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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.

Toffee Noel Nut Balls

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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.

Notes

Adapted from my friend, Cyn.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

36

Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 159 Total Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 16mg Sodium: 75mg Carbohydrates: 14g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 7g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 2g
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73 comments on “Toffee Noel Nut Balls”

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

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

  3. Love the toffee twist on an old favorite!

  4. 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!

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

  6. making these today!

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

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

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

  10. What is oxo?

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

  12. 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 🙂

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

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

  16. 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!

  17. 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!!

  18. 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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