These Gluten-free Snowball Cookies are nutty, buttery in a melt-in-your mouth way. They are similar to shortbread cookies, but baked as little balls and double rolled in powdered sugar to turn them into perfect snow balls. If you are looking for any easy, gluten-free, dairy-free recipe without specialty box mix, this is the one for you.
Pre-heat oven on 390 Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius).
Add all ingredients (rice flour, nut meal, corn starch, sugar, butter, salt and vanilla extract) to a food processor and pulse until you get a crumb-like texture. (It will not likely form a ball yet.)
Take a mixing bowl and add the dough from the food processor. Knead it with your hands for 2 minutes or so to form a ball. If the ball is dry and crumble still after 2-3 minutes, add 1-3 tsp water, 1 tsp at a time.
Take 1 Tbsp from the cookie dough and form small balls with your hands.
Line the sheet pan with parchment paper or use a non-stick baking sheet. Place the cookie balls on it. You can place them relatively close as they will not expand during baking.
Bake them for 10-12 minutes. Check it around 8 minutes to see whether they getting brown or not. Cookies with gluten-free flour tend to brown slower. So if they are brown, they are more than ready.
Covering them with powdered sugar
They are quite soft right out of the oven. So leave them on the parchment paper to cool down. While they are still warm, sprinkle it with powdered sugar.
If they are completed cooled down, roll them in powdered sugar again. You will only get a luscious white snow ball-like finish, if you double up like that. (See notes for more explanation.)
Measure it with a scale - Baking is about precision. To bake something perfectly is a question of science like how different ingredients react to each other under heat. I always measure the ingredients as well on a scale and convert the recipe back to cups. I use King Arthur's Weight Chart to make sure that the cup measurements are in-line with the grams. If you want to make these cookies perfectly ever time, make sure your measurements are precise.
Why you need double sugar coating? - You need to dust the snowballs with powdered sugar while they are hot otherwise the sugar will not stick to them. I usually do that while they are still on the parchment paper as moving them while they are hot is not an easy task. This way the sugar will slightly melt due to the heat creating a surface where the next round of powdered sugar will stick better. Hence, the reason for double coating.
Parchment paper instead of a baking sheet - I recommend using parchment paper instead of a baking sheet especially if you are making multiple batches. You can take out the parchment paper from the sheet pan and bake the next round, while the first round can cool down on its own. If you try to move them while they are hot, they will likely break.
Place them close - As there is no baking powder, baking soda or any other type of leavening, they will not rise significantly. You can place them relatively close to each other.
When are they ready? - If they start to brown on the edges, you are too late.