Top | Tammy Donroe Inman

Cherry Black Walnut Snowballs

(recipe, Tammy Donroe Inman)


Also known as Russian tea cakes and Mexican wedding cakes, these spherical shortbread cookies with a double-dusting of powdered sugar make quite an impact. This recipe uses a combination of English walnuts and black walnuts to tame the latter’s twang. If you love black walnuts, feel free to omit the English walnuts altogether. If you’re not a fan, you can use all English walnuts or substitute your favorite nut. They make great holiday cookies!


  1. 8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1 cup (130 grams) confectioner's sugar, sifted and divided in half
  3. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  4. ½ tsp. salt
  5. ½ cup (80 grams) dried cherries, coarsely chopped
  6. ¼ cup (35 grams) chopped black walnuts
  7. ¼ cup (35 grams) chopped English walnuts
  8. 2¼ cups (300 grams) all-purpose flour, sifted
  9. 1 Tbsp. milk, if needed


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. By hand or with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and ½ cup (65 grams) of the confectioner's sugar in a large bowl until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and salt. Add the chopped cherries, black walnuts, and English walnuts, and mix well. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour until just combined. If the dough is too crumbly to come together, stir in a tablespoon of milk.
  3. Take a heaping teaspoonful of dough and roll it into a ball no bigger than a walnut or Ping-Pong ball. Repeat and arrange the balls on the prepared baking sheet an inch apart. Bake until the bottoms just start to color and cookies look dry, 14 to 16 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes on the pan.
  4. Sift the remaining ½ cup (65 grams) of confectioner's sugar into a shallow bowl. Roll the still-warm cookies in the sugar, turning to coat thickly and evenly. One by one, transfer the cookies to a plate. Once the cookies have cooled completely, repeat with a second coating of sugar to get a uniform powdery appearance.


Store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.