Pecan Snowball cookies

One of the first cookies I learned to make were these crumbly butter pecan snowball cookies that my mum called Swiss Butter Cookies. They are butter pecan shortbread cookies with a melt in the mouth tender quality that keeps you reaching for more and I have renamed them Pecan Snowball cookies.

I did not realise why she called them Swiss Butter Cookies until I watched something on television one night where they had an aerial footage over the Swiss Alps, and the first thing I thought of were these cookies and how much they resembled those snowy peaks.

Pecan Snowball cookies appear to be very similar to traditional Mexican wedding cookies, Italian wedding cookies, Russian tea cakes, Butterballs or Snowdrop cookies with some differences in the types of nuts used.

As much as I love these pecan cookies as a child, I disliked the process of having to chop the nuts by hand; then waiting for the dough to chill before making the little balls. Now that I am older, I find the process therapeutic and prefer chopping the nuts by hand to ensure they are exactly the right size 🙂 A touch of OCD shining through there, or ‘being nitpicky’ as my mother (may ALLAH have mercy on her soul and grant her the highest paradise), referred to it.

Although the cookie recipe calls for chopped pecans or walnuts to be added to the dough, my mother sometimes left out the chopped nuts and placed a single chocolate drop or chocolate covered hazelnut in the center instead. The snowball cookies with no nuts was equally popular in our family.

Top tips for making Pecan Snowball Cookies

  • Weigh the ingredients to ensure the perfect result.
  • Always use room temperature softened butter to make it easier to cream with the confectioner’s sugar. I usually take it out the night before I want to bake and let it sit out on the counter in the kitchen.
  • Taste the nuts before use and ensure that they are fresh. There is nothing worse than biting on a rancid nut.
  • Chop the nuts as evenly as possible. I would not recommend using a food processor for this as you do not want nut dust or uneven big pieces.
  • If you prefer a nut free version, leave out the chopped nuts and place a tiny Hershey’s or other brand of chocolate drop in the center.
  • The pecan cookie balls are rolled or dusted with confectioners sugar while they are still warm and then a second time. This gives exactly the right amount of sweetness.

Cookie Variations

  • Replace the chopped pecans with chopped walnuts for Walnut Snowball cookies.
  • Replace the chopped pecans with chopped almonds for Almond Snowball cookies
  • Replace 65 grams or 1/2 cup cake flour in the cookie dough with cocoa powder for Chocolate Snowball cookies.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of mixed spice to the flour for Spiced Snowball cookies.

These Swiss Butter Cookies with pecans are the perfect treat for Afternoon tea tables, with their melt in the mouth, rich buttery flavor and aroma. You may also want to try other cookie or baking recipes below.

Swiss butter cookies with pecans

Pecan Snowball cookies

Melt in the mouth crumbly shortbread pecan snowball cookies rolled in confectioner's sugar.
Print Pin Rate
Prep time: 45 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Chilling time: 1 hr 10 mins
Total time: 1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 36
Calories: 119kcal
Author: Razena Schroeder

Ingredients

  • 250 grams salted butter (at room temperature)
  • 60 ml icing sugar (sifted, approximately 4 tbsp )
  • 5 ml vanilla extract (approximately 1 tsp)
  • 260 grams cake flour (approximately 500 ml or 2 cups)
  • 115 grams pecans (chopped, approximately 250 ml or 1 cup)
  • 140 grams icing sugar to decorate (approximately 250 ml or 1 cup)

Instructions

  • Cream the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the vanilla extract, flour and nuts and mix to a ball. Allow the dough to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes as it will be very soft and difficult to shape.
  • Shape small pieces of dough into balls and refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking to ensure a good shape and texture. I use a small ice cream scoop to ensure even sized balls.
  • If using mini chocolates instead of chopped nuts, place one in the centre of the ball.
  • Chill again for 10 minutes before baking.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170 celcius
  • Sift icing sugar over the hot cookies and leave to cool.

Notes

Variations of Snowball cookies
  • Replace the chopped pecans with chopped walnuts for Walnut Snowball cookies.
  • Replace the chopped pecans with chopped almonds for Almond Snowball cookies
  • Replace 65 grams or 1/2 cup cake flour in the cookie dough with cocoa powder for Chocolate Snowball cookies.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of mixed spice to the flour for Spiced Snowball cookies.

Nutrition

Serving: 30g | Calories: 119kcal (6%) | Carbohydrates: 11g (4%) | Protein: 1g (2%) | Fat: 8g (12%) | Saturated Fat: 3g (19%) | Cholesterol: 14mg (5%) | Sodium: 49mg (2%) | Potassium: 21mg (1%) | Sugar: 5g (6%) | Vitamin A: 175IU (4%) | Calcium: 5mg (1%) | Iron: 0.1mg (1%)

Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.

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