Pecan Gluten Free Snowball Cookies

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This is a small batch recipe for gluten free snowball cookies that feature pecans and cinnamon for a festive holiday cookie!  The gluten free cookies are made with almond flour and a few other simple ingredients.  Perfect for a cookie swap or dessert table, the tender and sweet Christmas cookies are sure to be a hit! 

Gluten Free Snowball Cookies Recipe

The snowball cookie is aptly named for it’s idyllic frosty appearance, and the fact that it shows up on almost every Christmas cookie platter!  The soft and tender cookies made with butter, flour (almond flour in our case), and powdered sugar are also known as Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies.

These frosty little cookies would show up every holiday For as long as I can remember.  Along with brightly decorated cut-out sugar cookies, almost too cut to eat candy cane cookies, classic chocolate chip cookies, and fudge.  It’s a wonder I didn’t end up with a mouthful of cavities as a kid!

For this snowball recipe, we keep it small batch with 12 perfectly sized cookies.  And the cookie is made gluten free with an easy mix of almond flour and arrowroot flour.  Though, probably the most important component of the cookie is the dusting of powdered sugar.  I know that’s why you’re here!  Wink

Why You’ll Love These Gluten Free Snowballs

  • Easy to make 
  • Buttery 
  • Not overly sweet
  • Melt in your mouth tender
  • Festive Christmas cookie
  • Customize with any mix-in, sprinkle, or nut
Gluten free snowball cookies arranged in a small white cookie tray.

Everything You Need To Make Pecan Gluten Free Snowball Cookies

Ingredients

  • Almond Flour – Almond flour adds protein, structure, flavor, and moisture to the cookies.  Almond flour is the base for almost all of my gluten free recipes.
  • Arrowroot Flour – Arrowroot combines with the almond flour to make the cookies lighter and tender.
  • Salt – A must for flavor!
  • Cinnamon – Cinnamon is a nice spice for the holidays, but is optional. 
  • Unsalted Butter – Butter serves as the base for the cookies for flavor and texture.
  • Powdered Sugar – It must be powdered sugar to get the shape and texture. 
  • Vanilla Extract – A little for a layer of flavor.
  • Pecans – The pecans can be toasted or un-toasted and are another flavor to punctuate the holidays!  Just like we do for my holiday pecan brown sugar cookies and cranberry pecan crumble bars!

Baking Equipment

  • Mixer – A hand held mixer or stand mixer with small 3 quart mixing bowl.  This cookie dough is too tough to try to mix by hand.
  • Baking Sheet Lined With Parchment
  • Tablespoon Measuring Spoon – To equally portion the perfect size cookie.

Tips For Success

  • Use room temperature butter – To successfully hydrate and mix the dough.
  • Chill the dough – Since this is a this is a butter-based cookie, we want to give the butter some time to firm back up before baking.  Otherwise, the cookies are likely to spread.
  • Small tablespoon-size cookies – Make the best snowball cookies.  Any larger, and you run the risk of the middles being too soft.
  • Only powdered sugar – Granulated sugar may make the cookies spread.  Whereas the powdered sugar keeps the cookies light and tender.
  • Coat the cookies twice in the powdered sugar – Just like the chocolate crinkle cookies and molasses crinkle cookies, the extra roll through the sugar gives these cookies their snow-kissed appearance.
A dozen gluten free pecan snowball cookies arranged in small stacks on a white table.
A white plate of snow white snowball cookies with powdered sugar.

snowball cookies faq’s

Can this recipe be doubled?

I think this would work fine.

Will a 1:1 gluten free flour work instead of the almond flour?

I can’t say for certain. I find the 1:1 flours to be much drier than my almond flour blend, so other ingredient ratios may need to be adjusted.

Is it necessary to chill the dough?

Yes. Otherwise the cookies may spread and flatten when baked.

How do I make sure the powdered sugar sticks?

Roll the cookies once through powdered sugar when they are slightly warm from the oven. Then again once they have cooled.

Can I freeze the cookie dough?

Yes. Wrap tightly and freeze for up to 3 months, and thaw in the refrigerator. Then scoop and bake.

Can I freeze the baked and coated in powdered sugar cookies?

Yes. But only roll the cookies through the powdered sugar the first time. Then wrap tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature. Then roll the second time through the powdered sugar.

A stack of gluten free pecan snowball cookies set in a white cookie tray.
A short stack of gluten free snowball cookies with a bite out of one.
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5 from 1 review

Pecan Gluten Free Snowball Cookies Recipe

Yield: 12 Cookies
This is a small batch recipe for gluten free snowball cookies that feature pecans and cinnamon for a festive holiday cookie!  The gluten free cookies are made with almond flour and a few other simple ingredients.  Perfect for a cookie swap or dessert table, the tender and sweet Christmas cookies are sure to be a hit! 
Prep15 mins
Cook15 mins
Chill30 mins
Total1 hr

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup blanched almond flour
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot starch/flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 3 and 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (plus 3 tablespoons to coat the cookies)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped (toasted optional)

Instructions

  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, arrowroot flour, salt, and ground cinnamon (if using).
  • In a medium mixing bowl using a hand held mixer, or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1/4 cup powdered sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Note – see the Notes below for using the stand mixer.
  • In increments, sprinkle the dry ingredients over the butter mixture and beat on low speed until all of the flour has been added. Once all the flour is added, turn the speed up to medium and beat until all the flour is incorporated, no dry streaks remain, and a moistened dough forms. Note – The dough will seem dry as you're adding and mixing in the flour, but continue to mix and a dough will form.
  • Add the chopped pecans (if using), and beat until just incorporated. Note – Toasting the pecans is an option and will elevate the nut flavor.
  • Cover the dough and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Add the 3 tablespoons powdered sugar to a small bowl.
  • Using a tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop and roll into a ball 12 cookies. Place on the baking sheet at least 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, or until the edges turn light golden brown.
  • Cool the cookies on the baking sheet set on a wire cooling rack for 5 to 7 minutes. Then (carefully if still very warm), roll the cookies through the powdered sugar and set on the wire rack to cool completely. The first powdered sugar coating may melt into the cookies, and that's ok! Roll the cooled cookies through the powdered sugar again once they are cool. Enjoy!
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Notes

  • Serving Size – This recipe is intended to be a small batch, and only tested as a small batch.  However, this recipe can easily be doubled if needed.
  • Stand Mixer – You can use your tilt head stand mixer and the standard attachments with a small 3 quart mixing bowl.  The small mixing bowl is more effective for small batch recipes.  Otherwise, the regular size mixing bowl may not mix the butter effectively (it will just smear it along the side of the bowl!)
  • Cookie Size – The snowball cookies are intended to be small so they get the proper bake all the way through.  Any larger than a 1 tablespoon cookie, and the centers may be soft.
  • Chill The Dough – Because of the butter, the cookie dough does need time in the refrigerator to allow it to chill and firm.  Otherwise, the cookies may spread/melt when baked.
  • Double Coating – I like to roll the cookies through the powdered sugar twice to achieve that special flavor and texture.  You can skip the first roll, and just roll the cookies through the powdered sugar once they are cool.
  • Toasted Pecans – If toasting the pecans, spread on a small baking sheet and bake at 350F degrees for about 5 minutes.  Let them cool slightly before chopping into small pieces.
  • Different Mix-In’s – Swap in any nut you like for the pecans – like walnuts or almonds.  You can also add mini chocolate chips or sprinkles.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Erin Cernich

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