There are so many different kinds of Christmas and holiday cookies. Different cultures, different regions, and different tastes dictate what we eat growing up. Then most of us as we age and start our own traditions choose our favorites and add new ones. Snowball cookies are not something I grew up eating, but they are definitely a very popular choice. I wanted to make a batch of chocolate snowball cookies, even though they no longer look quite like a real snowball. I decided to also stuff them with Rolos so that they would be extra chocolatey with a bit of chewy, creamy caramel.
Traditional snowball cookies go by many names. Snowballs, Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cookies. They are all generally the same thing. A buttery cookie with chopped nuts (usually pecans), rolled in powdered sugar. All tasty, one can see why they are popular!
This recipe has minimal ingredients. No eggs, no baking soda, no baking powder. We don’t have any leavening ingredients in the dough because we don’t want the cookies to puff up much or spread. There is a very small amount of milk in the dough which will cause a miniscule amount of puff, but the moisture adds additional fat into the dough as well making them extra decadent.
While these cookies DO chill for a short period of time, I would classify them as a no-chill recipe. We don’t preheat the oven while we make the dough. Once the dough is ready, pop the cookie dough in the fridge, and preheat the oven. We do this just to firm up both the butter in the dough and the candy inside to prevent them from melting and spilling out. If you want to chill them for longer, you definitely could but it isn’t necessary beyond what’s written. So still a quick recipe where you can be done in an hour.
Caramel Chocolate Snowball Cookies Key Ingredients
- Cocoa Powder – You can use your favorite cocoa powder, however I used dutch process as it has a very rich and chocolatey flavor with a slightly higher fat content that traditional cocoa powder.
- Caramel – I used Rolo candies, they are a small size, added a little bit of chocolate and good caramel amount. You could probably just use small caramel bites as well but Rolos will be the easiest.
- Powdered sugar – We use powdered sugar in both the dough and rolling the cookies. Powdered sugar generally has cornstarch in it, which helps the cookies not spread and give you a melt in your mouth texture. The cookies are rolled twice, once while hot and then once they have cooled. This helps all the sugar adhere and gives it that snowball look.
If you’re looking for additional chocolate cookie recipes to complement these caramel chocolate snowball cookies I’d suggest:
- 113 g Unsalted Butter ½ cup, room temperature
- 60 g Powdered sugar ½ cup
- ½ tsp Vanilla
- 12-15 g Cocoa powder 3 tbsp unsifted, leveled
- 120 g AP Flour 1 cup
- ½ tsp Sea salt
- 1 tbsp Whole or 2% milk room temperature
- 12-15 Rolos
- ⅓ cup Powdered sugar for rolling
- In a medium-large bowl add your room temperature butter, vanilla and ½ cup powdered sugar and beat on medium until smooth and somewhat fluffy.
- Add in your cocoa powder and salt and combine to create what looks like a chocolate buttercream.
- Add in your milk and flour, and mix by hand until dough comes together. Dough will look slightly dry but shouldn't be crumbly. Keep mixing until it becomes cohesive.
- Portion out your dough using a small cookie scoop and roll into about a 1-1½" ball. You should get 12-15 cookie dough balls depending on the size of your scoop.
- Flatten a dough ball into a disc shape, and place an unwrapped rolo into the center. Fold up the cookie dough around the candy and re-roll into a cookie ball.
- Place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- After all cookie balls have been stuffed, place your baking sheet in the refrigerator to chill while you preheat your oven.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Let your cookies chill for about 15-20 minutes total, making sure they have firmed slightly and your oven has come to the correct temperature.
- Bake cookies on the middle rack of your oven for 10 minutes. The cookies should not have spread but may have flattened slightly on the bottoms. They will no longer be shiny when ready.
- Remove cookies from oven and carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Let cookies cool for 5 minutes then gently roll/coat them in the additional powdered sugar. The cookies will still be rather warm and the coating will most likely not adhere completely, or melt on parts. This is ok!
- After you have coated all the cookies, let them completely cool for 30-60 minutes. When the cookies are cool, roll them in powdered sugar a second time. This will create the snowball look.
- Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Enjoy!