Snowball cookies are classic Christmas cookies, and this recipe dresses them up fancy.
Pistachio nuts and maraschino cherries make these cherry pistachio snowball cookies festive and fun!
When you think of the Christmas holiday one of the first things to come to mind is cookies. And not just any cookies, but a specific list of cookies that represents Christmas in your life. Everyone is used to growing up with specific Christmas cookies and can’t help but feel nostalgic when they see them. Chocolate chip cookies for Santa or peanut butter blossom cookies are pretty common. For me, when I think of Christmas cookies I think of thumbprint cookies, buckeye balls, imitation strawberry cookies, and snowball cookies.
As I got older I started recreating these cookies to my own tastes. While I left the buckets alone (they’re perfect as-is and a timeless classic) I modified those strawberry cookies to become less sweet and I made the thumbprints a million times better by ditching the colorful jelly inside and instead, I’ve made them into chocolate peppermint thumbprint cookies. And now, I’ve moved on to reimagining the classic snowball cookies.
Green-hued nuts and bright red cherries make these snowball cookies especially festive. Snowball cookies are quite easy to prepare, so if you need a last-minute cookie, this is it!
What Are Cherry Pistachio Snowball Cookies?
Snowball cookies are traditionally small balls of shortbread-like cookie dough filled with chopped nuts (most likely pecans) but I’ve made them better by making snowball cookies with maraschino cherries. Not only that but pistachios too! These pistachio cherry cookies are a perfect Christmas cookie because they’ve got red and green inside every cookie. The cookies are soft and tender, not too sweet, and perfect for holiday parties and cookie exchanges so make a batch and share them with your loved ones this holiday season.
- All-Purpose Flour
- Chopped pistachios
- Chopped maraschino cherries
- Granulated sugar
- Unsalted Butter
- Vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar
For the exact amounts needed, please see the recipe card below.
How to Make Cherry Pistachio Snowball Cookies
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a bowl combine all of the ingredients except for the powdered sugar.
- Beat them together with an electric mixer on low speed, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go. Mix until just combined.
- Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and place them onto an ungreased baking sheet.
- Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until slightly golden in color.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before rolling into powdered sugar.
- Let cool and serve. Enjoy!
- Enlist the help of your kids. If you are really short on time, enlist the help of family; kids will love rolling your cookies in powdered sugar. Another good idea is to place the powdered sugar in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and place a few cookies t a time into the bag, seal it shut and gently shake them around to coat. This makes clean-up far easier.
- How to Avoid Pink Colored Dough. I have made this cookie recipe several times and unfortunately, the dough can be anywhere from white to pink depending on the cherries and how well they were prepped. If you want your dough to look more traditional and white for these cherry snowball cookies, then prep your maraschino cherries well. do this by draining the juice from the cherries and dabbing them well with paper towels to absorb the excess moisture.
- Butter temperature matters. You do want your butter soft enough to work with but you do not want the butter to be too soft or else your cookies will flatten as they bake. If you fear that your cookie dough batter is too warm, go ahead and place it into the fridge for about 15 minutes to chill before shaping. Sometimes I like to roll out my dough balls, place them onto the baking sheet and then place that into the fridge for 15 minutes to make sure that they hold their shape when baked.
- Note that there is no salt in these cookies. I like to use unsalted butter when cooking and making these pistachio Christmas cookies but you can use salted butter if preferred. You could even add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the dough if desired.
For tasty fun variations check out these great suggestions!
- Add in a box of pistachio pudding mix. If you want a more green color and stronger pistachio flavor reduce the flour in the dough to 1 1/2 cups and add in 1 small 3.4-ounce box of pistachio flavored pudding. Just the dry stuff, do not prepare the pudding! Then continue with the steps as directed.
- Add in chocolate chips. For those of us chocolate lovers you can rejoice in the idea of stirring in 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips. Yum!
- Use pecans instead of pistachios. While this makes the cookies a bit more traditional, you can still make this snowballs cookie recipe with pecans instead of pistachios.
- Replace the cherries. If you’re not a fan of cherries you can replace them with any type of dried fruit or omit them entirely.
How long are snowball cookies good for?
These cookies can last up to a week if stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Can I freeze snowball cookies?
Yes, these cookies freeze very nicely. Simply place them into a sealed airtight container for up to a month and thaw before eating. You may wish to roll them in another round of powdered sugar before serving because the sugar may dissolve as the cookies thaw.
How to make ahead and bake later
Make your dough and cookie balls as directed and instead of baking them, place your sheet full of cookie dough balls into the freezer and freeze solid. This will take a few hours. Place the cookie dough balls, once solid, into an airtight container. when ready to bake, remove the number of cookies you want to cook up and place them on a baking sheet while the oven preheats and the cookies thaw to close to room temperature before baking. Then bake as directed and roll in powdered sugar before serving. Enjoy!
- 2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup chopped pistachios
- 1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine all ingredients except for powdered sugar in a bowl. Beat ingredients on a slow speed, scraping the bowl as needed. Beat just until well mixed.
- Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove; cool cookies for 5 minutes before rolling in powdered sugar.
- Make sure your butter isn't too soft, or your cookies will flatten.
- Also, I sometimes I like to refrigerate the cookies on the baking sheets for 15 minutes before baking to ensure that they retain their shape.
Serving Size1 cookie
Amount Per Serving Calories 102Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 14mgSodium 53mgCarbohydrates 10gFiber 1gSugar 4gProtein 1g