These festive shortbread cookies, also known as Russian tea cakes and Mexican wedding cookies, are rolled in powdered sugar, resembling snowballs. The rich dough is typically packed with pecans, walnuts, or almonds. My favorite recipe, from The Good Cookie, by pastry chef Tish Boyle, is delicious as is, but I couldn’t resist swapping in some pistachios, which are a perfect match for crumbly, buttery cookie dough.
Pistachio Walnut Snowballs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar, plus an additional 2/3 cup for rolling
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325 º F and line a large baking sheet (or two baking sheets) with parchment paper.
- Place pistachios and walnuts in bowl of food processor. Measure flour, and place in a large mixing bowl. Remove one tablespoon of flour and add to the food processor bowl (this will prevent the nuts from turning into a paste when processed.) Pulse until finely ground. Pour nuts into the bowl with the flour. Add salt, and stir until thoroughly combined.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar by hand or with a mixer until light and airy, about two minutes. Add vanilla extract. Stir in flour mixture until just combined.
- Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough and roll into balls using the palms of your hands. Place cookies about an inch apart on prepared baking sheet(s.)
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, until firmly set (check the bottoms of the cookies; they should just begin to turn golden brown.) Let cool for five minutes.
- Place 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar in a bowl, and roll cookies in sugar until thoroughly coated. Sprinkle additional powdered sugar on top before serving.
- Store at room temperature in an airtight container.
Yields approximately 37 cookies.