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Almond Butterball Cookies

This was my all-time favorite Christmas cookie when I was growing up. Our family called them Almond Butterballs, which is curious because we almost always make them with walnuts! As I've gotten older I've learned that almost any nut will do, I think we used walnuts due to easy availability and price. Pecans are a wonderful option as well. I’ve also seen similar cookies called Mexican wedding cookies and Russian tea cakes. No matter what you call them, these cookies are addictive!

These are a great cookie to make with children. The recipe is very easy, and they'll love licking their fingers after rolling the balls in the confectioner's sugar!


  • 1 cup all-purpose or cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, finely chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 pound butter (at room temperature)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar, to coat (about 1 cup)



  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F and prepare a large cookie sheet.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients (flour, walnuts, salt, sugar) in a large bowl.
  3. Add the vanilla extract.
  4. Add the butter in little pieces, and combine everything together with your (clean!) hands until the mixture looks like a coarse meal with nut bits in it.
  5. Form the dough into small balls no larger than a walnut and place on the cookie sheet, spaced at least an inch apart from each other.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes.
  7. When they are still warm, but cool enough to touch, roll the cookies in some powdered sugar.
  8. Set aside on a rack to cool completely. When cool, dust again in powdered sugar.