This cookie recipe for Toasted Walnut Snowballs is perfectly festive! These are an excellent addition to any holiday cookie platter and are made with just a few simple ingredients. Totally vegan, pillowy, and irresistible!
What are snowball cookies?
Snowball cookies are a classically sweet dessert made mainly from flour, butter powdered sugar, and toasted nuts. The are rolled in sugar and baked, given them a “snowy” appearance. Additionally, they are made without the use of eggs or leavening agents so they are fairly dense and crumbly (in a good way). Due to their wintery appearance, they are most commonly made around the holidays.
Ingredients Needed for Toasted Walnut Snowballs
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- 1 cup butter, room temperature (like Miyokos)
- 2 cups powdered sugar, divided
- 1 TBS vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
Possible Ingredient Substitutions
Pecan snowballs are a common iteration of this recipe, but walnuts tend to be a bit more affordable and work just as well in my opinion. Feel free to swap pecans for walnuts if you’d like.
For vegan butter, I highly recommend Miyokos European-Style Cultured Butter. You could also substitute room-temperature coconut oil in its place.
Powdered sugar is essential for the texture and look of these cookies. If you do not have any but DO have regular, feel free to blend granulated sugar in a high-speed blender to produce a great powdered sugar substitute.
How to Make Walnut Snowball Cookies
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Chop walnut pieces as small as possible, ideally using a food processor. If you do not have one, I recommend adding walnuts to a sealed bag and then tapping on them with a heavy object to break down. You want the texture of finely chopped nuts, but no need for a powder. The end result should be around 1 cup. Spread on a baking sheet and toast mixture in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until fragrant. Set aside.
2. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream together butter and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Mix until light and fluffy, then add vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.
3. Next, add flour and salt, mixing to integrate. You should have a fairly cohesive mix at this point but if not, feel free to add a splash of milk to help things along. Cover mixture and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. It will firm up as it chills and it will become more easily to mold.
4. Pour granulated sugar into a shallow bowl. Taking 1 TBS-sized scoops of dough, roll into balls and then roll in granulated sugar, to coat. This will help the powdered sugar stick after baking, Baked for 11-15 minutes, until slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
5. Once cooler, roll each cookie in powdered sugar for a real “snowy” effect. Feel free to re-roll just before serving as well. These cookies can be stored in the freezer for up to one month.
Can I make these cookies in advance?
Yes! This recipe is very easily made in advance. There are two ways to do this:
1. Prepare the dough and place unbaked cookies in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Freeze until solid and then store in a sealed container or bag until ready to use. Add 3-5 extra minutes to the baking time and proceed with the recipe as directed.
2. Bake the cookies as directed and let cool. Instead of rolling in powdered sugar, freeze in a sealed container or bag. Before serving, let thaw to room temperature. Re-roll in powdered sugar just before serving.