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!!
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!!
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.
This post was first shared in December 2013. The photos and text were updated in 2019.
- 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.
Serving Size:1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 159Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 75mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 2g