Brown Butter Snowball Cookies – Cook With Manali

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by Sil Pancho

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12.08.2021


Snowball Cookies are great but Brown Butter Snowball Cookies are even better! Made with few basic ingredients like flour, butter and sugar, these are a regular in my house during the holidays!

cookies coated in powdered sugar placed on a golden plate with lights in the background

When I think of Christmas baking, the first thing that comes to mind is cookies and I can never have enough of them. Every year I like trying new cookie recipes and gift them to my friends and neighbors here. There’s something magical about baking cookies this time of the year compared to any other time of the year. Isn’t it?

I got introduced to Snowball Cookies after moving to the US, I had not heard of them back in India. These cookies are know by different names like Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes and of course Snowball Cookies. They are small round cookies which made with the most basic ingredients and rolled in powdered sugar (icing sugar).

These butter cookies are actually rolled in powdered sugar twice. Once you roll them when they are out of the oven but if you roll them just once they don’t look all that white (since the sugar melts) and don’t give that appearance of a snowball. So you roll them again when they cool down completely and thus making them look like snowballs.

The fact that they are so easy to make (and also so good) is what makes them so popular.

The regular snowball cookies are great but I think brown butter makes them even better! If you haven’t baked with brown butter before, you have been missing out. It adds a wonderful nutty aroma and taste to these cookies, which makes them even better than regular snowball cookies in my opinion.

How to Make Brown Butter

Making brown butter is easy and once you make it, you will be hooked onto it.

Brown butter is nothing but simple butter which is cooked for a bit until the milk solids turn brown. It has a nuttier, richer and deeper flavor than your regular butter.

You can easily make it in few minutes using your pan on stove-top. The only thing which you should be careful about is that you don’t want to burn the butter. Stir and watch it carefully since it can go from brown to burnt pretty quickly.

You Will Need

These cookies need very few basic pantry ingedients!

ingredients for brown butter snowball cookies arranged on a board

Flour: for this recipe, we need all purpose flour. I have not tested this recipe with any other flour but you may substitute whole wheat flour. It should be okay.

Powdered sugar: I have used powdered sugar here (also known as icing sugar/confectioners sugar), it might work with granulated white sugar as well but I haven’t tested the recipe with it.

Butter: you can either use salted or unsalted butter. If using salted butter, you can skip on the salt in the recipe.

Flavorings: the cookies are flavored with cinnamon powder and vanilla. Other spices like ginger, cloves etc. can also be added to make these Christmas-y. Cardamom will also be nice.

Nuts: using nuts is optional but recommended since it adds a nice texture to the cookies. You can replace pecans with walnuts, cashews, almonds as well.

Step by Step Instructions

1- Start by making the brown butter. In a pan melt 2 sticks of unsalted butter on medium heat. It is a good idea to use a light colored pan here because we are primarily looking for that brown color and it’s easier to see the color changes in such a pan.

2 & 3- The butter will first melt and then start to foam. Keep stirring.

4- After stirring for 6 around 7 minutes (may take more or less time depending on the intensity of heat and thickness of pan) you will see the butter will change its color and become brown. You can also smell the nutty aroma.

step by step picture collage of making brown butter snowball cookies

5-Immediately remove butter from heat and pour into a glass bowl and place in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes so that it cools down.

6- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange pecans on it. Roast at 350 F degrees for 6 to 8 minutes until the pecans are nicely fragrant. Remove from oven and chop the toasted pecans finely. Set aside.

7- In a bowl whisk together all purpose flour, salt and cinnamon powder. Set aside.

8- To the steel bowl of your stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or use your hand mixer), add the cooled & melted brown butter and powdered sugar.

step by step picture collage of making brown butter snowball cookies

9- Add the vanilla and mix until combined.

10- Start adding the flour mix in parts. Add half of it and mix.

11- Then add the remaining half of the flour mix along with chopped pecans and mix.

12- The mixture will come together and stick to the paddle attachment. It won’t form a dough (will be crumbly) but will come together if you press with your hands.

step by step picture collage of making brown butter snowball cookies

13- Now, make small round balls from the dough, around 1 tablespoon each (around 20 to 25 grams). I got around 25 cookies. Place them an inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 F degrees for 15 to 17 minutes. I baked mine for 15 minutes.

14- Remove from oven and let them cool down for 1 minute. Once you can handle them with hands, roll them in powdered sugar while they are still warm. Roll all the cookies and then place them on a wire rack to cool completely.

