These delicious chocolate snowball cookies are rich and fudgy. The espresso adds a hint of warm mocha flavor. These cookies will quickly become a holiday favorite for your family. There's no need to worry about allergies, as these cookies are made without nuts.
Snowball cookies are a holiday classic. They are also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies and Russian Tea Cakes. I grew up making these cookies every Christmas with my family. However, this recipe switches things up with the addition of chocolate and espresso... hello, decadent mocha-flavored bite-sized bliss!
Why you'll love this recipe
- Made without nuts, these snowball cookies are perfect when you're baking for anyone with a nut allergy.
- Tiny bite-sized cookies rolled in powdered sugar have the perfect "snowball" look for the holidays.
- The decadent chocolate flavor is enhanced by the use of espresso powder.
Key ingredients and why we use them
This easy cookie recipe has only ten ingredients.
Cocoa Powder: You should use natural unsweetened cocoa powder in this recipe. Do not use Dutch process cocoa powder. Natural cocoa powder is the most widely available and will be what you're likely to find in the grocery store baking aisle.
Instant Espresso Powder: I like to use espresso powder because it's more concentrated than instant coffee and is excellent for baking. When combined with chocolate, it creates a delicious mocha flavor. I love using coffee in my chocolate desserts, and I also use it when I make chocolate cake!
All-Purpose Flour: Flour gives these cookies structure. However, too much flour can make your cookies dry and crumbly. I like to weigh my flour to make sure I don't incorporate too much into the batter. I've included the weight measurement in the recipe below.
Frequently asked questions
Cookies typically spread because you didn't chill the dough properly before going in the oven. So make sure you don't skip this step! Chilling the dough firms up the fat, which helps prevent spread.
The human eye isn't the best at estimating an equal amount of dough for each cookie. To ensure an even size, I like to use a cookie scoop or a scale.
Typically this happens when you roll the cookies while they are still warm. Simply wait for them to cool down, and roll them in the sugar again.
Heather's helpful hint
Ensure all your cold ingredients are at room temperature before baking your cookies. This will make it 100% easier for your cookie batter to come together without any lumps!
Making chocolate snowball cookies is simple!
Step 1) Whisk together flour, baking cocoa, baking powder, instant espresso powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the butter on medium speed until light in color (about 1 minute). Add the brown sugar and beat on medium until creamed. Wipe down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
Step 2) Add the egg, milk, and vanilla. Mix well until combined. Add the flour mixture to the bowl gradually, mixing at low speed. The batter will be thick at this point.
Step 3) Scrape the batter into an airtight container or cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours, up to one night.
Step 4) Scoop about one tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Place dough two inches apart. Bake the cookies for 8-12 minutes.
Step 5)Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Roll in confectioners' sugar.
Enjoy! Store using the tips outlined below.
Make ahead and storage tips
Storage: You can store these cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to five days. You may need to roll them again in confectioners' sugar before serving. Baked cookies last in the freezer for up to three months.
Make-Ahead: You can make your cookie dough in advance and store the rolled balls in the freezer for up to three months. Place the frozen cookies directly in the oven and add 2 minutes to your baking time,
These cookies are incredibly versatile, and you can make many additions and substitutions to the recipe.
- If you want a double-chocolate snowball cookie, try adding mini chocolate chips to the batter. Or even try white chocolate chips. This will amplify the fudgy flavor!
- Use peppermint extract in the batter to turn these into mint chocolate snowball cookies.
- For a chocolate-stuffed cookie, try putting Hershey's Kisses in the middle of your snowball cookies.
- One reader even mentioned adding a splash of brandy to the recipe—I love this idea!
Try these other cookie recipes
Don't stop with these chocolate and espresso mocha snowball cookies! Be sure to check out some more of our delicious cookie recipes linked below.
Chocolate Snowball Cookies
- 19 x 13-inch half-sheet baking pan
- parchment paper
- 2 cups all-purpose flour 240 grams
- ½ cup cocoa powder unsweetened natural
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ¾ cup brown sugar packed
- 1 egg large, room temperature
- ¼ cup milk room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup confectioners' sugar
- Place a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 20 minutes before baking your cookies. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, instant espresso powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until light in color (about 1 minute). Add the brown sugar and beat on medium until creamed. Wipe down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
- Add the egg, milk, and vanilla. Mix well until combined. Add the flour mixture to the bowl gradually, mixing on low speed. Batter will be thick at this point.
- Scrape the batter into an airtight container or cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours, up to one night.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow it to slightly soften at room temperature for 15 minutes. Scoop about 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Place dough two inches apart. Bake the cookies for 8-12 minutes.
- Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Roll in confectioners' sugar.
Notes and Tips
- Milk: Any type of milk or milk alternative will be fine in this recipe. I used oat milk when testing this recipe.
- Cocoa Powder: Do not use dutch process cocoa powder.
- Instant Espresso Powder: Espresso powder amplifies the chocolate flavor in these cookies. You can also use instant coffee powder.
- Storage Tips: These cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature up to five days. Baked cookies can be frozen for up to three months.
- Making Cookies In Advance: Unbaked cookie dough can be frozen up to three months. I like to first form the dough into balls. Bake frozen cookie balls for two additional minutes.
I originally posted this recipe in December 2012. I updated it in October 2021 with new pictures and a few updates to the recipe.