These delicate, melt-in-your-mouth Pink Snowball Cookies are based on a traditional Christmas cookie. The main difference here that the sugar coating on the outside is mixed with tangy freeze-dried strawberries, giving these cookies a fresh twist for spring.
Snowballs or Wedding Cookies?
This type of cookie is known by many names. In the US, many people call them Mexican Wedding Cookies, Italian Wedding Cookies or Snowballs. They're also called Russian Tea Cakes.
Whatever their name, they have been a staple on Christmas cookie platters for many years. Despite all the sugar in the coating, the cookie itself is not too sweet, with a sandy texture and soft bite.
Types of Nuts
The most common nuts to use in these cookies are walnuts, pecans or almonds. The nuts help to give the cookies a little bit of texture and keep them from drying out too much.
Almonds give a more subtle flavor that seems to work better with the fruit, but they are not as soft as the other nuts. If you don't like the look of the skins, you can purchase blanched almonds, or use pre-processed blanched nut flour.
Using Freeze-Dried Fruit for Flavor and Color
The idea for using freeze-dried fruit to color the powdered sugar comes from Martha Stewart's Cookie Perfection book (and her version of the recipe can be seen in the Amazon book preview). I love this idea because it's natural, and it also gives the cookies a fruity pop of flavor.
You can also make a few different colors by using different fruits. We found that freeze dried raspberry gave a very strong tangy flavor, but strawberry and mango both work well. Freeze dried apples don't alter the color, but do give a nice apple flavor.
Making the Pink Snowball Cookies
You'll want to start by setting your butter out to get to room temperature for a few hours. If you forget, you can always microwave it on 50% power and in 10 second bursts, turning the stick of butter to a different side each time.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C/gas mark 4) and then process the nuts along with the flour and salt. Unless you are using pre-processed nut flour, a food processor is the quickest way to do it. Then, clean the food processor so you can use it later.
Next, you'll beat the butter and powdered sugar together until it is light and fluffy, and then beat in the vanilla extract.
After that is all combined, you'll add the flour, nut and salt mixture, and mix until it is all incorporated. That's it for the dough! Then, just use a cookie scoop or a tablepoon to portion the cookies into small balls.
After your portion them out, roll them between your hands to make even balls. This dough will not spread out very much, but if you are having problems with spread, you can pop the dough balls in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking.
Bake the cookies for about 13 minutes. You don't want them to brown at all, so keep an eye on them toward the end of the bake time.
Meanwhile, use the food processor to crush up the freeze dried fruit along with the powdered sugar. If you are using a pre-powdered fruit, you can sift the powdered sugar and fruit powder together. You should end up with a very fine colored powder. If you want more flavor or color, you can adjust the amounts that you add.
When the cookies are done baking, let them cool for about 5-10 minutes. While they're still warm (but not piping hot), you'll roll them in the powdered sugar mixture.
If you want, you can roll them a second time after the cookies have cooled. This will give them a thicker sugar coating.
Other Recipes You Might Like
- You can use the freeze dried strawberries to make these Homemade Marshmallows
- These Swedish Dream Cookies look similar, but have a totally different texture
- Vanilla Buttermilk Pound Cake is another delicious traditional treat
Did You Make These Cookies?
I would love to hear about it if you made these cookies! What flavor fruit did you try? I would appreciate it so much if you could leave a star rating or comment below!
Pink Snowball Cookies
- Mixing bowls
- Food processor (optional but recommended)
- Stand mixer (optional)
- Cookie scoop or tablespoon
- Baking tray
- Parchment paper
- 65 g nuts (½ cup whole) - pecans, walnuts or almonds
- 114 g butter, room temperature (1 stick/½ cup)
- 58 g powdered sugar (½ cup)
- 125 g all-purpose flour (1 cup)
- ¼ teaspoon fine grain salt
- 115 g powdered sugar (1 cup)
- 10 g freeze-dried strawberries (1 cup)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C/gas mark 4).
- Line a cookie baking tray with parchment paper.
- Using a food processor or a knife, chop the nuts into small pieces. Clean out the food processor for later if you used it.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or a mixing bowl, beat the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the vanilla to the butter mixture and mix until combined.
- Add the nuts to the butter mixture and mix to combine.
- Add the flour and salt to the butter mixture and mix until fully combined.
- Use a cookie scoop or a tablespoon, portion the cookies out and roll them between your hands to form balls. Place the balls on the prepared cookie baking tray.
- Bake the cookies for about 13-15 minutes.
- You don't want these to brown or they will dry out too much. If the edges start to brown at all, take them out. Internal temperature should be 175°F (80°C).
- Place the powdered sugar and freeze-dried strawberries into the bowl of a food processor. Process until very fine.
- When the cookies are done baking, let them cool for about 5-10 minutes. While still a little warm, roll them in the powdered sugar mixture to coat.
- After they have cooled, you can optionally roll them again in the sugar mixture. This will give them a thicker and more colorful coating.