Retro Holiday Cookies: Snowball Recipe

When I think of the holidays, I reminisce on old-fashioned, retro food: Calamari sauce, calamari salad, roasts of all carnivorous persuasions, Grandma’s “hooch,” Lou Palma’s “Christmas Peppers,” strufoli, and most of all - enormous trays of cookies!

One of my holiday cookies are Grandma’s “Snowballs,” which surprisingly contain no nuts.  I found the recipe in Grandma’s Recipe Box.   Give it a try, they are very easy!

*Photo credit:

Snowballs (Russian Tea Cookies)


½ cup butter

½ cup confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

½ tsp. almond extract

1 cup flour


Combine all ingredients, mix well. Refrigerate dough until chilled. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven. Once baked, roll while still hot in confectioners' sugar until coated. Let cool. Lightly dust with more confectioners' sugar.

If you prefer to on have nuts in your Snowballs, here’s a Russian Tea Cake recipe, with nuts:

Russian Tea Cookies

1 cup butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar, plus more for rolling cookies

2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F Cream butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla then gradually add the 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Sift the flour, measure, then sift again with the salt. Add gradually to the butter mixture. Add the pecans and mix well.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten slightly using the bottom of a glass, then bake for 20 minutes, or until edges are very lightly browned. Remove the cookies from the baking sheets and roll in powdered sugar while still hot. Cool on wire racks and roll cookies again in powdered sugar before serving.

Once they are completely cooled, cookies may be stored in airtight containers for up to 1 week.


Stay tuned to Hot From The Kettle for more retro cookie recipes straight from Grandma’s Recipe Box! Up next: Potato Chip Cookies!