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These tender, buttery vegan snowball cookies are the ultimate easy holiday cookie! They come together in one bowl – no stand mixer required – and are made without flour, so they’re naturally gluten free (but they’re so delicious no one will know!)
When it comes to baking cookies, I have to admit that I’m more about the eating than the baking. Which means when I create cookie recipes, I want them to be as easy as possible. Like, whip-them-up-right-before-the-party kind of easy. And these vegan snowball cookies, made mostly from pecans and almond meal, fit the bill perfectly. In just 30 minutes, your cookies are done!
This is my vegan take on traditional pecan snowball cookies, also known as Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies. I didn’t grow up with them, but I’ve fallen for their charms as I am a huge fan of pecans and love their tender texture. In the cookie world, I am team chew over team crispy any day.
I originally created this recipe for Good For Your Gut Cookbook…but the book ended up being too long, if you can believe it, so we had to cut it! Which is why, putting on my gut health dietitian hat, I wanted to create a gluten free version of this popular holiday cookie so everyone can enjoy it…made almost entirely from almond flour and ground pecans, which results in such a tender, buttery cookie and a dough that you literally cannot mess up! It’s a plant-based recipe that EVERYONE will love.
These little cookies were the surprise hit of the book photoshoot: we couldn’t stop eating them!
This is the perfect recipe to make with the kiddos, or when you need to whip up a quick hosting gift before a holiday party. Plus, because they are low sugar plus grain-free, gluten free and yes, even low FODMAP, even more people can enjoy them, including friends or family with diabetes, celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome.
Vegan snowball cookies ingredients
You’ll need just 8 simple ingredients (plus salt) and one bowl to make these tender, surprisingly buttery little cookies. The combination of ground pecans and almond flour make the dough melt-in-your mouth!
- Almond flour: also known as almond meal, it is naturally gluten free, with plenty of plant-based protein and fiber, almond flour has a lovely almost sweet flavour and creates a tender, moist crumb
- Pecan pieces: pecan pieces add a buttery, sweet flavour to these classic cookies
- Coconut oil: creates a melting texture. I use naturally refined coconut oil so that it doesn’t add a coconut flavour to these cookies.
- Maple syrup: a touch pure maple syrup adds just enough sweetness
- Arrowroot powder: this gluten free starch, made from cassava, helps knit the texture together a bit but in a pinch, you could omit
- Vanilla: pure vanilla is key to creating a sweet flavour and aroma without a lot of sugar
- Baking powder: helps to lighten up the dough
- Salt: salt is a non-negotiable ingredient in baking…it actually helps sweets taste sweeter and more flavourful!
- Powdered sugar OR coconut milk powder: for rolling. If you want a sugar free option, coconut milk powder will give you that dusted look without extra sugar.
How to make vegan pecan snowball cookies
Aside from their addictive flavour and texture, the best part of these cookies are just how simple they are to make. Novice baker? Baking with kiddos? You CANNOT mess these up!
- Step One: Preheat oven to 325 F (160 C) and prepare a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Step Two: Grind ½ cup of the pecans in a food processor until a fine flour forms. Finely chop the remaining ¼ cup pecans. Melt the coconut oil.
- Step Three: Mix the pecan flour, pecans, almond flour, arrowroot powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Then add the melted coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla to the bowl and mix well.
- Step Four: Scoop exactly 1 tablespoon of dough and form into a ball. Place on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.
- Step Five: Bake for 13 – 15 minutes until lightly golden on the bottom. Let cool fully on baking sheet and then roll or dust in powdered sugar and enjoy!
Recipe Tips, Tricks and Suggestions
- Don’t have a food processor? You can substitute ½ cup pecan flour for ½ cup of the pecan pieces.
- These vegan snowball cookies freeze very well. Once cooled to room temperature, pop the whole baking sheet into the freezer until firm, about 2 hours. Then transfer to a freezer bag. To thaw, place them on a parchment lined plate – do NOT leave them in the bag – and once thawed, you can dust with powdered sugar.
- I use naturally refined coconut oil, which has no coconut flavour. You can substitute virgin coconut oil in a pinch, but you will get some of that coconut flavour in your cookies.
Low FODMAP Serving Size – Yes, these snowballs are low FODMAP!
If you’re on a low FODMAP diet for IBS, you can still enjoy these vegan snowball cookies! 2 cookies is a low FODMAP serving.
Vegan pecan snowball variations
Almond Snowballs: omit pecans. Use 1 ½ cups almond flour, and ¼ cup finely chopped almonds. Add ¼ tsp almond extract.
Lemon Snowballs: omit pecans. Use 1 ½ cups almond flour, and ¼ cup finely chopped almonds. Substitute freshly squeezed lemon juice for the vanilla and add 1 teaspoon (5 mL) lemon zest
More vegan Christmas cookie recipes
Vegan Snowball Cookies (no flour!)
These tender, buttery vegan snowball cookies are the ultimate easy holiday cookie! They come together in one bowl – no stand mixer required – and are made without flour, so they’re naturally gluten free (but no one will know!)
- 1 cup almond flour
- ¾ cup pecan pieces, divided
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For rolling, optional
- powdered sugar, or coconut milk powder for a no-sugar option
Preheat oven to 325° Fahrenheit (160° Celsius). Prepare a small baking sheet with parchment.
In a small food processor, grind ½ cup of the pecan pieces into flour. Finely chop the remaining ¼ cup. Add pecans to a medium bowl, along with the almond meal, arrowroot, baking powder and salt and mix.
Add melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla to the bowl and stir to thoroughly combine. With a tablespoon measure or cookie scoop, roll into a ball and place on cookie sheet.
Bake for 13-15 minutes until lightly browned on bottom and just starting to crack on top. Let cool completely on baking sheet. You can mend any cracks by gently pressing them together.
Once fully cool, sift over a little powdered sugar or roll in coconut milk powder for a low sugar option.