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Mexican Wedding Cookies with Toffee bits in a white serving bowl with a Heath bar

Toffee Noel Nut Balls

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I love making Snowball Cookies for friends and neighbors during the holidays, and these Toffee Noel Nut Balls are a kicked up version with English toffee!!

Noel Nut Balls in a white dish

Toffee Noel Nut Balls

These holiday cookies are a twist on an old favorite Christmas cookie, my Pecan Snowballs.  I love making these melt in your mouth, nut-filled cookies rolled in powdered sugar, but to make them even more irresistible, I added bits of toffee.

That little addition totally pushed these babies over the top. I baked up a batch for a cookie exchange but seriously contemplated keeping them all to myself. My loyal readers will know that any nut-filled cookie that’s in my kitchen will get totally ignored by everyone except the cook. Though the hubby has a few non-food allergies, his “allergy” to nuts is totally contrived due to his personal preferences.

He’ll often claim allergies to mushrooms, mint, pineapple…the list goes on and on. But I decided to share these with my real-life friends AND with all of you. They are divine!!

Overhead view of Noel Nut Balls in a white dish

Mexican Wedding Cookies with Toffee

Nut balls (or Nutballs) are known by many other names besides Mexican Wedding Cookies. These melt in your mouth cookies came into vogue in the 1950s and are also called Russian Teacakes, Mexican Teacakes, Russian Wedding Cookies, Snowballs or Butterballs. The texture and “snow” coating of powdered sugar make them popular for the holidays, but tasty enough to make all year long! Add some toffee to shake things up! When made in crescent shapes instead of balls, they’re also known as pecan crescents!

Do You Know Why These Are Called Mexican Wedding Cookies?

Historians think the strained relationship between the United States and Russia during the Cold War, which started in the late 1940s, caused a name change. One of the alternative names, Russian Tea Cakes, was not socially acceptable anymore, so this same cookie recipe became Mexican Wedding Cookies! The name snowballs is pretty self-explanatory since they’re dusted heavily with powdered sugar which represents snow. Why they’re known by so many other names makes it even more confusing!

How to Make These Snowball Cookies

One thing notable is that there is no egg in these Noel Nut balls! Perfect if you have an egg allergy. Egg allergies actually are more common than nut allergies or peanut allergies.

  • I like to line my baking sheets with parchment paper. It helps make for easy cleanup, and there’s no sticking!
  • To make this version of Mexican Wedding Cookies, cream the butter, then start adding the other ingredients and mixing, ending with the pecans and toffee bits.
  • Make sure to chop your pecans and toffee pretty tiny, at least as small as a mini chocolate chip.
  • PRO-Tip: I prefer chopping up some Heath bars versus using a bag of toffee chips. I feel the quality is better.
  • It’s up to you what size and shape you make your nutballs. I make tablespoon-sized rounds, but smaller works, too. And like I mentioned above, the crescent shape is very common, too.
  • Bake until these are lightly browned.
  • Roll in powdered sugar while they’re warm. This helps the powdered sugar stick. I like to redust with powdered sugar after they cool, too.

What Kind of Nuts Can I Use For Mexican Wedding Cookies?

Pecans are my preference, but walnuts and almonds will also work well.

How Long Do Mexican Wedding Cookies Keep?

Like most cookies, they’ll keep well at room temperature in an airtight container for 3-4 days. To freeze, place cooled cookies in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag, remove as much air as possible freeze for up to 3 months (though I’ve kepe mine longer!).

I’ve always wanted to try these Candy Cane Cookies from Saving Room for Dessert. Also, check out these Italian Ricotta Cookies, Holiday Pinwheel Cookies, and Stained Glass Cookies. Plus More of the Best Holiday Recipes.

Mexican Wedding Cookies with Toffee bits in a white serving bowl

This post was first shared in December 2013. The photos and text were updated in 2019.

Noel Nut Balls in a white dish

Toffee Noel Nut Balls

Toffee Noel Nut Balls (Mexican wedding cookies) made extraordinary by adding chopped Heath bars to the batter. A new twist on a classic holiday recipe.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 36 cookies


  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 5 Heath bars (or about 6 ounces) finely chopped (to about half the size of a standard chocolate chip)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, for rolling cookies


Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line baking pans with parchment and set aside.

Cream butter, then add sugar, vanilla and water. Mix again. Stir flour and salt into mixture. Add pecans and toffee bits and mix thoroughly.

Form tablespoon sized scoops of dough into balls. Bake for 18-20 minutes or till lightly browned.

Roll in powdered sugar while warm.


Adapted from my friend, Cyn.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 159Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 75mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 2g


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73 comments on “Toffee Noel Nut Balls”

  1. I love toffee which is a perfect addition to this cookie. And of course OXO is wonderful too!

  2. YUMMMM! I love anything toffee, and these are festive, and look so good! Making me very hungry! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Adding this recipe to my husband’s baking repertoire today.

  4. Those look so easy and good!

  5. The cookies sound great! Thanks for posting the recipe, I was looking for that one:@)

  6. I will be making these for Christmas.

  7. I too love nut’s in cookies and the added toffee is a dream I love the look and sound of these and they are so festive looking!

  8. I am going to try to make these. they look so good.

  9. I cannot wait to make these! I love Mexican Wedding Cookies and toffee added in will just make the PERFECT! Thanks, Lizzie!

