slightly then shake each one in a plastic bag full of powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container. They will keep 5 days on the counter or 2 weeks in the refrigerator. The dough can also be frozen for up to 6 months.
Nuts - exchange the brazil nuts for pecans, walnuts, cashews, almonds, or pistachios.
Extracts - try with 1 teaspoon each of vanilla and almond extract or make them into lemon snowballs by using lemon extract, a little zest, and finely chopped almonds.
Add-ins - these are so delicious as is I usually don't add anything extra. However, you could add mini chocolate chips or peppermint chips.
Don't they look like mini snowballs to you? You can be dainty and take a few bites as you gobble them up or, go for it, and just pop the whole thing in your mouth. Go ahead, I won't tell.
These Christmas Snowball Cookies are so cute that you can gift them in a decorated box, a cookie tin, or a holiday bowl wrapped with tissue paper or cellophane. Perfect for Christmas cookie swaps, showers, and weddings, or just for a sweet treat with coffee or cocoa. Enjoy!
More Christmas Cookies
Almond Cloud Cookies - are chewy, light, nutty cookies almost wholly composed of almonds and almond extract.
Pistachio Cherry Meltaways - red and green, buttery soft cookies made with pudding mix and dotted with cherries.
Peppermint Christmas Wreath Cookies from Culinary Ginger - are peppermint-flavored sugar cookies with peppermint icing.
Easy No-Bake Cathedral Cookies - rich, fudgy no-bake cookies filled with colored mini marshmallows and nuts.
Find more best Christmas Cookie Recipes on 2CM!
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Brazil Nut Snowball Cookies
- ¾ cup butter
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups Brazil nuts, finely ground
- Confectioners' sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy.
- Continue beating while adding egg and extract.
- Mix flour and salt together and add to creamed mixture and mix well.
- Continue beating while adding Brazil nuts.
- Shape into ⅔″ balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake for 20 minutes. The cookies will still be almost white with just a tinge of gold.
- Cool snowballs slightly then shake in a bag of confectioner’s sugar. Store in airtight container.
This post has been updated with new photos and more information. It was first published on December 22, 2013.