Recipe 2 of the Christmas cookie season is here! These Pecan Puffs are a yearly request by my mom. After I made this batch, she popped one in her mouth and continued to describe why these melt-in-your mouth snowballs are her absolute favorite holiday cookie.
These sugary puff balls are commonly known as Mexican wedding cookies or snow balls, but considering that the recipe we have for “Pecan Puffs” came from my great grandmother, it just doesn’t seem right changing the name of them now!
Though pecan puffs have an incredible melt-in-your-mouth texture to them, this often makes them incredibly fragile to handle. This is exacerbated when you alter the chemistry of the recipe by making it gluten-free. While this is a relatively easy modification, you just have to make sure to be careful when tossing the snowballs in the powdered sugar snow!
To make this recipe gluten-free, I used America’s Test Kitchen all-purpose flour blend from their cookbook. (I highly recommend getting this book because it walks you through the science behind making all your baking favorites gluten-free!) This blend is a 1-to-1 flour, meaning you just substitute 1 cup of the gluten-free flour when the recipe calls for 1 cup of all-purpose. No complicated math conversions required! If you have another 1-to-1 blend you prefer, go ahead and use that! This recipe should still work the same for flours like cup4cup or Bob’s Red Mill.
Start by chopping the pecans to a crumby texture, as pictured below. Measure out 1/2c of the chopped pecans and place into a medium or large bowl. Cream together the nuts with the butter, brown sugar, vanilla, flour and salt.
Scoop the batter into tiny balls. I scoop them using a tablespoon scoop, but don’t fill it all the way. Plop them onto a tray and place them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Because these cookies are almost completely butter, they hold their shape a lot better if the butter stays cold.
The next step is important, because I faced a cookie disaster this time around! DO NOT LINE THE SHEET WITH PARCHMENT OR A MAT! Or you’ll end up with extremely sad, flat snow puddles. Place the dough balls straight onto the cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes.
Place the balls immediately in a bowl of powdered sugar and use a spoon to cover them completely. Let cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container.