Snowballs (Russian Tea Cakes)

Snowballs (Russian Tea Cakes)

Oh, how our family cherishes Snowballs, those delightful Christmas cookies lovingly crafted by none other than my dear mother. In her kitchen, she affectionately referred to them as Russian Tea Cakes, although you might encounter others who know them as Mexican wedding cakes. But to me, they will forever be synonymous with pure deliciousness, a taste that brings back countless fond memories.

These dainty little morsels, with their delicate and tender texture, are created using a surprisingly simple combination of just six basic ingredients. What’s more, their practicality knows no bounds, making them an ideal choice for preparing in advance and freezing without losing any of their delightful qualities. They stand as a testament to the ease and versatility of a truly classic treat.

As I reflect on the family traditions, I can’t help but be reminded of the handwritten recipe on a piece of paper, carefully crafted in elegant cursive by my beloved mother, Ida. Her culinary legacy has not only been cherished by me but has been carried forward by all seven of her children. We’ve all taken turns in her kitchen, mastering the art of crafting these cherished Snowballs, ensuring that her delectable creations continue to bring joy to our family gatherings year after year.

The generosity of my mother extended beyond just this treasured recipe. She graciously shared numerous culinary secrets with all of us, creating a bond that goes beyond the kitchen. In every dish she prepared, her love and care were evident, and those moments continue to resonate in our hearts. My brothers and sisters all had a favorite recipe. Dennis, Diane, Dana, Denise, Dolores, Doreen, and course, me, Dina.

In essence, these Snowballs represent more than just a delightful holiday treat; they embody the warmth, love, and togetherness that family and cherished traditions bring. As I savor each Snowball, I am filled with gratitude for the culinary heritage passed down by my mother, and I eagerly anticipate sharing these scrumptious delights with generations to come, keeping alive the precious memories she left with us.

Why you will love these Snowballs:

Simplicity: A 6-ingredient recipe is appealing to many because it’s simple and easy to follow. People often appreciate recipes that don’t require a long list of ingredients or complex cooking techniques.

Quick preparation: With only six ingredients, the preparation time is usually minimal. This is especially convenient during busy times or when you want to whip up a batch of cookies without spending too much time in the kitchen.

Familiar flavors: Snowball cookies typically have a delightful blend of flavors, including buttery, nutty, and sweet. These flavors are familiar and comforting, evoking a sense of nostalgia for many, especially during holiday gatherings.

Festive appearance: The snowy, powdered sugar coating on snowball cookies adds a festive touch. These cookies look attractive on a dessert table, making them popular choices for holiday parties and gatherings.

Versatility: While the base ingredients for snowball cookies are consistent, there’s room for customization. Some people may add different nuts (such as almonds or walnuts) or leave the nuts out completly!

Texture: Snowball cookies have a unique texture that many people enjoy. They are crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth treats that provide a delightful eating experience.

Perfect for Gifts!: Snowball cookies are often baked in large batches, making them ideal for sharing with friends, family, and colleagues. Additionally, they make great edible gifts during the holiday season.

Overall, the love for this 6-ingredient snowball cookie recipe likely stems from its simplicity, delicious flavors, and festive charm, making it a favorite among cookie enthusiasts and holiday bakers alike.

snowballs on tree plate with ornament

Russian Teacakes (Snowballs)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 32 minutes
Course: cookies
Cuisine: American, Mexican, Russian
Keyword: christmas cookies cookies, snowball cookies, snowballs
Servings: 36 cookies
Calories: 163kcal
Author: Bruce and Dina Miller


  • large mixing bowl
  • measuring cups
  • Measuring spooons


Ingredients for Snowballs:

  • 1 ½ cup butter room temperature
  • ¾ cup powder sugar sifted
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 2/3 cups flour sifted
  • ½ teaspoon salt scant
  • 1 1/3 cup pecans finely chopped
  • 1 cup powder sugar to roll cookies in, and store them in


Instructions for Snowballs:

  • In a bowl, using a mixer, combine butter, sugar and vanilla.
    ¾ cup powder sugar, 1 ½ cup butter, 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Mix in flour and salt.
    3 2/3 cups flour, ½ teaspoon salt
  • Mix in chopped nuts, place in fridge for at least 1 hour to chill.
    1 1/3 cup pecans
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 F. standard or 375 F. convection oven.
  • Using a small scoop, or spoon, scoop up dough into your hands and form round walnut size balls. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. These are not going to spread like standard cookies, so 1 inch is okay.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until firm to the touch. Like shortbreads, you do not want to brown these cookies.  Remove pan of cookies from oven, and allow to rest for about 3 minutes.
  • You will be “double” rolling these in the powder sugar. The first time when they are still warm, but not too hot. Once you do this, sit them on a rack to cool a bit. The powder sugar actually will feel almost like it is melting into the cookie. The first roll will not get that “snowy” look.
    1 cup powder sugar
  • Once you have completed rolling all the cookies one time, repeat process. Allow cookies to completely cool, and store in an airtight container, with a little extra powder sugar to keep them snowy!


Use extra powder sugar in the container you store these in to help keep them coated.


Serving: 2cookies | Calories: 163kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 94mg | Potassium: 31mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 238IU | Vitamin C: 0.04mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Give these other cookies a try soon!

Dina and Bruce at the Golden Gate Bridge

Hi, we are Bruce and Dina Miller. We love to cook every night. We enjoy making a few healthy dishes, and also comfort food. We love crafting cocktails too! Come take a look, we would love to share our recipes with you.


  1. Kushigalu Reply

    5 stars
    Beautiful tea cakes for holidays. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Andrea Reply

    5 stars
    These snowballs are so easy to make and taste fantastic. They are a perfect addition to my Holiday cookie tray.

  3. Nathan Reply

    5 stars
    I love these snowballs, so simple and so satisfying! These always bring me right back to my favorite holiday memories. I’ll be eating these all winter long!

  4. Justine Reply

    I had never made these, but looked forward to them every holiday season! I didn’t realize they were so easy – now I can have them anytime. 🙂

  5. Anjali Reply

    5 stars
    These turned out so well!! Thanks for the tip about “double rolling” them too — that really did help the powdered sugar stick to the cookies!

    • Dina and Bruce at the Golden Gate Bridge

      Bruce and Dina Miller Reply


      Of course! My mom tought me that trick! Happy Holidays!

      Dina and Bruce

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.