Walnut Cardamom Snowballs

Tender, sweet low carb cookies with cardamom and walnuts. Whether you call them Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes or Snowballs, these are perfect for your Holiday baking.

Low Carb Walnut Cardamom Snowballs

I got a very early jump on my Christmas baking this year. I typically don’t start until after Thanksgiving because it just seems wrong to start any earlier. I love Christmas but I don’t want to start in on it too soon, lest I get sick of all Christmas-related things before the big day rolls around. It’s my favourite holiday and I never want to risk being bored by it all before Santa and his reindeer have a chance to fire up the sleigh and take off from the North Pole. That would be a real tragedy.

Low Carb Mexican Wedding Cakes

But with Thanksgiving being so late this year, I felt I had an excuse to start in on the baking early. I have so many ideas for Christmas goodies and I want you to be able to benefit from my recipes.  If I waited until November 29th to get baking, I wouldn’t have nearly enough time to put my ideas to the test. And photograph them and write them and bring them to you for your own holiday baking extravaganza.

Snowball cookies have been widely requested by many readers, being a standard holiday favourite for many families. And they aren’t always called snowballs. Some people call them Russian Tea Cakes, others know them as Mexican Wedding Cakes. Whatever you call them, they amount to the same thing…a tender, shortbread-like cookie in a round ball, sprinkled with copious amounts of powdered sugar. Since I managed to nail a low carb version of my father’s favorite cookie, the pecan crescent, last year, I knew low carb snowballs would be a cinch.

Low Carb Russian Tea Cakes

Or so I thought. The cookie part was easy. But a low carb powdered sweetener like Swerve is not the same as powdered sugar and it wasn’t as eager to stick to the cookies. I initially got a light little coating, but I wanted a bit more than that. I needed a little low carb ingenuity, it would seem. I attempted a light spritz of water from a spray bottle, but was worried that it would make the cookies a bit soggy. Finally I realized that I had to put the cookies into the powdered Swerve when they were still quite warm out of the oven and leave them for a second or two before I rolled them around. And I dusted them with a little more powdered Swerve after they had cooled. Perfect.

Low Carb gluten-free snowball cookies

Walnut Cardamom Snowballs

Yield: About 36 cookies

Serving Size: 2 cookies

Walnut Cardamom Snowballs

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp coarsely ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup Swerve Sweetener or other granulated erythritol
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp stevia extract
  • 3/4 cup powdered Swerve Sweetener or other powdered erythritol

Instructions

  1. For the cookies, preheat oven to 325F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, chopped walnuts, coconut flour, cardamom, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter with sweetener until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg, vanilla and stevia extracts.
  4. Beat in almond flour mixture until dough comes together.
  5. Form dough into 3/4 inch balls and place on baking sheets about 1 inch apart.
  6. Bake 18 minutes, or until just lightly golden brown.
  7. In a medium bowl, place powdered sweetener. While cookies are still warm, place in sweetener and roll around to coat.
  8. Sprinkle remaining powdered sweetener over cookies as they cool.

Notes

Serves 18. Each serving has 5 g of carbs and 2 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 3 g.

170 Calories; 16g Fat (78.7% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 26mg Cholesterol; 117mg Sodium.

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Comments

  1. Thanks! Yes this is one I love…we call them Butter Balls….just another name for a great cookie! Happy Christmas!!

  2. After 40-some years of making Snowballs I found the best way to make powdered sugar to stick to them is by freezing first, then shaking the cookies in a bag with the powdered sugar. This results in a HEAVY coating of “snow”. I also store them in a cool place to help the snow last. Going to try them with almond flour this year. Thanks for this recipe.

  3. Great cookies, Carolyn! I made pistachio cardamom snowballs last weekend! Snowballs of any kind are always a must in my holiday baking :)

  4. Quick question,

    I don’t use anything but liquid splenda (EZ Sweets). How much, if any, would I use in this recipe?

    • Swerve is as sweet as sugar so use EZSweetz to equal 1/2 cup sugar for the cookies. I don’t know how you’d do the powdered coating, though.

  5. These look just like the little snowball cookies my mom used to make. Love how you’ve adapted them to be low carb!

  6. These.
    Look.
    HEEEEAAVENLYYYY!

  7. Carolyn,

    Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for all your hard work and ingenuity. You are a prolific recipe maker! smile. Hope your husband is progressing nicely and will be up and around before you know it. Blessings to you.

    Loretta M.

  8. These look great! I tried a different low carb recipe for them a few weeks ago that didn’t work well at all, so I’m excited to try this. One question though – all of my old recipes, even gluten free ones, call for 1/2 C of powdered sugar in the cookie dough. Yours calls for 1/2 C of granulated, which wouldn’t be nearly as sweet. Is this a typo or actually what you do? I have powdered Swerve, but not granulated, so I’m hoping.