  10. Yum!! Those look so good!!

  11. I love that you added toffee to these cookies – the only way to improve upon a classic!

  12. Liz I love that you added toffee bits to these – great idea! My family would chow these down in seconds.

  13. Liz, The more powder on these cookies the better, right? Almond Crescent Cookies are one of my favorites too. I like the idea of jazzing it up with toffee bits. Happy Holidays!

  14. Oh my, I’ve always loved Mexican wedding cookies but never thought to add toffee. This sounds like a such a winner!

  15. Toffee sounds delicious… hoping these are not the kind that crack one’s teeth : )

  16. I love these cookies and they really melt in your mouth. Heading over to Katrina’s Kitchen to check it out! 🙂

  17. I don’t see a widget? Should I?

  18. I’ll take Bill’s share!

  19. Wedding cookies are my husband’s favorite Christmas treat! Heading over to Katrina’s for the recipe..Brilliant addition of toffee bits =0

  20. These look deeelicious!! (I don’t see a widget either though, or a link?)

  21. Great recipe. The widget never loaded.

  22. now this is something new for my annual christmas gifting. I love the toffee balls covered with nuts! Great flavor and texture

  23. I got tongue tied with the name (go on, say it fast 5 times) but I love them!! You are my hero.

  24. These cookies would be a hit in our house too. They look wonderful.

  25. These snowy festive cookies look wonderful Liz! Love that you used Heath bars in here, sounds delicious with all the pecans:)

  26. I know I would love these, a lot. I am sure you snuck a few before you sent them off. Love that they had toffee in them

  27. I’ve always wanted to make Mexican wedding cookies and now I can!!! Just needed the right recipe!! FABULOUS giveaway, love it!!!

  28. The Toffee Noel Nut Balls will be a wonderful addition to the holiday table. I will be going to
    “In Katrina’s Kitchen” to get this recipe. Thanks to OXO for the great giveaway.

  29. These look great – gonna try today!

  30. I didn’t know it was possible to make these cookies any better, but your addition seems perfect!

  31. Russian tea cakes are my fav!!

  32. i can’t wait to try those.

  33. Toffee is one of those flavors that I love coming back to … this looks like an excellent cookie!

  34. Those are perfect holiday cookies!

  35. These cookies look delicious!

  36. Can’t wait to try these cookies! I love toffee!

  37. These look really good, have all the ingredients so I will be making soon, love the addition of the toffee.

  38. These look very festive. They look like they’d be great to bring out at the end of a meal. The combination of toffee with nuts is a winner for me xx

  39. these are some of my favorite holiday cookies! the addition of toffee just makes them better!

  40. Fabulous cookies. 🙂

  41. Yummy! Will be making these!

  42. Love the idea of using toffee instead of nuts. I love these cookies but my daughter won’t eat nuts (???)

  43. I love nut balls, and I love toffee – but have never had toffee nut balls. This calls for taking out the cookie sheets!

  44. Why have I not thought of this before?! Thanks for the recipe and the giveaway!! 🙂

  45. Oh my goodness! Toffee snowballs = genius! It sound so delicious!!

  46. Whoa!!!! Love Christmas baking so much!

  47. These cookies sound wonderful!

  48. You just have to have some snowball cookies at Christmas time. These sound like some of the best ones yet.

  49. I can see all the epic treats I’d make for my office. Newspaper editors need something to lighten them up.

  50. Love the toffee twist on an old favorite!

  51. Never thought of adding toffee…one of those smack yourself in the head deals….sounds delicious and I am off to the kitchen…RIGHT NOW!

  52. These look wonderful. Toffee and nuts – how can you go wrong?

  53. making these today!

  54. Making these for our cookie exchange…thank you. !!!!!!!!

  55. Everyone is mentioning the recipe, but there’s no recipe here — am i missing something??

  56. I’ve made these twice and they are incredible! Making two batches this weekend for a cookie exchange! Thanks for the great recipe!

  57. What is oxo?

  58. Perfect little treats for the cookie tray! Merry Christmas Week Liz-enjoy:@)

  59. making dessert or main meal is so difficult on weekend because they always want something new and this site is my hack lol thanks for making different recipes i can copy lol 🙂

  60. I always thought that Mexican wedding cookies and Russian tea cakes are similar yet still two different recipes, so this possible connection to the Cold War sounds interesting. Whatever you call this kind of cookies, they’re always delicious. Also, the addition of toffee candy sounds like a wonderful choice!

  61. I love the mexican wedding cakes and heath bars so this is a win win… May your season be blessed with everything you could ever dream of.. all the best Merry Christmas!

  62. These were so delicious. While I have always made these with pecans, I never thought about making them with toffee pieces.

  63. I know I would love these cookies! I wanted to stop by and wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas. Blessings for the New Year too!

  64. These cookies look amazing! I love this type of cookie. These are perfect for the holidays!! Liz, I wanted to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas!!

  65. I love Mexican weeding cookies too – they taste wonderful and look elegant. But your addition of Toffee bits to the traditional recipe sounds even better than the original. And, of course, they look so pretty the way you presented them!
    Hope you are enjoying a bit of ‘quiet time’ during the holidays.
    All the very best to you and your lovely family, Andrea xo

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