Walnut Butter Ball Cookies


We had some serious snow this weekend here in Boston. (In fact, I think it’s still snowing out!)

Here’s Dexter, The Barking Sous Chef, out in the blizzard last night. He loves snow so much, I’m not sure how we managed to get a picture of him sitting still.

Anyway, snow is baking weather at the Mouse House. So, while The Angry Chef was outside shoveling, I set about making cookies.

These Walnut Butter Ball Cookies are fabulous on so many levels.

They’re fun and really (really, really) easy to make. Forming the cookies is kind of like playing with Play-Doh. They’re baked til firm, then rolled a few times in powdered sugar to develop their layered, sweet coating.

They’re crumbly and delicious and oh-so-sweet to eat. Serve them with cups of espresso—or hot tea spiked with a little whiskey.

These are basically Mexican Wedding Cakes/Cookies. (Sugar + butter + nuts + flour.) There are a bunch of recipes out there for these. This is mine.

Here are some other variations you could try:

+Substitute finely chopped almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans for the walnuts
+Swap in almond extract, rum, or whiskey for the vanilla extract
+Toast the nuts, for even more roast-y, nut flavor

Walnut Butter Ball Cookies

1 stick butter
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar (1/2 cup for the dough, 1 cup for rolling the cookies)
1 cup flour
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Makes about 24 cookies, 3/4 – 1 inch in diameter

Leave your butter out on the counter for 20-30 minutes to soften it up.

Walnut Butter Ball Cookies: Make the dough

When you’re ready to make the cookie dough, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.

Put your softened butter in the bowl of your mixer. Add 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar to the bowl.

(If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can totally use a hand-held mixer. Just use a deep bowl so the sugar doesn’t fly all over the place.)

Beat the powdered sugar and butter together for a minute or two until it’s creamy and light.

You want it to look about like this:

Toss in the flour, chopped walnuts, salt, and vanilla extract.

Mix on high until the dough just comes together.

You want your dough to look about like this:

Walnut Butter Ball Cookies: Form the cookies

You’re ready to form your cookies. Grab a little blob of dough.

Smoosh it together a little to get any air out of it. Then roll it between your palms to form a ball.

Set the ball on your lined sheet pan.

Keep forming cookies like this until you’ve used all your dough.

Make them all about the same size so that they bake evenly.

Because these cookies don’t really change size or shape much as they bake, I put all 24 cookies on one sheet pan (evenly spaced so they weren’t touching).

Walnut Butter Ball Cookies: Bake the cookies

Stick the pan in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

They’re done when they’re fairly firm to the touch (i.e. they shouldn’t feel at all like the raw dough did). They should still be really pale.

You might notice that some of the cookies have developed small cracks. That’s just fine.

If you pick one up, it should be lightly browned on the bottom, like this:

Walnut Butter Ball Cookies: Cool and coat (twice!) in sugar

Let the cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes.

While you’re waiting, line another sheet pan with waxed paper or foil.

Measure out the remaining cup of powdered sugar. Put the sugar in a gallon-sized zip-top bag or a large bowl.

You’re going to coat the cookies twice.

When your 5 minutes is up, take a few of the cookies and put them in the bag or bowl with the powdered sugar.

The cookies will still be pretty warm. That’s just what you want. (The heat helps the sugar stick.)

Roll the cookies around to coat them with powdered sugar.

Transfer these cookies to your newly lined sheet pan.

Continue to roll the cookies in sugar until they’re all coated.

When they’re all coated, start back at the beginning and roll all the cookies in sugar again. (Think of the first sugaring like applying a base coat.) Coating them twice helps ensure that they’re nice and sugary.

Let the cookies sit on the sheet pan til they’re totally cool.

When they’re cool�or right before you serve them�give them another roll in powdered sugar if you like.

Walnut Butter Ball Cookies: Serve and enjoy!

Copyright 2008-2009 The Hungry Mouse/Jessica B. Konopa. All rights reserved.

Martha Stewart for 1-800-Flowers.com

Stonewall Kitchen, LLC

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. Prettige Feestdagen
    Buone Feste
    Frohe Festtage
    God Jul
    Boas Festas
    Hyvaa Joulua
    Vesele Praznike
    ????? ???????
    Meilleurs Voeux
    Sarbatori Fericite
    Felices Fiestas
    Season’s Greetings

  2. recipe sounded and looked awesome,what did i do wrong. the balls flattened out a little instead of staying nice and round on the top. How do i fix this next time around? Thanks

  3. If you set your oven to 300, and bake for about 40 min (approx), you will solve any cracking and slumping issues with this cookie.

  4. Around Christmastime, my Gramma would make tons of these so-called “Liar’s Cookies” with almonds, pecans and walnuts. Sometimes she made thumbprints with raspberry jam before sprinkling them with the powdered sugar. She also made them in crescent shapes, and occasionally added cocoa powder to make them chocolatey for me (I was and still am a chocoholic!).
    My siblings and I (along with Grampa’s help finding them) would sneak them from the Tupperware container she tried to hide in her closet, while she was busy baking other treats for the holiday food-coma. She called us all liars when we denied it, but there’s no denying the sugary snow-like mess they left on our Christmas outfits!
    Thanks for the memories, I look forward to sharing this tradition with my children and theirs for years to come…

  5. My mother in law makes these and they are amazing and when they are still warm, even better! I’m going to make my 1st batch 2day! Wish me luck!

  6. Just made these! SO GOOD.
    Love all the pics that accompany the recipe, very helpful (and yummy to look at!).

    Thank you for the great recipe!

  7. I just want to say thank you and Merry Christmas. I searched my kitchen and could not find my recipe for these wonderful cookies. I tried one for Russian Tea cookies, but they are not the same. They are a tad drier. I was at my wits end when I just thought, I will google this. My grandkids will be proud. Me, I am just grateful for the save. These are my gifts to my friends, and it isn’t the Holidays, without my surrogate grandmother from the 1950’s Mother Norton’s butter ball cookies. Again, thank you and Happy Holidays!

  8. These cookies look “to die for”! I find that cookies always come out better when you start them off in the electric mixer and thoroughly cream the butter and sugar as you have in this recipe. nice one!