15 & 16- Once they have cooled down completely, roll the cookies in powdered sugar for the 2nd time. Enjoy the cookies with a cup of coffee!

step by step picture collage of making brown butter snowball cookies

How Many Cookies This Recipe Makes

This will make around 25 cookies. It can make more or less depending on how big or small you make the cookies.

Storing Snowball Cookies

These cookies should be store in an airtight container. They should be okay at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days. If you want to make them last longer, you might want to freeze them.

a cookie being rolled in powdered sugar

How To Freeze Snowball Cookies

To freeze these cookies, place them in freezer safe ziplock bags. And then place in an airtight glass container and freeze. To thaw, take them out of the plastic container and place them on serving tray and allow to defrost.

You can also freeze the dough in ziplock bags.

Can Other Nuts Be Used

Yes of course, you don’t have to use pecans. You can use walnuts, cashews, almonds any nut you prefer. Use the same way, first roast and then chop before using in the recipe.

If you don’t like nuts or have nut-allergy, you can also skip them.

a snowball cookie cut in half to show the interior

Tips & Notes

  • Skip making brown butter if you don’t want to invest that extra time. You can make these cookies with just butter without browning it.
  • These cookies are sweet, if you prefer less sugar you can reduce the amount of sugar in the dough. You can obviously also not roll them in powdered sugar but then they won’t be snowball cookies anymore.
  • If you don’t want to roll them in sugar, you can also roll these in desiccated coconut. You can even simply drizzle them with chocolate.
  • Let them cool completely before rolling them in sugar the second time.

If you’ve tried this Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen and on YouTube to watch my latest videos.

This post has been updated from the recipe archives, first published in December 2014.

Brown Butter Snowball Cookies

cookies coated in powdered sugar placed on a golden plate with lights in the background

Manali

Snowball Cookies made even better with brown butter! These Brown Butter Snowball Cookies need only a handful of ingredients and make a classic holiday treat!

Prep Time 15 mins

Cook Time 15 mins

Total Time 30 mins

Course Dessert

Cuisine American

Servings 25 cookies

Calories 134 kcal

  • Start by making the brown butter. In a pan melt 2 sticks of unsalted butter on medium heat. It is a good idea to use a light colored pan here because we are primarily looking for that brown color and it’s easier to see the color changes in such a pan.

  • The butter will first melt and then start to foam. Keep stirring.After stirring for 6 around 7 minutes (may take more or less time depending on the intensity of heat and thickness of pan) you will see the butter will change its color and become brown. You can also smell the nutty aroma. Immediately remove butter from heat and pour into a glass bowl and place in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes so that it cools down.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange pecans on it. Roast at 350 F degrees for 6 to 8 minutes until the pecans are nicely fragrant. Remove from oven and chop the toasted pecans finely. Set aside.

  • In a bowl whisk together all purpose flour, salt and cinnamon powder. Set aside.

  • To the steel bowl of your stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or use your hand mixer), add the cooled & melted brown butter and powdered sugar. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.

  • Start adding the flour mix in parts. Add half of it and mix. Then add the remaining half of the flour mix along with chopped pecans and mix.

  • The mixture will come together and stick to the paddle attachment. It won’t form a dough (will be crumbly) but will come together if you press with your hands.

  • Now, make small round balls from the dough, around 1 tablespoon each (around 20 to 25 grams). I got around 25 cookies. Place them an inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 F degrees for 15 to 17 minutes. I baked mine for 15 minutes.

  • Remove from oven and let them cool down for 1 minute. Once you can handle them with hands, roll them in powdered sugar while they are still warm. Roll all the cookies and then place them on a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Once they have cooled down completely, roll the cookies in powdered sugar for the 2nd time. Enjoy the cookies with a cup of coffee!

  • Skip making brown butter if you don’t want to invest that extra time. You can make these cookies with just butter without browning it.
  • These cookies are sweet, if you prefer less sugar you can reduce the amount of sugar in the dough. You can obviously also not roll them in powdered sugar but then they won’t be snowball cookies anymore.
  • If you don’t want to roll them in sugar, you can also roll these in desiccated coconut. You can even simply drizzle them with chocolate.
  • Let them cool completely before rolling them in sugar the second time.

Calories: 134kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 1gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 24mgPotassium: 27mgSugar: 2gVitamin A: 230IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 0.5mg





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