Snowballs (Russian Tea Cakes)

Snowballs were my favorite Christmas cookie that my mother made. She called them Russian Tea Cakes. Some call them Mexican wedding cakes. I call them delicious. These delicate little morsels are made with just 6 ingredients and are great make ahead cookies that freeze really well! All 7 kids of Ida’s have used her recipe that she wrote in cursive on a piece of paper. She shared so many recipes with us!


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snowballs on tree plate with ornament

Snowballs (Russian Teacakes)


Units Scale

Ingredients for Snowballs:

  • 1 1/2 cup room temperature butter
  • 3/4 cup sifted powder sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 2/3 cups sifted flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (scant)
  • 1 1/3 cup finely chopped nuts (we use pecans, but walnuts are also good)
  • 1 cup powder sugar to roll the cookies in, and store them in


Instructions for Snowballs:

Sift flour, ¾ cup powder sugar, and salt into a bowl, set aside.

In a bowl, using a mixer, combine butter, sugar and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients and the chopped nuts, and mix until blended. Chill dough.

Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Convection or 400 F. standard. Using a small scoop, or spoon, form round walnut size balls, and 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.

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.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Category: cookies
  • Method: baking

Keywords: Russian tea cakes, snowballs, cookies, Christmas cookies

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.