Southern Pecan Butterballs are known by many names: Snowball Cookies, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes and Danish Wedding Cookies! Whatever you call them, they are delicious!
SNOWBALLS, WEDDING COOKIES, TEA CAKES
These little cookies are near and dear to my heart. They are a cookie that my Mom and I just love. They are a buttery, crumbly cookie that are similar to shortbread in texture (like Pecan Sandies) and covered with powdered sugar. These Southern Pecan Butterballs are always a hit at holiday parties and cookie exchanges! And they are so easy to make!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ’S):
No, however I think butter shortening actually tastes better than butter in these (I’ve done blind taste tests with many people and the butter shortening always won.) It also keeps them shelf stable for longer so you don’t have to worry about refrigeration. However, you could certainly substitute with butter if you insist.
While pecans are traditional to the recipe, you could leave them out or substitute with walnuts if you prefer those.
Absolutely! This recipe is easily doubled or tripled!
It will be a little crumbly until you roll it. The heat of your hands will help it come together. If not, pop the bowl of dough (in a microwave safe bowl of course) into the microwave for a few seconds at a time until the shortening starts to soften up some making the dough a bit easier to handle.
Because of the shortening, these cookies are shelf stable. Therefore you can keep them stored in an airtight container where they will last for up to 10 days or refrigerate them and they’ll be good for a month. This does not apply to the cookies if you made them with butter. The cookies can also be frozen! Place cookies in a freezer safe container or bag and they will keep for up to 3 months.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (FULL RECIPE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST)
- butter flavored vegetable shortening (Crisco)
- powdered sugar
- vanilla extract
- all-purpose flour
- baking soda
- chopped pecans
HOW TO MAKE SOUTHERN PECAN BUTTERBALLS:
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Note: I wouldn’t use nonstick cooking spray on the baking pans for these cookies. It will cause the cookies to get a bit too brown on the bottoms. If you don’t have parchment paper, just use an ungreased baking sheet. In a medium bowl, combine shortening, powdered sugar and vanilla. You’ll want to use your stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer for this. Start on a low setting so the powdered sugar doesn’t fly up.
Mix until smooth.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.
Give it all a stir with a large fork.
Then gently begin adding the flour mixture to the shortening mixture. Add just a little at a time so the flour doesn’t fly everywhere. Stir until combined. For those of you with a stand mixer, remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl so all of your ingredients get evenly incorporated.
Stir pecans into batter. If you’ve never worked with this kind of batter before, it’s not going to look like your typical cookie batter. It’ll be kinda loose. But don’t worry, it comes together nicely!
Roll dough into walnut-sized balls. I think this is easiest if using a spring loaded cookie scooper. Then roll them in your hands to get a nice circle. The heat from your hands will also help them come together. Place them about 1 1/2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.
Bake for about 15 minutes until the edges just begin to brown slightly. Note: If you have a conventional oven, it really is best to only bake one cookie sheet, in the middle rack, at a time. Baking more than one at a time will often cause uneven baking.
While the cookies are baking, get a bowl of powdered sugar ready for dipping. Let cookies cool for just a couple of minutes. After baking, roll the cookies in the powdered sugar.
Place them on a platter (or just roll out a sheet of wax paper) and let cookies finish cooling.
Once they are cool, roll cookies a second time into the powdered sugar. The second dipping ensures even and smooth coating.
CRAVING MORE RECIPES? GIVE THESE A TRY!
Originally published: December 2012
Updated and republished: December 2022
Southern Pecan Butterballs (+Video)
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, combine shortening, powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Give it all a stir with a large fork or whisk.
- Then gently begin adding the flour mixture to the shortening mixture. Add just a little at a time so the flour doesn't fly everywhere. Stir until combined. It will look crumbly.
- Stir pecan chips into batter.
- With clean hands, roll dough into walnut-sized balls. The heat from your hands will also help them come together. Place them about 1 1/2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake in the center oven rack for about 15 minutes until the edges just begin to brown slightly. Bake only one cookie sheet at a time so they cook evenly.
- While the cookies are baking, get a bowl of powdered sugar ready for dipping.
- Let cookies cool just enough so you don't burn your hands. While still warm, roll the cookies in the powdered sugar. Place them on a platter or some parchment paper and let cookies finish cooling.
- Once they are cool, roll cookies a second time into the powdered sugar. The second dipping ensures even and smooth coating. Then serve!
- Please refer to my FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) for substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
- A spring loaded cookie scoop makes it much easier and faster to roll the dough balls.
- These cookies can be frozen (see above on how to do that and storage recommendations.)
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.