I am a huge fan of snowball cookies and always make up at least one batch during the holiday season. This type of cookie gets its name because the cookies are rolled in confectioners’ sugar to look like little snowballs, but it is also because the cookies have a wonderful melt-in-your-mouth quality to them. If you enjoy a buttery, tender shortbread, you’re going to be a fan of snowballs.
These Lemon and White Chocolate Snowballs are a new favorite snowball flavor for me, and they’ve proven to be a hit every time I’ve served them. The buttery cookies are made with both regular all purpose flour and almond flour, or ground almonds. The almonds give the cookies a really nice nuttiness and are one of the reasons that the cookies are so light and tender. You’ll be able to taste a hint of almond in each bite, as well as a bright pop of lemon. The confectioners’ sugar coating the cookies might look like it would make them extremely sweet, but the cookies themselves are very balanced and the sugar on top adds just the right extra touch of sweetness. Make sure that the cookies are completely cool before rolling them in confectioners’ sugar, as the sugar will melt right off if the cookies are even slightly warm.
The “secret” ingredient in these cookies is the white chocolate. I say it is a secret, even though it is in the name of the cookie, because you can’t really see the chocolate in the cookies. I chopped up the chocolate very finely and stirred it into the cookie dough. This gave the cookies a little extra sweetness and a hint of creamy vanilla that they wouldn’t get from vanilla extract alone. It makes a very flavorful platform for the bright lemon zest to stand on. That said, if you want to add a little bit more texture to your snowballs, you could chop the white chocolate more coarsely to give it a little more prominence, while keeping the same overall flavor profile.
These cookies keep extremely well and can be stored in an airtight container for many days after baking. It’s great to make a big batch just so you can have them around for snacking. They can also be frozen, if you find that you need them for even longer term treats.
Lemon and White Chocolate Snowballs
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon zest
3 oz white chocolate, finely chopped (approx 1/4 cup)
1 cup confectioners sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, almond meal and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy and well-combined. Beat in vanilla extract and lemon zest. Gradually blend in the flour mixture with the mixture on low speed. The dough will be very thick, but it will come together. Blend in finely chopped white chocolate.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls – chill dough for 20 minutes, if it seems sticky or your kitchen is warm – and place onto prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1-inch between cookies to allow dough to spread.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are set and are very lightly browned around the edges.
Allow cookies to cool for 3-4 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When cookies have completely cooled, roll in additional confectioners’ sugar.
Makes 2 1/2 – 3 dozen.