Gluten-Free Snowball Cookies

Gluten Free Christmas Cookies by Ellen Brown
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 15 mins

This recipe was originally published in 2015.

Ed. note: The recipe below is an excerpt from Ellen Brown’s Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies (Cider Mill Press, 2011). The book offers 125 recipes for holiday cookie favorites.

These are sometimes called Mexican Wedding Cookies. They’re crispy and buttery and dusted in confectioners’ sugar as a decoration.


→ Substitute sweetened coconut for the pecans.

→ Substitute 1 tablespoon grated orange zest for the vanilla.

Yields 24 cookies


  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1½ cups white rice flour
  • ¼ cup potato starch
  • ¼ cup sweet rice flour
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.

2Place pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 5 to 7 minutes, or until lightly browned. Set aside.

3Reduce the oven temperature to 325° F. Combine rice flour, potato starch, sweet rice flour, xanthan gum, and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk well.

4Combine butter and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar in another mixing bowl and beat at low speed with an electric mixer to combine. Increase the speed to high, and beat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, and beat for 1 minute.

5Slowly add dry ingredients to the butter mixture, and beat until stiff dough forms. Fold in pecans.

6Form dough into 1-tablespoon mounds on the baking sheets, 1½ inches apart. Bake cookies for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly brown. Cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheets.

7Place remaining ½ cup confectioners’ sugar in a shallow bowl. Dip tops of cookies in sugar, and then cool completely on a cooling rack.

Each serving contains calories, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, sugars, protein.