Snowball Cookies


Snowball Cookies aka Mexican Wedding Cookies recipe makes a delicious, dainty ball shaped cookie with lots of butter and chopped pecans, then rolled in powdered sugar.

For many families, making and serving this dessert has become a Christmas Tradition!

This Snowball Cookies Recipe or a version of it (and there are many versions of it now) has been around for a long time.

It seems it has quite a few names in addition to those mentioned above; Sandies, Sand Tarts*, Russian Tea Cakes and others.

These cookies were made popular by the name of "Mexican Wedding Cookies" in the early 1950s.


They are served at many Mexican weddings... hence the name.


I first tasted this delicious cookie in the late 1980s when an employee brought this cookie to  my office Christmas party.


Snowball Cookies Recipe


  • 1 cup butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 teaspoons water

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Cream butter in a mixing bowl.


Add sugar a little at a time and cream together.

Stir in water and vanilla.

Fold in flour, then nuts. Cover bowl and refrigerate to chill 2-3 hours.


Remove from refrigerator.

Pinch off enough pieces of dough to make a ball about 1-1/2 inches in diameter, by shaping it in the palm of your hand.

Place dough balls on an non-greased cookie sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake in a preheated oven 325 F. for about 20 minutes or until cookies are set and bottom is slightly browned.

Remove from oven.


Let set 5 minutes then roll cookies in powered sugar and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Then roll in powdered sugar a second time.

This second roll is what results in the white powdery appearance.

Cookie Variations


  • For Brandy Balls substitute 2 teaspoons dry Brandy or brandy flavoring for the vanilla flavoring in the dough.


  • For vanilla flavored powdered sugar, add a teaspoon vanilla extract to the powdered sugar before rolling cookies and sift it a couple of times.


  • To add a cinnamon flavor to cookies, add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon to powdered sugar before rolling cookies and sift sugar 2 or 3 times.


Mexican Wedding Cookies History


Mexican Wedding Cookies or Snowballs?


I call these Snowballs because it was the name given to me when I acquired the recipe.


According to some food historians it is believed this cookie evolved from the Sugar cookie which dates back to the Middle Ages or Medieval Period.


This cookie recipe first appeared in American Cookbooks in the 1950''s.


I have many old cookie cookbooks published in the 1950s and 1960s.


Thus far, I have only found one recipe, in a 1962 revised addition that has a recipe called Sandies, on page 178.


It says to shape the cookies into balls or fingers and roll in powdered sugar.


It doesn't instruct to roll in sugar a second time.


I am still searching for an earlier Snowball Cookie Recipe in my collection.


As you see, only does this cookie go by different names, it is made into shapes other than round balls.


It is made into flat round cookies and crescents.


*The name
Sand Tarts for a cookie recipe appears in a couple of my old cookbooks, one is is in a cookbook from The United States Department Of Agriculture Bureau Of Home Economics 1931.


Neither of these two recipes resemble the Cookie Recipe printed on this page.


Yet, I find many cookie recipes on line, authored by  reputable chefs and cooks, with the same formula and name...
Sand Tarts!


That leads me to believe the name has been applied to this recipe most recently.


But, whatever you call it this is a beautiful cookie with fine flavors of butter, sugar and finely chopped nuts you will be proud to serve!


Related Pages


Baby Ruth Cookies


Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies


Spry Christmas Cookies


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