Love them or hate them? I find this is one of those holiday treats that people feel passionate about. Either they adore them for their simple flavour and cute looks. Or... you dislike the taste completely, complain that the sugar makes a mess and generally avoid them at all costs.
If you love them chances are you have a strong German/Russian/Eastern European background making these a childhood memory. You've experienced the timeless perfected recipe based down along the generations tweeked here and there.
A snowball is a buttery ball of shortbread cookie, filled with chopped nuts and rolled in confectioners sugar to give it that "snowball" look.
Most recipes use pecans but my mother and Baba both used walnuts and I agree. It give more earthy flavour but keeps the sweetness from the sugar balanced nicely. Without being paired with chocolate as with brownies, or mixed with rum, raisins and lots of strong spices as in Christmas cake the walnuts really get a bit of time on the centre stage.
1 cup unsalted softened butter
4 Tbsp. White sugar
2 tsps. Vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups ground walnuts
1 to 2 cups confectioners sugar
Using electric mixer on low cream together butter and sugar. Beat in vanilla and salt. Gradually add flour and beat until combined. Stir in walnuts.
Divide dough in half and wrap each portion in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Make cookies in 1 inch balls. Roll each one in the palms of you hands to create smooth balls.
Bake for 12 min. They should be lightly brown but not cracked! Allow to cool 2 mins then roll in a bowl of confectioners sugar. Make sure you do this when the balls are still warm so the sugar sticks. Allow cookies to cool completely and then repeat rolling in sugar. This gives that fluffy texture.
I encourage everyone to try these out. They are really so simple and fun!