Snowball cookies are a name that is generally given to small, round cookies that are covered in confectioners’ sugar and melt in your mouth. They look like tiny snowballs and have a wonderfully tender texture to them. I’ve had all kinds – from plain butter cookies to spice cookies – but one of my favorite variations is for Swirled Holiday Snowball Cookies. These cookies include red and green sprinkles in the dough, giving them pops of holiday color when you bite into them. After making yet another batch of these classics, I realized that I could put even more color into my snowballs so that you get a much bigger surprise when you bite through that layer of “snow.”
These Red Velvet Snowball Cookies are a fun holiday cookie to make. The dough for the cookies is bright red and it has that familiar hint of cococa flavor to it that a red velvet cake has. Unlike a red velvet cake, however, there is no buttermilk in these cookies. Instead, they are made with plenty of butter – so they have a nice butter flavor – and with ground almonds, which keep them nice and tender. They’re a dramatic looking cookie, but they’re actually very simple to make and a great cookie to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee.
The cookie base for this recipe is not too sweet so that when the cookies are coated with confectioners’ sugar after they have cooled, the flavors will all be balanced. This also means that you shouldn’t skimp on the confectioners’ sugar because you want the cookies to have that little extra sweetness as well as a generous coating of white “snow” to finish off their look.
Red Velvet Snowball Cookies
1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tbsp confectionersâ€™ sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cocoa powder
approx. 1/2 tsp red food coloring
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour/meal
extra confectionersâ€™ sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth and creamy. Beat in cocoa powder and red food coloring until the mixture is bright red. Add additional coloring if needed.
Gradually incorporate the flour and ground almonds, mixing until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are very lightly browned.
Allow cookies to cool for 3-4 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When cooled, roll cookies in confectioners’ sugar until well-coated in white “snow.”
Store in an airtight bag.
Cool completely on a wire rack before storing.
Makes about 4 dozen
Cheryl NewtonDecember 17, 2012
1/2 tsp. red food coloring? Is that right?
LucÃaDecember 17, 2012
They look wonderful!, thanks for the recipe!! 🙂
NicoleDecember 18, 2012
Cheryl – Yes, that is correct. You need a good amount of food coloring to get the color nice and bright in these. If you have a gel food coloring, you will probably need less. If you have a natural food coloring, you may need slightly more or less depending on the brand.
MaloyDecember 19, 2012
What can I substitute with almond flour? We do not have it here. Thanks
NicoleDecember 20, 2012
Maloy – You can make it yourself by finely grinding almonds in the food processor. You could also substitute any other kind of ground up nut, such as walnut or pecan “flour”.
FrimchieDecember 26, 2012
is almond flour just finely ground almonds?
Frimchie – Yes, it is just finely ground almonds. It is also sold as almond meal.
BriJanuary 2, 2013
Do you know approx how many calories are in these cookies?
LisaDecember 18, 2013
I don’t want to use almonds. Can I just leave that ingredient out?
NicoleDecember 18, 2013
Lisa – The ground almonds really help to tenderize these cookies. If you don’t want to use them, they need to be substituted with another ingredient. In this particular recipe, cornstarch will work fairly well as a substitute.