My Gluten-Free Pecan Snowball Cookies are the best, most tender, crumbly, melt-in-the-mouth cookie that you will ever eat. Not only are they incredibly easy to make, but they also are difficult to resist. Serve them at morning tea, after dinner with a cup of coffee or as a great sweet treat at any time.
Why we love this recipe:
Cookies, similar to these, are also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Teacakes, Kourabiedes or Pecan Puffs. However, this cookie, by any other name is delicious. These light-as-a-cloud, buttery shortbreads, which are given their texture and flavour by the addition of ground pecans, literally melt in your mouth!
These cookies are a perfect example of how combining a few simple ingredients can produce a delicious outcome. They are proof that recipes need not be complicated. I love their light-as-air texture and their not-too-sweet flavour. It does, however, make them difficult to resist and easy to eat!
This is a recipe that my Grandma taught my Mum to make, and it is a family favourite!
You will love this recipe because:
- The Gluten-Free Pecan Snowball Cookies are so easy to make. I use a food processor to grind the pecans and then process with the remaining ingredients to form a dough. So simple!
- These small, sweet treats are wonderful for any celebration, such as Christmas, Mother’s Day, or Easter. Or, bake them at any time and celebrate for no particular reason.
- They are ideal to take to a potluck or popular at any shared meal, be it a picnic or barbecue. No matter where you serve them, your plate will be emptied. As well, they make great gifts. Place them on a small plate or into a tissue-paper lined box, wrap with cellophane and tie with a pretty ribbon.
- My Pecan Snowball Cookies are gluten-free and egg-free making them suitable for people with special dietary requirements.
Ingredients in this recipe:
Please see the recipe card further along in the post for exact quantities of ingredients and the full method.
Pecans – which have been shelled. We use whole pecans which we grind ourselves.
Butter – I use good quality unsalted butter so that I can control the amount of salt in the cookie. If you only have salted, just omit the addition of salt.
Salt – I prefer to use coarse kitchen salt. Do not use table or iodised salt.
Caster sugar – also known as superfine sugar.
Vanilla extract – use good quality vanilla extract which is naturally extracted from vanilla beans. For the best flavour, do not use vanilla which is synthetically produced.
Gluten-free plain/all-purpose flour – our gluten-free flour blends contain either xanthan or guar gum to stabilise and provide structure to our recipes. If your flour blend already contains either of these gums, there is no need to add more. If you do not require the recipe to be gluten-free, you can use regular flour.
Icing sugar/powdered sugar – I use pure icing sugar as some icing blends contain gluten. Always check the label.
Step by step instructions:
- To begin, add the pecans to a food processor and grind to a coarse powder.
- Then, add the butter, salt, caster/superfine sugar and vanilla extract and pulse a few times to briefly combine the ingredients.
- Finally, add the flour to the food processor and blend until the ingredients just come together. Do not overwork the dough.
- Turn the dough onto cling wrap and bring it together to form a disc. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until the dough firms up.
- Next, roll the dough into small balls and place them onto a prepared baking tray. Bake in a pre-heated oven 25-30 minutes or until light golden on the edges.
- Remove the Cookies from the oven and leave them to cool slightly on the tray for about 3 minutes. Then, sift the icing/powdered sugar onto a plate, roll the cookies in the sugar then return them to the baking tray and back to the oven for 2-3 minutes to set the sugar. Cool for 5 minutes before very carefully removing them to a rack to cool completely.
Tips for success and FAQs:
It is important to not grind the pecans too fine. If you take them too far you will end up with pecan butter. A coarse grind is preferred as it also provides a little texture to the cookies.
Use good quality butter as it is a key ingredient. It is important to have the butter at cool room temperature as this will ensure that the ingredients combine easily.
After mixing the dough, chill it for at least 30 minutes. This will help the dough firm up making it easier to roll into balls. Finally, the step of rolling the baked Pecan Snowball Cookies in icing/powdered sugar is an important one. It helps the sugar to adhere to the cookie.
If you’re making them on a day when your kitchen is warm, I recommend that after you roll the dough into balls you place the baking tray into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to prevent the cookies from spreading too much.
The cookies are best enjoyed within 3 days of baking.
I have made the Pecan Snowball Cookies, with great success, using ground almonds in place of the crushed pecans. I prefer to grind my own almonds, as I find the texture of almond meal/flour to be too fine.
More delicious recipes for to you to try:
We just love to bake cookies! Here are some more of our favourite gluten-free recipes for you to try:
You will love these Gluten-Free Pecan Snowball Cookies. Their ease of preparation and fantastic taste is sure to become your next favourite. Be sure to let me know in the comments below when you have given them a try.
This post was originally published in March 2019. It has been updated with new photos and more information. The recipe remains the same.
Gluten-Free Pecan Snowball Cookies
- 110 g (4 oz) pecans – shelled See Note 1
- 110 g (4 oz) unsalted butter – at cool room temperature See Note 2
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ tablespoon caster sugar/superfine See Note 3
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract See Note 4
- 150 g (1 cup) gluten free plain/all-purpose flour See Note 5
- 45 g (⅓ cup) pure icing/powdered sugar See Note 6
For accuracy, when weights are provided, we recommend weighing your ingredients. This will produce the best results.
- Preheat your oven to 150 Degrees C (300 F).Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
- Add the pecans to a food processor and grind to a coarse powder.
- Add the butter, salt, sugar and vanilla extract and pulse a few times to briefly combine.
- Add the flour to the food processor.Process the ingredients until they just come together. Do not overwork the dough.
- Turn the dough onto some cling wrap.
- Bring the dough together and form a disc. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until the dough is firm enough to roll into small balls.
- Take about 1 ½ teaspoons of mixture and roll into balls, about 2 ½ cm (1 inch) diameter. Place the balls on the prepared baking tray, leaving a gap between each one.
- Bake about 25-30 minutes until light golden on the edges.Remove from the oven and leave the biscuits to cool slightly on the tray for about 3 minutes. Keep the oven on.
- Sift the icing/powdered sugar onto a plate. Roll the cookies in the sugar then gently place them on the baking tray.
- Return the tray to the oven for 2-3 minutes to set the icing/powdered sugar.Cool the cookies for 5 minutes before carefully removing them to a rack to cool completely. (They are fragile at this stage.)
- Store in an airtight container.To serve, dust with a little extra icing/powdered sugar.
- This is the prepared weight of the shelled pecans.
- The butter should be soft enough to work with, but still holding its shape. If it is a hot day, use the softened butter as soon as possible.
- In Australia, the tablespoon is 20 ml or 4 teaspoons. In many other countries, the tablespoon is 15 ml or 3 teaspoons. Please adjust the measurement if necessary.
- Use vanilla naturally extracted from vanilla beans, not synthetically flavoured essence.
- Our gluten-free flour blends contain either xanthan or guar gum to stabilise and provide structure to our recipes. If your flour blend already contains either of these gums, there is no need to add more. If you do not require the recipe to be gluten-free, you can use regular flour.
- Pure icing/powdered sugar is naturally gluten-free. If you use an icing mixture ensure that it is gluten-free.
- Please note, the nutritional information is based on one cookie. The nutritional information is an estimate only.
The nutritional information is an estimate only, and is derived from online calculators. For accurate results, we recommend calculating the nutritional information based on the ingredients and brands you use.