Walnut Snowball Cookies

December 13, 2016 By Cathy — 18 Comments
Your holiday cookie table is just not complete without these nutty, buttery snowball cookies.

Walnut Snowball Cookies

Here I go again. I’m getting all sentimental about the holidays. But I swear it’s not my fault this time. I’m typing this while my house is quiet…all three boys are safely tucked in bed. I’m nestled under a cozy blanket on the sofa, sipping a glass of red wine with only the glow of the Christmas tree illuminating the room. I’m also knee-deep into season three of Friday Night Lights which, by the way, is only making me more sappy.

Walnut Snowball Cookies

For all of you Friday Night Lights fans, I know, I know, I’m ten years late to the party. And as a bit of a pop culture whore, it’s frankly unacceptable that it’s taken me this long to dive into the show that literally (yes literally) everyone I know has been telling me to watch for years. So, you know what I did? I resisted watching a show that of course I knew I would love. Just because too many people told me I would love it. I never claimed to be reasonable. Stubborn yes, reasonable, eh.

So, yep, they were right. Not only do I love this show, but some might say I’m borderline-addicted. The highs! The lows! The highly flawed, yet lovable characters! Binge watching this series is quite frankly the enemy of a proper night’s sleep, not that I’ve ever been very good at that.

Walnut Snowball Cookies

So here I sit, nursing a glass of red, admiring our well-lit tree and feeling all the feelings. As I watch this show that focuses on family dynamics, rebellious teens and dysfunction, of course it makes me think about my own family. The good, the bad, the real.

I’m reflecting on my childhood, all of the Christmas memories and how they’ve shaped the way I think about the holidays. How I want my children to perceive and experience the holidays. Christmas was about family and friends when I was a kid, not just presents tucked under the tree. It was about baking and cooking and decorating and welcoming people into our home. It was about too much food and always enough drink.

Walnut Snowball Cookies

It was quite simply, the happiest we all were. Problems evaporated, teenager-itis was temporarily put on hold and we enjoyed each other. I’m sure it wasn’t perfect, but that’s the beauty of memories, they’re selective. I remember those large multi-colored bulbs on the tree, the paper-mache angel I made always perched upon the mantel, the smell of my dad’s onion pizza baking.

I remember pressing my thumb into cookies for jam, drizzling glaze over Italian cookies and rolling warm nut cookies into powdered sugar. These snowball cookies are those memories. This recipe (with some minor tweaking) is the recipe I baked with my mom every Christmas. It’s not fussy and it’s not fancy, but it’s tasty and it’s buttery and it’s sweet.

I popped one into my son’s mouth tonight and his eyes lit up. He chewed, swallowed and smiled. And then he said thank you to me for making the holidays so special. Hopefully his memory will always stay so selective. Clear eyes, full hearts can’t lose.

Walnut Snowball Cookies

5 from 2 votes
Walnut Snowball Cookies
Walnut Snowball Cookies
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr
Your holiday cookie table is just not complete without these nutty, buttery snowball cookies.
Course: Dessert
Servings: 30 cookies
Author: Cathy Roma | whatshouldimakefor.com
  • 4 oz 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup ground walnuts or very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar for topping
  1. Cream together the butter and the sugar.
  2. Mix in the flour, salt, ground walnuts and vanilla and blend until just incorporated.
  3. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour or overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  5. Portion the dough into 30 level tablespoons and then roll each into a ball.
  6. Place the balls on a parchment lined sheet pan, about an inch apart. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 mins before baking.
  7. Bake until golden, about 20 mins, rotating the pan once.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pan for about 5 mins.
  9. Place the confectioners sugar in a bowl and toss the warm cookies into the sugar a few at a time until coated.
  10. After all the cookies are sugared, toss them a second time in the confectioners sugar.
  11. Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
Walnut Snowball Cookies

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Filed Under: Cookies/Bars, Holiday, Recipe


18 responses to “Walnut Snowball Cookies”

  1. Clear eyes, full hearts can’t lose. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post. What is it about twinkle lights, a glass of wine and freshly baked cookies? Pass the nostalgia with a side of tissues, please….

  2. Aw, so sweet! I love that you are helping us to focus on what’s most important this time of year! xo

  3. Such a sweet post Cathy! Your boys will have such wonderful memories of a great mom who always made the holidays extra special!! LOVE these cookies! Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without them!

  4. Lovely post and beautiful cookies! Aren’t the holidays magical?!

  5. Cindy says:

    What a sweet evening… love that you are getting sentimental around the Holidays! Those cookies look delicious. YUM!

  6. Hahahaha!!! I’m soooo stubborn too, Cathy! I didn’t watch Game of Thrones until this year… so I was YEARS late to that party too. All because people insisted I’d love it and I’m just super stubborn. Well, they were right. I love it. 😉 And welcome to the FNL party! That show is SO good!! You picked the perfect time to binge watch it. I mean, that show, a glass or three of wine, and a dozen or zillion of these walnut snowball cookies sounds just PERFECT!! These are fabulous, but of course they are, YOU made them! And you are the holiday baking queen! Looks like I have yet another goodie to add to my never-ending list of things to bake! Pinned! Cheers!

    • Cathy says:

      We’re so like minded! I spent an entire summer watching game of thrones for the same reason! The moral to the story is never tell us that we will like something (including okra)!

  7. My favorite part of the holidays is making all those wonderful memories with my daughter like you are with your sons. And snowball cookies are part of our holiday traditions too. I remember making them with my mom and now I make them with my daughter.

  8. This post was such a joy to read, Cathy. I was envisioning everything as I was reading it and it gave me all sorts of happy feelings. You are certainly right. Christmas is about so much more than presents under the tree. As the years pass, it’s definitely the memories that stick and what makes us smile as we reminisce. So sweet!!

  9. Cathy says:

    Thanks Dawn. I’m such a sap around the holidays!!

  10. Cathy says:

    Love that we can pass down the traditions Annemarie. Something so special about kitchen time together.

  11. Lisa Baldini says:

    These cookies are amazing!!! I chilled them overnight in parchment paper so the next morning scooping tablespoonfuls was a little challenging because I didn’t let it sit out to soften. I thought they were pretty chilled so I did not put them in the refrigerator for an additional 15 minutes, should I have? They were not golden on top but underneath they were, so if you’ve never made them do not cook them any longer than 20 minutes
    waiting for them to brown. I have never made this before and I never realized they would be so easy! This is the perfect blend of everything. Thank you so much for sharing a perfect recipe. Merry Christmas

    • Cathy says:

      You made the right call not to re-chill them and pull them while they were still soft. So happy you enjoyed them!!

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