IMAGE ©Amy Carson Photography

Cocoa Snowballs

a sweet treat recipe
1 cup pecans, walnuts, or any other nut
1½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cacao powder
2 tsp cinnamon (cassia), ground
½ tsp sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter (at room temp)
½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1¼ cup powdered sugar, sifted
Cocoa Snowballs
a sweet treat recipe
by Amy Carson
Amy Carson is a photographer and recipe developer based in San Diego, California. Her professional relationship with food began over a decade ago: first as a nutritionist and personal chef, and later as a chocolatier and owner of a small-batch chocolate company. She is also an avid traveler and seeks to learn as much as possible about the local cuisine of every destination that she visits. See more of her work at and on Instagram: @spicevoyager
a little bit about the recipe
These shortbread cookies have a crumbly, buttery, melt-in-the-mouth texture. The combination of cinnamon and cacao powder make this variation especially delicious.
PREP | 25 M
COOK | 15 M
TOTAL | 2 H 40 M
  • Toast the nuts over a stovetop: Place the nuts in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Toast them, stirring frequently, until they smell fragrant and have begun to change color slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the nuts to cool in the pan. Once the nuts are cool, finely chop them by hand or in a food processor.

  • Sift the flour and cacao powder into a small bowl to break up any clumps. Add the cinnamon and salt. Whisk the ingredients until evenly dispersed and set aside.

  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until the mixture is soft and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated.

  • Add the dry mixture to the butter about 1/2 cup at a time, beating well to incorporate, scraping down the bowl occasionally after each addition before adding the next until the mixture is well combined.

  • Fold in the nuts with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula.

  • Chill the dough for 1 to 2 hours.

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Shape the dough into roughly 1.25” (3cm) balls. The dough will be a bit crumbly but will come together from the warmth of the hands.
    Bake the cookies 13-15 minutes, or until they are firm to the touch.

  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

  • Carefully remove the warm cookies and roll them in the extra powdered sugar.

  • Place them on a cooling rack.

  • Once they are completely cool, dust them with more powdered sugar and store them in an airtight container. Store at room temperature and consume within one week.

  • tips
    Don't be tempted to skip sifting the flour and cacao powder—it helps to aerate the cookies, making them softer and less dense.
    ingredients in recipe
    high fat (20-22%)
    Unsweetened and high in fat this luxury natural cacao powder will yield rich chocolatey flavor in baked goods.
    TRY ME - SAMPLE$0.75
    1.5 oz - JAR$4
    1.5 oz - REFILL$3
    6 oz - REFILL$10
    TRY ME - SAMPLE $0.75
    Ground cassia cinnamon's spicy, warm flavor and aroma star in many homespun fall and winter recipes. Cassia is dominant variety of cinnamon in America.
    TRY ME - SAMPLE$0.75
    2 oz - JAR$8
    2 oz - REFILL$7
    8 oz - REFILL$24
    TRY ME - SAMPLE $0.75