Snowball cookies are some of the easiest Christmas cookies you could make, and these peppermint snowball cookies are no exception! Candy cane lovers will adore this festive and flavorful variation on the classic snowball cookie. The crushed candy canes in the dough are so small, that they soften up nicely as the cookies bake and cool.
Snowball cookies have been around for ages, and are called by many names around the world. There’s just something so irresistible about these sweet-snow-covered cookies. They’re uniquely buttery and dense with a crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture. I love all their many variations, and today’s peppermint version is definitely a new holiday favorite. (And these pistachio cookies are always a popular choice!)
While classic snowball cookies often include chopped nuts for added texture, today we’re replacing those with festive candy cane bits.
Here’s Why You’ll Love These Peppermint Snowball Cookies
- Buttery, dense, crumbly shortbread texture melts in your mouth
- Easy-to-make 1-bowl recipe
- Just 7 simple ingredients, and it’s an egg-free recipe
- Sweet minty flavor from crushed candy canes + peppermint extract
- Only 30 minutes of dough-chilling time
Grab These 7 Simple Ingredients
Today’s cookies are mostly butter, flour, and confectioners’ sugar. The confectioners’ sugar not only goes into the cookie dough, but also coats the outside of the cookie for that iconic snow-dusted exterior. There are no eggs or leavening agents in these cookies.
- Butter: Creamed butter forms the base of these shortbread-style cookies.
- Confectioners’ Sugar: A little goes in the dough, and then you’ll roll the baked cookies in the rest.
- Vanilla Extract: Adds flavor, especially if using homemade vanilla extract.
- Peppermint Extract: The cookies’ first hint of mint comes from pure peppermint extract. It’s strong, so be sure to measure carefully.
- Flour: This is the structure of the cookie.
- Salt: To balance out the sweet.
- Crushed Candy Canes (or peppermint candies): You can often find candy cane baking bits in the grocery store around the holidays, but crushing them yourself is a great way to work out some holiday stress…I mean, so I hear. 😉
How to Make Peppermint Snowball Cookies
The cookie dough comes together in just 1 bowl. It will be super thick, to the point where you don’t think it will come together. Turn your mixer up and watch the buttery goodness form before your eyes.
The dough will come together, I promise:
Chill the dough for 30 minutes to help that creamed butter solidify, which helps guarantee your rounded cookies stay… well, rounded! Without chilling, your cookies will be snow puddles, and not snowballs. 😉
Use a Tablespoon measure to portion the chilled dough, and then roll into balls:
How Do You Make the Confectioners’ Sugar Stick?
A double-dusting of “snow” is the key to beautiful snowballs!
After the cookies bake, roll each one in confectioners’ sugar while they are still slightly warm. As the cookies cool, the confectioners’ sugar will melt into them. That’s expected. After the cookies have cooled, roll them in confectioners’ sugar one more time, and they’ll be picture-perfect peppermint snowballs, all dressed and ready for their holiday cookie tray debut.
3 Success Tips
- Use proper room temperature butter. Like when making Christmas sugar cookies or butter cookies, if your butter is too soft when you start, it won’t form a sturdy base for your cookie dough. The cookies will over-spread and taste greasy.
- Make sure you use confectioners’ sugar (aka powdered sugar or icing sugar) in the cookie dough. Granulated sugar causes the cookies to over-spread and they’ll lose their “snowball” shape.
- Coat the cookies with confectioners’ sugar twice, once when warm and again when cool, because the first layer melts like a… well, a warm snowball!
Sally’s Cookie Palooza
This cookie dough comes together with just 7 ingredients in 1 mixing bowl and only needs 30 minutes of refrigeration before baking. The crushed candy canes in the dough are so small, that they soften up nicely as the cookies bake and cool.
- In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add 3/4 cup (90g) confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until sugar is incorporated, then turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat until combined and creamy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Next, beat in the vanilla and peppermint extracts on medium-high speed until combined. Add the flour and salt and beat on low speed. The dough will look dry and you may not think the flour will fully combine. Once all of the flour is incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed. The dough will come together. Finally, beat in the crushed candy canes.
- Cover the cookie dough tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days. (If chilling for 3+ hours, make sure you let the cookie dough sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling into balls. The cookie dough will be very stiff after being in the refrigerator for that long.)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside. Pour the confectioners’ sugar needed for the coating into a shallow bowl.
- Scoop or roll 1 Tablespoon (20g) of cookie dough per cookie. Roll into a ball and place on the baking sheets, at least 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies until golden brown on the bottom edges and just barely browned on top, about 15 minutes.
- Coating: Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then very gently roll them in the confectioners’ sugar to coat completely. Place the cookies on wire racks to cool completely. The confectioners’ sugar will melt a bit and get sticky. Once the cookies have completely cooled, roll in confectioners’ sugar again. This is when the sugar coating will really stick.
- Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Keywords: peppermint snowballs