  9. I haven’t made these yet, and I am not generally one to comment on anything, but I thought I might take just a moment to tell you thank you for your work – for how fun you are to read and how much love and work you put into all your posts and all your recipes. You do a fantastic job and I love everything of yours I make. It is not always an easy lifestyle – but you actually go a long way toward making it not just doable, but truly enjoyable. On behalf of everyone who has or to chooses to eat this way – THANK YOU!

  10. Can you make powdered swerve by coffee grinding the granulated form?

  11. Sorry if I have already asked you this, but where do you buy your nuts? It is my understanding that most nuts are from facilities that also produce things with gluten containing ingredients. I have used nuts.com but that can get really expensive. Thanks for any help/ tips you can give!

  12. These sound fantastic Carolyn and I love the lead shot especially!

  13. Looks like another recipe I’ll have to try! One thing though – as I’ve been making all these recipes with Swerve, I’m looking for other people’s input. I’m getting to where I’m tempted to just use regular sugar – and that’s a big deal as I have been a sugar-phobe for about 8 years now. But the cooling effect with Swerve is ruining so many recipes for our family. We used to always use Zsweet and there’s no cooling effect with that, but the results when baking were less than stellar. Baking results with Swerve are great, but the cooling effect often ruins the eating enjoyment. I find that it’s worse with the powdered version. Does anyone else have this problem? I see you making all these recipes on here and just wonder why no one else seems bothered by this. Thanks for any feedback.

    • Hi Tessa, I am fascinated that you feel the cooling effect with Swerve but not with ZSweet, as I am the EXACT opposite. It’s why I switched to swerve in the first place, because the moment I started using it, I found so much less of the cooling sensation. Most people find the same, but we all have different palates. I think these would be okay baked with ZSweet if that’s what you prefer.

    • I do notice the cooling sensation with swerve. But usually not until I take a sip of water after having a bite of a baked good w swerve – that’s when I can really feel it on my tongue. Certain recipes I don’t notice it much at all though (Carolyn’s lemon poppyseed cake, which I’m about to bake!). Powdered is worse for me too.

  14. Thank you! Where did you buy the walnuts that you put in these cookies?

    • I think I got them from Trader Joe’s. It never occurred to me that they might share facilities that use wheat. I am fortunate not to have a gluten intolerance though. I will keep my eye out for good sources of certified GF nuts!

  15. I was so uber excited when you posted this recipe. These are my FAVORITE Christmas cookies. I accepted the fact that since I am low-carb/gluten free, I would never get to eat these again. Well, I made them today & holy smokes, are they delicious! They taste just like the carb/gluten laden cookies of the past. Thanks so much for coming up with these. Looks like Santa is getting these little gems this year!

  16. I love these cookies. And yup – just what I thought they would be. I suppose (not being diabetic) I could use regular powdered sugar just for the coating, but do the rest with your recipe, since I can’t get sugar-free powdered sugar.

    I hope your husband’s foot is all healed and that he’s walking.

  17. While I am gluten free I do use regular sugar and was wondering if you think these would turn out ok using both regular granulated and powdered sugar?

  18. I bought almond meal at Trader Joe’s, will that work or do I need a finer almond flour? I volunteereed to make sugar free cookies for a nursing home.

  19. What’s the trick to get them to stay in ball form while cooking?

  20. My family loves these!!…Question…could I possibly use this in a rolled/cut out version to make raspberry-filled “wreaths”?…or would the baking powder render this an impossibility??…I love the light, melting texture of these…the flavor is stunning …the walnut/cardamom marriage is truly heaven-sent.

  21. Hi Carolyn. These look fantastic as do all of your recipes. I am ADDICTED to your website! I was just wondering what brand of powdered stevia you prefer?

  22. These were great! I rolled them in powdered swerve while warm and found it was plenty of sweetness. Didn’t use the rest. The texture of these is spot-on! I was unsure about the cardamom at first but it really mellowed after they cooled. Now I LOVE them!

  23. I just love cardamom in desserts, Carolyn. I can’t WAIT to try these!

  24. I made these with cashew flour and pecans because I was out of blanched almond flour and walnuts. Loved the way they turned out. My first time using cardamom in a recipe and I liked it a lot. This is truly a recipe that you can serve to people who are not eating low carb and if you don’t tell them, they will never guess these cookies are sugar and wheat flour free.

  25. Mom called these Sand Tarts, but made them with pecans instead of walnuts and no cardamom. I’ll have to try this recipe! Looks really good! We always rolled them in the powdered sugar when they were warm, so it would stick.

  26. I made these this weekend with half pecans and half walnuts. They are incredible! The taste and texture are spot on, just like I remember from the high carb cookies. I’ve been low carbing for 10 years, and in the past I’ve made so many recipes that were pretty good for low carb, but never unequivocally GOOD. What I love about your recipes is that anyone, low carb or not, would think they’re delicious! Thank you! I call these Mexican wedding cakes, by the way.

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