Snowball cookies are a great cookie to make during the winter because their look really fits the season, even if you don’t live somewhere where it snows. Snowball cookies are always covered in a layer of confectioners’ sugar that makes them resemble snowballs – hence the name – but they can come in a wide variety of flavors and colors. These Peppermint Mocha Snowball Cookies are inspired by one of the most popular holiday drinks out there and they’re a fitting tribute that also happens to pair extremely well with a liquid peppermint mocha.
The snowballs start with a buttery shortbread cookie base. Cocoa powder, vanilla extract and peppermint extract are all added to build the mint chocolate flavor. I added instant espresso powder, as well, so that you could taste a bit of coffee in each bite. I prefer instant espresso power to regular instant coffee because it has a more intense flavor and stands out a bit more. If you don’t have it, instant coffee can be used. I do recommend Starbucks Via, which is more intense than your average instant coffee powder, for most baking applications, including this one.
The dough will appear to be a bit dry as it comes together, but it will come together as you keep mixing. Once the dough does come together, it should be shaped into balls and baked until just set. The chocolate cookies should be completely cooled before rolling them in confectioners’ sugar to finish the snowball look. You’ll get a more even coating on cooled cookies and, since the sugar won’t melt from the heat of the oven, you’ll get a better color.
The cookies definitely capture the peppermint mocha flavor, with a well-balanced combination of mocha and mint. They’re tender and almost melt in your mouth when you eat them, making them quite addictive. Each cookie is large enough for about two big bites, or several smaller nibbles. The recipe can be halved to make a smaller batch, but since they keep well and only get better as they sit, there is no harm in making a big batch and putting some away in an airtight container for another day.
Peppermint Mocha Snowball Cookies
1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp instant espresso powder (or instant coffee)
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour/meal
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
extra confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, vanilla extract, peppermint extract and salt until smooth and creamy. Beat in cocoa powder and espresso /coffee powder until well-incorporated.
Gradually mix in the flour and ground almonds at low speed, mixing until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. The dough may appear very dry at first, but it will come together as you mix.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are set and a bit firm to the touch. 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 container.
Makes about 4 dozen