Cue ALL THE FEELS. These Gluten-Free Snowball Cookies are a childhood favorite of mine. Delicious, melt-in-your-mouth, buttery goodness. They remind me of snow falling softly (in January, for some reason) and Mom at the kitchen counter (in December), covered in powdered sugar, creating yet another favorite memory. Now I eat a handful of these, or the whole batch, while simultaneously sipping a hot cup of coffee. Perhaps a cup of The World’s Best Chocolate Coffee or Dairy-Free Vanilla Cashew Coffee. It doesn’t so much matter, as long as the drink is delicious and comforting.
Life is in the choices we make, and these Gluten-Free Snowball Cookies are good choices. Ooh, and with just six ingredients, they are practical, too. But their sweetness belies a little known truth or two. They are simple to make and healthier than their more traditional counterparts. We’ve made so many batches in the last two weeks, we’ve memorized the recipe.
Seriously, we have lost our chill over this one. K-Hubs, Toodle, and Twinkle cannot even. They will have ALL THE COOKIES, and rightfully so. Because in addition to containing just a handful of ingredients, these Gluten-Free Snowball Cookies are:
They also don’t taste like tree bark or cardboard, and if you are entering the world of gluten-free, whole foods baking, this is an important distinction. I should know since I’ve made tree bark-like cookies before. Nope, today’s cookies are a healthier take on a good old-fashioned Snowball cookie, and this one comes straight out of Mom’s kitchen. I know, I know, I’ve given her a bad rap for her lack of culinary prowess, and the stories are all true. However, I believe Mom had her culinary priorities. One word: cookies
So you can rest assured this Gluten-Free Snowball Cookie recipe is where it’s at. Mom took her cookies seriously, as well as her chips and dip. Also cheese was a big deal, along with Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith. Don’t forget Kate Jackson. Mom knew what she was doing.
To health-i-fy this recipe, I made a few changes. Namely, I changed the flour and butter options. Yet, the final recipe isn’t much different than Mom’s original, except for the “bake at $300 for 20 minutes.” Bwahhhaaaaahhhaaa. We will not be doing that. However, I have absolutely kept the recipe card all these years for that misprint. Well, that, and this recipe is an absolute fave.
So, when I tell you these cookies are healthy and buttery and melt-in-your-mouth, it is all true. This coming from someone who had given up on healthy baking. I was done trying to recreate cookie for Toodle and Twinkle. I so wanted them to have treats, but every time I tried, the final product wasn’t edible. I think I walked away from paleo and whole foods baking for a solid year. Then one day I trudged back to Mom’s recipe box, pulled her recipe card out, misprint intact, and here we are.
You can definitely go with your own butter alternatives. I like Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Spread because it gives these Gluten-Free Snowball Cookies a rich, buttery flavor that absolutely does dissolve on the tongue like a good cookie should. It is also soy-free, which is a big deal in our house. Ghee is another option, and although I have had it, others in our house are not cleared for it. Thus, I don’t use it here.
Powdered sugar (the only reason I don’t officially call this paleo) gives it the right amount of sweet. Vanilla tricks the mind into thinking it’s enjoying something full of dairy, even though this sugary snowball is completely dairy-free. And almond flour is the perfect alternative to regular flour and even gluten-free flour.
I have learned a few lessons about making these Gluten-Free Snowball Cookies with healthier alternatives, which I enthusiastically share with you now. First, pack the buttery spread into the measuring cup to ensure you get a full cup. You don’t have to use Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Spread. I include it here because that’s what we use. When I originally shared this recipe, I used 1 cup coconut oil. And while that definitely works, I prefer Earth Balance’s flavor. Toodle and Twinkle do, too. K-Hubs is just happy to eat cookies.
Next, when rolling the dough into cookies, err on the side of smaller cookies. As a guide, this recipe yields 16 cookies. My cookies often end up somewhere between 1/4 inch and 2 inches. 😂 So you can’t really go by me. We often eat large Gluten-Free Snowball Cookies that are more like “snowdrops.” However, when in doubt, roll small and bake for 20. If your cookies are larger, then bake a little longer. In the end, the flavor can’t be beat, no matter what you do. The sweet, buttery taste remains the same but the consistency is a little different. Finally, because these cookies are more fragile, sprinkle the powdered sugar onto the cookie rather than rolling the cookie in the powdered sugar.
Okay, but seriously, about that cup of coffee and these Gluten-Free Snowball Cookies. Get baking and sippin’, Spiriteds!
Gluten-Free Snowball Cookies
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 35 mins
- Yield: 16 cookies 1x
- 1 cup buttery spread, packed solid in measuring cup (I like Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Spread)
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Set oven to 300 degrees.
- Using an electric mixer, combine buttery spread and powdered sugar until smooth.
- Add vanilla and water and continue mixing. The color of the batter should turn a slight brownish color.
- Gradually pour in almond flour, stirring by hand, if necessary.
- Add pecans.
- Roll into balls and line on an ungreased baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until “delicately brown.”
- Reshape, if necessary, after removing from oven.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
You’ll notice in these photos we don’t add a lot of powdered sugar to our cookies. You can, however, add as much or as little powdered sugar as you like!