Now that the holiday season is officially underway, I feel it only right to tell you that I don’t celebrate Christmas. In case Passover Week last year didn’t tip you off or anything.
But that doesn’t stop me from enjoying all this season has to offer. When I was a teenager, I’d hire myself out as a carol singer, and I still love those songs. In my childhood, I sang in the chorus of The Nutcracker every year, another beloved holiday season memory. And I have never, ever turned down a holiday cookie.
These are one of my favorites. They’re known alternately as Russian tea cakes, but to me, they’ll always be snowballs. It’s the perfect name for these sugary bites that quite literally melt in your mouth. This is one of those rare desserts without chocolate that I can’t resist. I sit down to eat one and wind up popping three.
The secret behind a good snowball cookie is powdered sugar. It’s in the dough, which has the chemical effect of stopping the cookie from spreading out as it bakes (food nerd alert!). It also provides a crumbly texture that is, quite frankly, just as addictive as the taste.
These cookies get two powdered sugar baths after baking as well to make sure they turn out super snowy. And then you can sit back and watch them disappear. I actually make these in small batches to prevent a snowball binge, but the recipe easily doubles or quadruples. With the proportions listed below, you’ll get about 14 snowballs.
Happy holidays, no matter what you’re celebrating, or not. I love the lights, the cheer, the optimism, the cookies. It’s a wonderful season!
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup powdered sugar (for rolling baked cookies into)
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour and salt and beat again until the dough forms.
- Roll the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place on your cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the bottoms are just starting to brown.
- Wait 5 minutes and roll the cookies in the powdered sugar carefully. You don't want to press down, or the cookies will crumble. Wait a few minutes, and then roll them a second time.
- Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.