Almond Snowball Cookies (vegan option)
These buttery almond snowball cookies are a fantastic festive treat that taste great alongside a hot chocolate or a cup of coffee after a hard day Christmas shopping!
I came up with this recipe after discovering Mexican Wedding Cookies. Their pale colour and sprinkling of icing sugar reminded me of snowballs so I knew I had to bake some to go on my Christmas cookie platter. I’d never heard of Mexican Wedding Cookies before (they also go by the names: Italian/Greek wedding cookies, Kourabiedes, butterballs, pecan Susan’s or even Russian Tea Cakes. Whatever the name, the one thing they have in common is that they are made from flour, sugar, butter and nuts.
Whatever you call them, these round cookies have a similar texture to shortbread so each bite melts in the mouth. In the traditional recipe pecans are a popular choice but almonds always make me think of Christmas! As well as tasting delicious, the ground almonds make the cookies soft and slightly chewy. I like to emphasise the almond flavour by adding a little extra almond extract but it’s entirely optional.
Top tips for baking these cookies
Roll them into balls
The dough is very “short” meaning its quite crumbly but this makes for a lovely tender cookie. Roll them into golf ball sized cookie using your hands. They don’t spread out when you bake them so however you place them on the tray is how they will come out of the oven.
How to spot when they are baked
Don’t be worried about how light in colour they are – like shortbread, they don’t take long to cook and are ready when they are firm to the touch. It’s unlikely they will cook long enough to get any colour.
Dust with icing sugar
Traditionally these snowball cookies are rolled in icing sugar when they are fresh out of the oven and then dusted again once they have cooled. I find that a little bit too sweet so I recommend just dusting them the once.
Make them vegan
There is just one substitution needed to make these cookies vegan – simply swap out regular butter for non-dairy butter. I love using Trex for a particularly light cookie or Flora for a really buttery taste.
- Pre-heat your oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with grease proof paper.
- In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, icing, vanilla paste and almond extra until soft and creamy.
- Stir in the plain flour and ground almonds until it just starts to come together as a dough.
- Shape the dough into balls round 1 inch wide.
- Place on to the baking tray roughly 1 inch apart.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until they are firm to the touch but not browned.
- Remove the cookies from the baking tray and place on to a cooling rack.
- Dust lightly with icing sugar.
You can make these snowballs with any nut of your choosing. Just make sure you place your nuts in a blender and blitz until they are like fine breadcrumbs and leave out the almond extract.
More Christmas Cookies
If you like these Almond Snowball Cookies you’ll love these other festive treats!
Why not serve them after your Christmas dinner with a coffee or add them to a gift hamper!