Walnut Snowball Cookies

These buttery, crumbly, sugar-dusted cookies are irresistible. Jerusalem cooks personalize them with different nuts and aromatic flavorings, like rose water or cardamom.

  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: about 3 1/2 dozen cookies


  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts (6 ounces)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool, then coarsely chop. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°.

  2. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the vanilla bean seeds at high speed until pale, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and beat at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula halfway through. At low speed, mix in the salt, then gradually add the flour and walnuts and beat just until the cookie dough comes together, scraping down the side of the bowl halfway through.

  3. Roll level tablespoons of the dough into balls and arrange them on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake the cookies in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for about 17 minutes, until they are lightly browned on the bottom; switch the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Let the cookies firm up on the sheets, about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool slightly.

  4. Put the remaining 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Roll the warm cookies in the sugar to coat and return to the rack to cool completely. Roll again in the sugar.

Make Ahead

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Contributed By Photo © Antonis Achilleos Published September 2012

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Aggregate Rating value: 1

Review Count: 3715

Worst Rating: 0

Best Rating: 5

Author Name: amk82

Review Body: I've made these for Christmas for several years.  My children love to help me and they last for a long time - so we can make them well in advance.  Super tasty!

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2016-12-10

Author Name: Mary Ortis Creighton

Review Body: I make these every Christmas, but we call them Mexican Wedding Cakes. Another name I know of for these are Russian Tea Cakes. I make them with whichever nuts I have on hand; either walnuts or pecans. If you can resist eating them, right away, they do last long then 5 days. I send them to my daughter, halfway across the country and they still taste great! These are one of the easiest cookies to make, fun for kids to help with too.

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2016-10-24