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Peppermint Snowball Cookies

Easy-to-make Peppermint Snowball Cookies with crushed peppermint and pecans are sure to be a hit this holiday season!
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword Peppermint Snowball Cookies
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 30 -32 cookies
Calories 172kcal
Author Chelsea Lords
Cost $3.52

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup whole pecans
  • 1 cup unsalted butter See Note 1
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract See Note 2
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (NOT mint) See Note 3
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup (6 full candy canes) peppermint candies crushed, divided
  • 2 cups white all purpose flour (spoon and level the measurement)
  • Powdered sugar for coating the cookies (~3/4 cup (78g))

Instructions

  • TOAST PECANS: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans in an even layer on a sheet pan. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until pecans smell fragrant. Watch carefully; you don't want to burn them. Remove and allow to cool completely before transferring them to a mini food processor or cutting board. Pulse on the "chop" setting or finely chop. You want very small pieces. Avoid over-pulsing in the food processor or you'll end up with pecan butter.
  • WET INGREDIENTS: Either in a bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a large bowl (and using a hand mixer), combine butter and 3/4 cup powdered sugar. Cream together until smooth and creamy, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the vanilla, peppermint, salt, cornstarch, pulsed/chopped pecans, and 1/4 cup crushed peppermint candies. Beat until smooth and combined. Add in the flour and beat slowly until combined and smooth. It will seem sandy and crumbly at first, but keep mixing; it will come together. Once combined, do not overmix.
  • CHILL: Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours to chill (at least 1 hour).
  • BAKE: After chilling, measure cookie dough using a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon (each ball should be exactly 1 tablespoon). If the dough gets warmed from being rolled or sitting in a warm kitchen, put in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a light-colored sheet pan with a Silpat liner (Note 4) Bake for 7-11 minutes (mine always take 8 minutes). Remove from the oven, let stand on tray for 3-5 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Let cool for 2-3 or so minutes.
  • POWDERED SUGAR: Add powdered sugar to a bowl (I start with 3/4 cup; you may need slightly more). Add remaining 1/4 cup crushed peppermint candy. Stir together; roll the warmed cookie in the powdered sugar and then return to the wire cooling rack. Let cool down a few more minutes and then roll in the powdered sugar/peppermint mixture again.
  • STORAGE: Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Re-roll in additional powdered sugar as needed. Best enjoyed within 1-3 days.

Notes

Note 1: Be sure to use really good-quality butter, not margarine. Use unsalted butter, so you can control the salt amount. Make sure the butter is at room temperature, not melted or softened. 1 cup is the equivalent of 16 tablespoons or 2 sticks.
Note 2: I'll sometimes use vanilla bean paste; 1 teaspoon of paste if using.
Note 3: Not all extracts are made equal; some are much stronger than others. I recommend adding less first, tasting and adjusting. We like 1/4 teaspoon (McCormick®), and the flavor is quite mild. Feel free to increase all the way up to a full teaspoon, as desired.
Note 3: I tested this recipe with no parchment paper, with parchment paper, and with a Silpat liner. The cookie bottoms turned out best every-time with the Silpat liner. The darker the trays, the darker the bottoms of the cookies. The best results I found were with a light-colored tray.
Freezing:
UNBAKED dough: Shape the dough into balls, freeze on a baking sheet in a single layer, and then transfer to airtight freezer bags for longer storage. Defrost overnight in the fridge and bake as directed in the recipe (you may need to add another minute or two to the baking time).
BAKED cookies: To freeze the baked cookies, roll them in powdered sugar while slightly warm, cool completely, and freeze on a baking sheet. Once the cookies are frozen solid, transfer them to airtight freezer bags; label and date. Thaw at room temperature for 1-2 hours and then roll them in powdered sugar a second time.

Nutrition

Serving: 32cookies | Calories: 172kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 40mg | Potassium: 30mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 197IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg