These Walnut Snowball Cookies are easy, buttery shortbread cookies filled with pieces of crushed toasted walnuts.
Plus, these are vegan, egg-free, and dairy-free, so you can share these delicious Christmas shortbread cookies with all your family and friends.
If you’ve made a batch of my pecan snowball cookies your cookie jar might already be empty, as they are delicious!
You need to try the snowball cookie recipe with walnuts.
We love walnuts because they are packed with proteins and iron and have wonderful anti-inflammatory properties.
But, more than that, toasted walnuts taste amazing in cookies.
What Are Walnut Snowball Cookies?
Walnut snowball cookies are similar to Russians Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies, except that they are filled with chopped walnuts instead of pecans.
It’s a thick, buttery shortbread cookie recipe rolled in powdered sugar and filled with delicious roasted chopped walnuts.
They are naturally egg-free and easy to make dairy-free using plant-based butter.
How To Make Walnut Snowball Cookies
The secret to making delicious buttery snowball cookies filled with walnuts is to toast the nuts.
In fact, toasted walnuts taste way better as they are less bitter than raw walnuts.
Plus, they add an extra buttery flavor to the cookies.
All you need to make these walnut snowball cookies are 5 simple ingredients:
- All-Purpose Flour or spelt flour
- Softened Butter of choice. The classic snowball cookie recipe uses real butter, but we don’t use animal-based products, and we made this recipe with plant-based butter or margarine.
- Powdered Sugar, also called confectioner sugar.
- Vanilla Extract
Toasting The Walnuts
First, let’s add some flavor to the walnuts.
Place the walnuts in a non-stick pan and bring it to medium heat. Toast them dry for about 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant.
Or preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and place the walnut halves on a non-stick baking sheet.
Bake them for 5 to 6 minutes until roasted and fragrant.
Cool down on a cold bowl or plate.
Next, place on a chopping board and use a sharp knife to finely chop the nuts. Set it aside.
Creaming The Butter
First, in a large bowl using an electric beater or in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar until creamy and fluffy.
Next, add the flour and beat on the low-speed setting until the flour is well incorporated. The batter should look soft and creamy, not dry or crumbly.
Finally, fold in the chopped walnuts and beat for a few seconds on low speed to incorporate them evenly into the cookie dough.
Chilling The Dough
Film the cookie dough bowl with plastic wrap and chill for about 15 minutes.
Baking The Snowball Cookies
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Slightly oil paper with cooking oil spray. Set aside.
Scoop out two tablespoons of cookie dough using a small cookie dough scoop.
You can make them smaller, but they would bake faster. A dough ball between 1 ½ and 2 tablespoons is the typical size recommended for moist, melt-in-your-mouth cookies.
Slightly oil your hands with coconut oil or melted butter. Roll the dough into a ball, then release them on the prepared baking sheet.
Slightly flatten, just to give them a half-ball shape. The cookies won’t expand much in the oven as they don’t contain baking powder.
Bake in the center rack, and rack just below, for 12 to 15 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Don’t let them turn brown, or they will be crunchy and less buttery shortbread.
The trick to making beautifully dusted snowball cookies is to cool the cookies twice.
First, 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then 5 minutes on a wire rack.
These cool down the cookies to just the right temperature, not too hot, not too cold, so the confectioner’s sugar sticks to them.
Coating With Powdered Sugar
Place the cup of powdered sugar in a large shallow bowl.
Next, roll the lukewarm walnut snowball cookies in the sugar until fully coated.
The sugar will stick to the cookies because they are lukewarm, but the sugar shouldn’t melt.
If it melts it means the cookies are too hot to be coated. Wait for 5 more minutes before dipping if this happens.
You can use this recipe as a base for many different snowball flavors.
For example, you can replace half or all the chopped walnuts with some of the ingredients below:
- Chopped Toasted Pecans or Almonds
- Seeds like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, or sesame seeds.
- Crushed Candy Canes
- Mini Chocolate Chips – dark chocolate chips or dairy-free white chocolate chips
- Shredded Coconut
These walnut snowball cookies can be stored for up to a week in an airtight metallic cookie jar, airtight container, or glass jar. They can also last for about 3 months in zip-lock bags in the freezer.
Thaw the cookies the day before serving at room temperature.
Below are some ingredients swaps if needed
- Nut-Free – If you can’t eat nuts, swap the walnuts for toasted sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, or toasted pumpkin seeds. You can leave out the nuts and use this recipe for plain shortbread snowball cookies.
- Gluten-Free – I didn’t try all-purpose gluten-free flour, but I am pretty sure that a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend will work great.
- Sugar-Free – This recipe works with natural sugar-free powdered sweeteners like powdered erythritol or powdered allulose.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are my answers to your most frequent questions about this walnut snowball cookie recipe.
Can I Freeze Snowball Cookies?
Absolutely! You can freeze the cookies in a Ziploc bag or airtight container for up to 3 months.
Thaw the cookies at room temperature for at least 3 hours before eating or overnight.
Can I Use Coconut Oil?
No, coconut oil won’t work as a replacement for plant-based butter.
Can I Add Chocolate Chips?
Yes, you can replace half of the chopped walnuts with your favorite chocolate chip flavor.
However, you may like to cut powdered sugar in the recipe to 1/2 cup to avoid too sweet cookies.
More Cookie Recipes
If you’ve loved this cookie recipe and need more to fill a Christmas cookie jar, try some of these:
Have you tried these walnut snowball cookies? Share a comment or review below.
Walnut Snowball Cookies
For rolling and decorating cookies
- ¼ cup Powdered Sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and lightly oil them with coconut oil. Set aside.
- Place the whole walnut halves on a non-stick baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake them for 5-6 minutes until fragrant and toasted.
- Cool down on a cooled plate, then finely chop walnuts on a chopping board with a sharp knife. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat softened plant-based butter, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
- Stir in flour and beat on the low-speed setting to incorporate. The dough is ready when everything comes together into a creamy batter.
- Fold in chopped, cooled walnuts and beat for a few seconds to incorporate.
- Film the bowl with plastic wrap or a silicone lid.
- Chill the dough for 15 minutes in the fridge.
- Meanwhile, prepare a bowl with extra powdered sugar to roll the cookies after baking.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and divide it into 15 balls of the same size – about 1 ½ tablespoons of dough each. Roll each dough ball nicely between your hands and place it on the prepared cookie sheet, leaving half a thumb of space between each.
- Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes or until just golden brown at 350°F (180°C).
- Cool them down for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then 5 minutes on a wire rack until lukewarm.
- Roll the lukewarm cookies into the bowl with powdered sugar to fully coat.
- Cool down the walnut snowball cookies on a wire rack.
- Store in a sealed cookie jar at room temperature for 4-6 days or for a week in the fridge.