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These vegan snowball cookies can be made with or without pecans and aren’t all that different from their non-vegan counterparts, making them the perfect easy and festive holiday cookie to make with your kids this year for Christmas!
I feel like Christmas cookies is my expertise when it comes to recipes, not because I’m good at decorating them…or because I have a ton of different ones developed, but because Christmas cookies was basically the only thing I knew how to make before I left home.
In fact, I have 2 decades experience baking Christmas cookies. I may not have learned how to cook, or make other types of food as a kid, but I was always welcomed to help make the dozens upon dozens of Christmas cookies every year as a kid (it was so many cookies, every single year!)
Snowballs, or Mexican wedding cookies, or Russian Tea Cakes, or pecan sandies, or butterballs, or polvorones, or meltaways, or whatever you call them, were actually one of the cookies I didn’t make as a kid.
I’ve only started making them with my own kids in the past year, and boy do they LOVE them! Don’t worry, we’ve perfected the recipe you’ll find below, so you won’t have any trouble making a vegan version of them just as irresistible, buttery, light, and as delicious as the non-vegan version of this festive Holiday cookie!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Plant-Based Butter: I have not found a way to make this recipe without butter, luckily plant-based butter is now widely available (unlike when I first went vegan). It does need to be softened, just keep an eye on it when softening it, as plant-based butter is known to soften quicker than regular butter and we don’t want it melty, just soft.
Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar is 100% needed for this recipe, this recipe can not be made without it. If you don’t have powdered sugar, you can make it with white sugar and cornstarch!
Powdered sugar = 1 cup white sugar + 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Simply add the two ingredients to a blender and blend until it turns into powdered sugar. It’s super simple, just not as simple as buying powdered sugar ready made.
Sugar: White sugar is best for this type of recipe, mainly because these cookies are supposed to be white in color. However, I do know that brown sugar will work and won’t make them too dark. Plus, they get covered in powdered sugar, anyway, so it’s all good!
Vanilla: Vanilla simply enhances the flavor of the cookies, aka, it makes it taste better. If you don’t have any, it won’t destroy the recipe to omit it.
Flour: The only type of flour I have tested with this recipe is all purpose flour, so that is what I would recommend using. I do not know if oat flour or another gluten free flour would work. If you test it with one of those flours, please share in the comments how it turned out.
Pecans: Pecans are optional! Personally, I have one kid who was disappointed when they tasted the pecans in it, they thought it didn’t have any nuts, and I have another kid who absolutely loved it with the pecans.
You could use other nuts of your choice, as well. Or, toast the pecans on the stove, or pulse in a food processor if you want a finer chop than what you can do by hand.
How to Make Vegan Snowball Cookies
*Note that these instructions can be printed below
Step one: Use a hand mixer to mix the butter until it becomes slightly fluffy.
Step two: Then add half a cup of powdered sugar, the granulated sugar, and vanilla, mix well with the hand mixer.
Step three: Stir in flour and pecans.
Step four: Chill in the fridge for about 1 hour.
Step five: Preheat the oven to 350℉ and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Step six: Roll about 2 tablespoons of dough into a ball and place on your cookie sheet, or use a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop.
Step seven: Bake for about 13-15 minutes, or until just before they start to golden on the bottom.
Step eight: Allow the cookies to cool enough to touch, then roll them in a bowl of the remaining powdered sugar.
Step nine: Allow them to cool completely on a cooling rack, then roll in the powdered sugar for a second time before enjoying!
Tips & Tricks
If you have picky eaters, make these how they will like them! If that means making one batch with pecans and another batch without, then so be it.
Snowball cookies are irresistible and should be enjoyed by all (unless you’re trying heavily to limit sugar – but in my home, we let the sugar slide a little bit more than usual during the Holidays).
That being said, I do have a few more tips for you:
- Use a cookie scoop to ensure all cookies are about the same size.
- Feel free to use a stand mixer if you have one and like using it. (Mine is a super heavy lime green KitchenAid that’s stored in a cabinet and hasn’t come out since we moved last, but it will have a place on the counter for the week before Christmas for making cookies!)
- If you want a nuttier flavor, try roasting the pecans on the stove for 5-10 minutes to help bring out the nutty flavor/
- If you want the pecans chopped finer than what you can chop by hand, use a food processor, but only use the pulse feature to help prevent it from turning into pecan butter.
- Chilling is a must for this recipe, I would not have you chill the dough if it were not needed.
- Don’t over cook these, they’ll be done when the bottoms start to become lightly golden.
- You need to act quickly once these are done baking and roll them in the powdered sugar, and then roll them in the sugar again once they’ve cooled. And, if you want to roll them in powdered sugar again, for a third time, feel free to do that!
- Make sure the butter is softened before starting the recipe.
How to Serve
These festive little powder cookies are best served with other Christmas cookies, whether at a holiday party or at home with loved ones!
Just don’t forget to leave one out for Santa!
How to Store These Snowball Cookies
Room Temperature: The best way to store these cookies is at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.
Fridge: These cookies can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, but we prefer storing them at room temperature.
Freezer: Completely done and cooled cookies can be saved in the freezer for up to a month.
FAQ’s for Snowball Cookies
- Can I use a different type of nut in this recipe?
- Yes! Walnuts are another common choice of nut for snowball cookies. You can also choose to toast your nut of choice, as well.
- Can I make this recipe nut free?
- Of course! If you’re not a fan of nuts in your cookies, or worried about nut allergies, go ahead and make them without the nuts. Just know they will be softer and have no crunch to them.
- Can I cream the sugar and butter, or do I need to use a hand or stand mixer?
- It is best to use a hand or stand mixer to mix together this recipe. Creaming together, or stirring together, the ingredients won’t leave them as fluffy.
- How long do these cookies last?
- In an airtight container, at room temperature, these cookies will last about 1 week.
- What are snowball cookies made of?
- Snowball cookies are made mostly of butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, and some type of nut.
MORE Vegan HOLIDAY SWEETS TO ENJOY:
- Candied Cashews
- Candied Pecans
- The Best Vegan Sugar Cookies
- Vegan Gingerbread Muffins
- Kiwi Christmas Tree
Vegan Snowball CookiesShawna Clapper
- Hand Mixer
- 2 tablespoon Cookie Scoop (optional)
- cookie sheet
- Silpat (or parchment paper)
- 1 cup Plant-Based Butter softened
- 1 ½ cup Powdered Sugar divided
- ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- ¾ cup Pecans finely chopped (optional)
- Use a hand mixer to mix the butter until it becomes slightly fluffy.
- Then add half a cup of powdered sugar, the granulated sugar, and vanilla, mix well with the hand mixer.
- Stir in flour and pecans.
- Chill in the fridge for about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll about 2 tablespoons of dough into a ball and place on your cookie sheet, or use a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop.
- Bake for about 13-15 minutes, or until just before they start to golden on the bottom.
- Allow the cookies to cool enough to touch, then roll them in a bowl of the remaining powdered sugar.
- Allow them to cool completely on a cooling rack, then roll in the powdered sugar for a second time before enjoying!
If you want smaller pieces of pecans than what you can get with chopping, you can pulse in a food processor to your desired consistency, just don’t pulse too much or for too long.
You can omit the pecans if desired. *Nutrition facts are a rough estimate, if you need exact measurements please calculate them yourself, using the exact ingredients and amounts you use.