What's in a name? Would a rose be just as sweet if it was called anything else? I believe that's the case with Pecan Snowball Cookies aka, Russian Tea Cakes, aka Mexican Wedding Cookies. While this cookie recipe can be prepared year-round, most people prefer baking them as Christmas cookies to leave for Santa to enjoy with a tall glass of milk.
The History of Snowball Cookies and Christmas
The history of the favorite buttery cookie recipe is not set in stone, but rather food historians believe that the cookie originated in Europe as a tea time snack. The cookies migrated to Mexico with European nuns where they were commonly served at Mexican weddings (hence the name, Mexican Wedding Cakes). From there it is not known how the snowball cookies recipe got the name, Pecan snowball cookies other than containing chopped pecans and looking a lot like snowballs with their powdered sugar.
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There are two main reasons why we love these cookies: 1) they freeze well, making them a perfect make-ahead cookie (along with shortbread and peanut butter) and 2) they take a total time of about 45 minutes from start to finish to make an entire batch. You can essentially make an entire batch of cookies while watching the Great British Bake-Off Holiday Special.
We suggest getting everything prepped for these holiday cookies while you are figuring out your next Netflix binge. Prep your baking sheets or cookie sheets with parchment paper and bring your unsalted butter to room temperature.
Whether you use a stand mixer, food processor, or hand mixer, make sure the butter is softened before adding in all of the additional ingredients like all-purpose flour, vanilla extract, and confectioners' sugar. This will make your favorite Christmas cookies super flaky and will make it easier to incorporate all the ingredients in the cookie dough.
When all baked, place these cookies on a cooling rack until completely cooled and store in an airtight container and enjoy these yummy shortbread cookies throughout the Holiday season.
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- powdered sugar
Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth. Add in flour, pecans, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and stir until a dough forms.
Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place 1-inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes then roll in powdered sugar. Let cool completely and role in powdered sugar again.
If your dough seems a little soft chill it for 1 hour before baking. Make sure to roll in powdered sugar once the cookies are cooled so the powdered sugar sticks.
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