It’s officially the holidays, and that means I get to make our favorite family cookie: Pecan Snowball Cookies. These petite, snowy-white cookies are crunchy little nuggets of buttery pecan joy.
Pecan Snowball Cookies on antique bone china tea saucer
Though there are many recipes for cookies that look like this one, but they are often bland tasting. Years ago my mother in law shared some special techniques for achieving the best flavor. (Thank you, Chris!) They are deliciously addictive**, so we make them only during the holidays.
pecans – finely chopped on left, halves on the right.
The key ingredient in these cookies is pecans — no other nut works as well. And one other important technique is to keep the dough balls small — I use a 1 teaspoon size portion scoop. This means you get just the right proportion of cookie to snow white sugary coating. Each cookie will be the diameter of a quarter when baked and coated.
small portion scoop
This recipe makes about 125 little bite-sized nuggets, and it doubles or halves easily. These cookies store for about a week at room temp, and freeze well. Enjoy!
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, room temp.
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 cups finely chopped pecans*
2 cups (9 1/2 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 LB or more powdered sugar (for rolling)
Preheat oven to 300.
Cream the butter, sugar, and salt until blended. Add the finely chopped pecans and the flour and mix on low until the dough is combined and no streaks of butter remain. Roll or scoop small balls of dough – one level teaspoon each. Place them about 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the are uniformly light brown.
While the cookies are baking, prepare a large rimmed baking sheet by covering it with a layer of powdered sugar. Then place remaining powdered sugar in a bowl.
When the cookies are hot out of the oven, roll them in the powdered sugar in the bowl and place them on the powdered sugar covered baking sheet to cool. Roll them once more in powdered sugar after they are completely cool, and store in an airtight container with extra powdered sugar surrounding the cookies.
* It is ideal to chop the pecans by hand to achieve the most uniform results. That said, I often use my food processor to chop the pecans, but it does take finesse to make sure the pecans don’t turn into powder. If there are some courser pieces remaining, I just shake them to the top of the pile, scoop them off, and chop them by hand.
** A dear friend has dubbed these cookies “Christmas Crack” because of their addictive qualities. You’ve been warned.